Saturday, January 20, 2018

Retreat! Ssh, Steve

I am in the wilds of suburban NYC as one of the parts of an SSRC-Abe Fellowship is to participate in a retreat.  It is all chatham house, not for attribution, but the discussions aren't really political or controversial--they are aimed at improving our work.

A fun and different way to workshop:
  1. Everyone circulates five page summaries of their work beforehand
  2. Person presents what is not in their five pager--larger context, what challenges were faced, what gaps remain.  Person then must remain silent for rest of the session (yes, I had to be quiet for about thirty-forty minutes even though it was my stuff being discussed.  No, silence is not a Steve strength).
  3. Discussant number one asks questions about the substance of the work and discussant number two asks questions about the methodology.  Neither discussant is an expert on the person's stuff although there are some overlaps (although not so much for my work. If I had been doing rice politics....).
  4. Today/tonight, person comes up with responses
  5. Tomorrow, person gives short responses to previous day comments, and then leads discussion of the group about the project.
The retreat has talks by keynote speaker, by journalists who are Abe-Journalism fellows, a discussion about engaging policy folks, and other stuff.

So far, tis a very informative and engaging workshop.  I am mostly offline so the whole government shutdown/mass protests is barely in view.  Having sketchy wifi turns out to be a good thing.  I should have lousier wifi at home, and I might get more work done although probably an angry wife.... life is full of tradeoffs.

Anyhow, that is what I am doing while everyone else is protesting or complaining about the media's coverage of the shutdown.

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