PhD student seeking community- Apply within
I made a blog. Oh my!
I was inspired to write a blog by the fabulous Dean of Graduate Research at Flinders University, Professor Tara Brabazon. In her vlog entitled "How (and why) to write a blog" (see below), she talks about the blog as a form of self-expression, as a platform for promoting and journalling innovative ideas, and as a way to find and create community. I must admit that I do find all of those qualities attractive!
But for me the greatest motivation for writing this blog is the prospect of finding and/or creating community (hence the flock of sheep). I am utterly obsessed with human connection. I love to seek it, to create it, to study it, to observe it, to foster it, and to help others to achieve it. In being open and honest about my personal experience (see 'About me'), I hope to find others who are willing share their own experiences, both of research and of communication involving people with dementia.
I have also been inspired by advocate and activist for people with dementia, Kate Swaffer (stay tuned for a blog post or two... or ten... discussing her work and the influence it has had on me). Kate uses her blog as a memory bank. Kate has a diagnosis of younger onset dementia and her blog serves as a platform for her to document her thoughts and connect with other people with a diagnosis of dementia. I have a similar vision for my blog. I want to document my thoughts and reflections at the same time as connecting with and learning from others with insights into communication, dementia and research.
Kate's work has prompted me to listen more closely to the voices of people with dementia and to be deliberate about the way I respond to and act on what they tell me. If I want to find out how to improve the lives of people with dementia, I need to know who they are: What is important to them? What do they want their lives to look like? What are they passionate about? How do they want us to talk about dementia? How do our words and actions make them feel? What makes their lives meaningful and fulfilling? Who are they beyond their diagnosis?
I want to be clear that I am not an authority on what it is like to live with dementia. I don't have dementia. But I am excited to write about things that challenge and inspire me and to open up a platform to discuss issues that are close to my heart. Of course, I am worried that nobody will read this... only time will tell... but I'm excited to just write without the pressure of peer-review (a relative constant in the world of academia)! I am putting myself out there in an attempt to seek community- come at me!