Shelley

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Our good news for this week is that we have another school interested in working on the project with us: Fairfield High in Bristol. History students there study Romans in Year 7 and Victorian Britain in Year 8 so the themes of our model should prove and excellent way of binding those topics together.

Alos this week, the editors of the  book on the Sydenham Crystal Palace to which we are contributing let us know that they liked our essay. Writing the essay was nightmarish but very enlightening. One of the things we havebeen trying to achieve with our model and its environment is to experiment with alternative ways of doing and presenting research (i.e. alternative to the academic norms of writing books or articles). Of course, though, in order to get people to consider and evaluate our work we need to draw attention to it and that means engaging with the standard modes of communication and conversation, and that inevitably means publishing. Writing up our initial reflections on the project, however, proved to be incredibly difficult – how to describe or ‘translate’ something in(to) text that was never intended to have a linear narrative? We eventually ended up trying to duplicate the experience of visiting the model – presenting the paper as a guided tour from room to room, using descriptions of sights or encounters in each room to trigger a reflection or analysis on themes raised by them. The difficulties we have had are not (just) about our own shortcominhgs as writers but, I think, about the ways in which virtual worlds and their use in scholarship might challenge the orthodoxy of academic presentation, not just on their own patch (i.e. in-world) but in the attempt to circumscribe them in text.

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