Artisanal Academia

To all of my academic friends. The work you do is equivalent to that of an artisan. Your research is unique, brilliant, handcrafted, and bloody hell you pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it. #artisanalacademia

Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer

In a recent post about the nature of academic work, Zen Faulkes described his research as “hand-crafted”. It was a term I’d never seen associated with academia before, but one that made instant sense.

As I thought about it, my brain started doing word association, generating a list of words that describe hand-crafted things. I scribbled them down as they came to me: organic; one-off; skilled; time-consuming; precious; valuable; lost art; expensive; beautiful. And as I wrote, I realised that good research is all these things. It is an organic process in which progress is sometimes fast, often slow, and the best ideas come from having time and space to think, explore, experiment, and discuss. Every piece is unique and makes a valuable contribution to humanity. It is time-consuming and the people who do it are highly skilled. It is expensive, but the outcomes are precious and beautiful. And I fear it…

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