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Strangely schizoid funding processes

The last time I wrote in this blog, I was contemplating bidding for external funding. I was invited into some early discussions, with the proviso that the deadline was extremely tight, but that such a short run-up did mean that the competitive conditions might be favourable, so to speak.

So far, so good. Or, as Dr Bjarnason has just twittered, so uncertain.

Usually, we have a month or two at least to plan bids like this – there are partners to meet, deals to arrange, premises to share etc, and that’s just the mechanical part of the process – saying nothing of the details of the project itself – what’s the intellectual content – the idea – the reason for doing it in the first place.

Much cause for panic. Or, at the very least, some serious discussion and hammering out of the details while I spent the evenings trying to frame up the theoretical / research approach. I think MrsT has forgiven me for the inattention.

It’s a peculiar process though – half of it largely abstract – ‘what would you do if someone charged you with disseminating your research, and, more importantly, were willing to fund that process’ – and half defiantly practical – so what would I spend the money on, what would be the return on investment, long term impact and cultural necessity. And, as it’s half regional development agency funded – what does it mean for the South-West in particular, and how is that impact going to be managed and nurtured.

Discussion. Debate. Lots of paper. Post-its and backs of envelopes. Negotiations and haranguing. Developing an argument for a question that’s already been answered, but needs more answering yet (this is the strangely schizophrenic nature of research funding), addressing and constructing a case for the way I’d want to disseminate this – hitting walls, hitting the desk, and then realising that I was right a week ago when I wrote in the first draft: “The ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ format, familiar in wider culture, is evidence of this reductionist approach, and the most commonly cited in creative industry applications of the concept.”, not because that strawman is right full stop, which it isn’t – but because it’s right with regard to industry and not academic development, and that counts here.

And. Three and a half weeks later, I have a proposal for funding.

Now we wait until November.

Back to work then…


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