Reflections on being a Hive Scholar – Frank Verano

This is the third of a short series of posts in which the 2012-13 scholars will reflect on the year as we prepare to finish our time with the Hive.  In this post, Frank Verano reflects on his experiences. 

When I applied to be a Hive Scholar just over a year ago, I was looking to more fully integrate myself into the university’s research culture, experience firsthand a peek behind the curtain, in a way, expand my CV, and develop organisational skills.  I had felt isolated and out-of-step with other researchers in my first year, and wanted to find ways to correct that moving forward.  Shortly after learning of my selection, a colleague in Media, Film and Music asked if I’d like to run our school’s biweekly research-in-progress seminars with him.  I agreed, and suddenly found myself with two roles very central in developing and promoting research cultures!

As third-generation Hive Scholars, I think our team’s legacy will be developing a classical model of the Scholar role.  We were fortunate to meet with previous Scholars in September (and even work with some of them on projects during the year, such as Wellbeing Week and the Doctoral School Festive Fayre) and build upon their groundwork and recommendations, but I feel our team really refined and defined the role in a strong, distinctive way.  Still, I’m sure next year’s team will put their own stamp on the role and redefine it yet again!  It’s a shame (though understandable) that the scholarships aren’t renewable, as Charlotte, Rachel and I are really keen on what we could do in a second year.

So much of our success is due to the positive, supportive and encouraging research support team at the Library and Doctoral School.  With their guidance and unwavering support, we were able to move forward with our initiatives and tackle delicate topics effectively.

The personal highlight of the year was my trip to the University of Basel with Research Support Manager Joanna Ball to speak on interdisciplinary exchange in the Research Hive at a one-day workshop hosted by the university’s IT-Service Integration in Studium und Lehre (ITSI) Group.  We delivered a twenty-minute presentation in which we discussed what works and what is problematic with the space of the Hive in facilitating this exchange, branding the Hive and holding events outside the Hive, as well as expanding the space of the Hive into the virtual.  It was quite striking to learn of the differences in research culture and research support in Switzerland.  In addition, we were given a personal, extensive tour through the enormous university and enjoyed a bustling downtown Christmas market on a lovely snowy evening.

Like a successful exciting band, a team that’s in tune with each other, can improvise with the other players and integrate styles well is really key to the success of the Scholars.  I recently commented to a colleague that I was the George Harrison of the Scholar team; so, I’d like to thank Charlotte and Rachel for being our Lennon/McCartney, whose brilliant ideas propelled us to great heights and much success.  I wish we could do it all over again!


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