How is it already March?
Three quick updates and miscellaneous ramblings.
I am super psyched and honoured to announce that after one Visiting Fellowship and several research collaborations, I am now an Affiliated Researcher with the Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at Jönköping University.
Read the press release here: “Crystal Abidin, who was just named ‘The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30’ by Pacific Standard magazine has become an affiliated researcher of MMTC”.
The talk on my creative project, #thetravelingpingu, is now up courtesy of the team at Docuverse.
Watch the talk here: “#thetravelingpingu: Traveling objects, Transient installations, and Social lubricants”.
My recent talks at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) and Tembusu College were a blast.
My paper for the ARI workshop, “Human failure for $how: Influencers, empathetic reciprocity, and commodified grief”, is being reworked into two separate papers at the moment.
In one of them, I explore the shift from “public grieving” to “publicity grieving” in a phenomenon I term “grief hype-jacking”, based on my research tracing vernacular responses to global grieving events on Instagram. Some of the case studies are archived here.
See event archives here: Homo Sapiens, Mortality and the Internet in Contemporary Asia | Tembusu STS Seminar: Reflections and Discussion
What else is new?
I’ve been churning out a string of proposals and grant applications of late, some minor, some major; some fun, some excruciating; some hopeful, some wishful. To be honest, it’s the waiting game that is the most painful and helpless because all I can do is be patient and cross my fingers.
I’ve also been en route to finishing a bunch of collaborative projects and papers after a long bout of solo writing. Interdisciplinary navigation and vocabulary is a skill I’m still trying to master, given that my recent co-authors are anchored in literature, history, social work, and business. I also feel like I’m not reading enough, but I enjoy discovering something new everyday from my wonderful pals and books.
Job and book wise, all is going slowly but surely. I’ve been very blessed to land a string of casual research positions at several institutions between completing my PhD and job#01 (mentoring academics ftw. also, i promise to pay it forward). I wish I had more hours in a day to do the things I-want-to-do (unfortunately not rent-making) alongside the things I-need-to-do (for rent and life), but don’t we all?
Despite the mad rush of work frenzies, I am perpetually working through an undercurrent of grief and some recent joy – it is all rather bewildering as I toggle between pain and sorrow over the agony of an ailing loved one on the one hand, and hope and love over impending wedlock and nest building on the other hand. Some days I am full of faith and hope that we will emerge from these trials; other days I can barely get out of bed. Most times, I make my way through all this grief by affectdumping in words on soaking in song.
It’s been 17 months since the bad news and this lull of grief, but I still find it difficult to convey my state to colleagues with whom I maintain a professional relationship, or with people I meet in the flesh. Sometimes I begin to tell the story, but abandon the plot and truncate heart-to-heart talk when perplexing and judgemental assessments come my way: How can you truly be in grief when you’ve been this productive at work? Are you actually productive with your work since you claim to be so deep in grief? I really have no answer. I just am. And neither of the two negate my grief or invalidate my work. I just wish I had a more eloquent way of asserting this. Nevertheless, I try to be honest about the messiness of life with safe peoples in safe spaces, and am thankful for the good folk who have been propping me up.
It seems today has been more hopeful than dreadful.
Keep on keeping on.