in which a lot of words are written on the internet, with surprisingly few references to British transport infrastructure. A small story about the affordances of writing online and working out loud.
Mind the Gap is a long, thin artefact that has accompanied me through my entire professional journey in higher education. Through the years it has been my design space, my personal branding, my thinking out loud, my soap box and my means of communication with the outside world.
I have never taken a very structured approach to blogging, only writing new posts when I felt the need. More frequent in periods of project genesis or topical opining, and less in periods of professional turmoil or high workload, the posts have ebbed and flowed over the last 10 years, allowing my work to be seen and heard in a very messy and human way. Especially since my explorations into game worlds, I have had the words of a colleague in the back of my head about the need to ‘grind rep’ - to demonstrate to others my value and worth by making my work transparent and real to those around me. Keeping a blog was my way of doing this, along with my Twitter account which I have kept similarly messy, human and real rather than one-dimensional and strictly ‘professional’.
Particularly earlier on when I was quite invested in the online community and blogging more frequently, my blog became reasonably well known and would be linked to from other blogs or referenced in articles. At one point it was featured in Campus Review. Many colleagues across the sector engaged in my design processes and helped my solidify my work. For a long time, I found it a very satisfying and validating experience, and it helped me get the engagement externally that I wasn’t finding within my own institution.
As the nature of my work changed over time, though, my attention turned more inwards and external engagement became less of a driver for me. Particularly in recent months, engaging with people face to face within my institution has become much more important and will likely continue to be so. I also find that as my work becomes more exploratory and ventures into domains in which I don’t have expertise, and as I work to temper my tendency to judge and critique, I am less confident about the narratives used to communicate and socialise my work out into the world - it’s a voice I have yet to find.
Recently, I have ‘retired’ the Mind the Gap branding, to signify this transition away from rogue design and critique into more human-focused change and interaction domains. The blog will still remain online as an archive, but my intention is to now work into different spaces under the Human from Scratch branding, capturing different geological eras of my career, if you will.