24 July 2016 — Day 11
Blog post by Steven Conroy, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland and Lindsay Trant, Oregon State University, USA
“You can use your universe to your advantage, from the obvious to the invisible”.
Today began with a very interesting session led by Robert Zabawa which encouraged the class to think about language from the perspective of anthropology. We were introduced to the concepts of ethnography, ethnoscience and taxonomy. The group activity was quite an eye opening exercise. The class was split up into guys and girls; each group was asked to categorize shoes using a taxonomy approach. The girls were much more detailed when it comes to explaining shoes (which was a big surprise!), while the performance of the guys left a lot to be desired! Simplicity versus chaos comes into mind for this particular group exercise. We liked this session due to the way in which it encouraged us to think in terms of hierarchical decision trees.
The next activity we engaged in was to go outside (the sun is back at last!) and discuss research methodologies with some of the ICRPS faculty members. We discussed mostly the qualitative approach and research practice when it comes to dealing with individuals, indigenous communities, focus groups and government departments. We were then treated to an informative presentation about ICRPS Barcelona 2017 by Eloi and Gemma. They discussed dates, location, accommodation, topics and ideas for potential field trips. The suggestion to visit a vineyard to taste some wine was particularly well received! Questions were raised as to whether Barcelona or Real Madrid are the best team in Spain, this is pending a decision from Ben!
Then, it was time for speed-dating! To take full advantage of the warm weather, we once again took our group activity outside of the classroom. In this activity, we lined up side-by-side and each student shared their project idea in two minutes with the student directly across from them. This was followed by one minute of feedback and discussion. Then, partners moved on to their next date. This was a valuable exercise as it encourages clear thinking and the ability to summarise ideas into a short space of time while still getting the key message across to your audience. For the first time during the whole trip, we thought we might be all talked out—turns out that was wrong.
Following on from this, we worked on our own individual projects for the remainder of the day until dinner at ‘Creamer’s Field’. We were treated to a lovely meal and a guided tour of the farm. The grounds of the farm and the surrounding area were explored by all involved. It was a very enjoyable evening, even though the bugs were out! After dinner, there was just enough time for our group to continue our ongoing obsession with the pool table in our common room. The Lindsay Rule was invoked many times (where the cue ball can be moved off the rail) and team STAOIFE reigned supreme once again (#LuckoftheIrish). We’re looking forward to hearing the different project presentations but sad that ICRPS 2016 Fairbanks is coming to a close in a few days…!