Meeting my “Giants”

This week I went to the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies 50th Anniversary Conference: The Museum in the Global Contemporary: Debating the Museum of Now.  Quite a mouthful, but with a much shorter hashtag #globalcontemp.  I went for a number of reasons.  It is very relevant to my PhD, I had put forward a poster proposal and had it accepted and some of the speakers were academics I have been reading recently.

Now, I have written about the benefits of conferences before, but this one really struck a chord with me.  I felt like I was submerged in my field and this was brilliant.  However, I was still harbouring deep a deep down case of imposter syndrome and terrifying nerves. This is where another previous blog post comes in and the reason for today’s title.  I wrote about Standing on the Shoulders of Giants back in January 2015.  I even put in that blog that I had met some of my giants before, but that was before I knew they were my giants so familiar giants don’t seem so scary.   At the conference was one of my “giants”, all the way from Australia.

Professor Andrea Witcomb is a professor at Deakin University in Australia.  She has written a lot about emotions and cross cultural working in museums, there is more about that here.  To be honest, I am not going to write about her work here, but about her as a “giant”.  I realised that I had a chance to speak to her at the conference and spent half a day trying to muster up the courage to that.  I even asked someone else to introduce me as I thought that might be slightly less nerve-wracking than doing it myself.  I had to do something as it was an opportunity not to be missed.

So I did it.

And I am so glad I did.  I even told her about the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants.  She said she didn’t feel like a giant, but had giants of her own that don’t seem so scary when you talk to them.  So now I have this:

Andrea and Me

Me and my “giant” (thank you for the selfie Andrea!).

My advice to anyone facing their giant is to remember they are lovely people too. They probably had giants of their own so will understand your nerves and will most likely be interested in what you are doing because you have the same interests as them.

I spoke to a number of really interesting people with interesting projects at the conference, I will probably blog about that next, once I have re-written my upgrade paper plan after inspiration from this week’s speakers.



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