Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Quality" as language

Looking at the IAS blog and other online material about "Safety" I am more convinced that a lot of what academics write about quality is just about the word, not any sort of practice. As memory serves the book "Making Quality Critical" starts off with the claim that the word "quality" has no meaning. So maybe the rest of the book is just about how it is used anyway. If the project is to write about neo-liberal rhetoric it matters not what the instance is.
New blog on "Safety" from IAS in Lancaster

I have put a comment into an academic blog

Not sure if this is off topic already but I was interested to find this blog as I contributed to the earlier research project on the Knowledge Economy. I am interested in quality systems in practice and how this relates to ideas about learning organisations.

My guess is that most academics are interested in language, so what is meant by "safety" or "quality" is more interesting than whether defects or danger actually exist.

So my idea for a film is a conference introducing the Centre for Performativity Studies. In the openening scene the police turn up suddenly and the organisers are arrested. It turns out that all the credit cards used to book for the event have had unauthorised charges and £137,000 has gone through an identified account. A claim about "identity theft" through a wifi network is made but there is disputed evidence.

Quite what happens next I don't know, but at least things start with a clearcut problem situation.


Professor Cindy Weber introduced the key questions for the program: how is safe living conceived today?


Dr James Wilsdon

The key question is: what is being smuggled in under the rubric of security, safety and protection? This does not mean turning to conspiracy theory as Adam Curtis, for instance, argues. How is security, safety and protection used to drive through policy decisions? From the perspective of science and innovation policy, there is a tendency to actually shut down debates even in the guise of opening up debate. The use of notion of risk is a good example since it often narrows debate down. The challenge of Chindia is also being used to drive policy decisions. We need to be suspicious and alert to these rhetorics of closure.


Professor Michael Dillon (Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University) looked to some of the wider conceptual issues to begin with. In a sense, we have discussed an architecture of security as an imaginary. It is a dominant imaginary.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Press release about Online Information

Online Information (4th- 6th December 2007 at Olympia, London) is pleased to announce that Adrian Dale, Managing Partner of Creatifica Associates,.as the new conference chairman for 2007. Dale commented, “It’s an honour and a privilege to be asked to chair the conference - whilst at the same time a challenge following on from Martin White.”

The Online Information Conference will provide a forum dedicated to learning, debate, professional development, technology reviews and assessments, expert discussion as well as case study presentations and the sharing of research results and opinion with over 30 sessions and more than 100 expert speakers.

The theme this year is "Applying Web 2.0 - Innovation, Impact and Implementation". Dale explains why this is so relevant for 2007-2008. “This year Online Information professionals will be "going mainstream" again. The world of Social Software has come alive this year and the challenge for the information professional is to show relevance, leadership and professionalism in this fast moving consumer market. We want to avoid the "bubble" and the "consumer froth" which we can leave to the market place - this conference is about what comes after this - deriving real business value from the opportunities that are coming for free, well, nearly free!”

Not much of a mention for academics, though some university librarians will be there. Maybe "leadership" is a word to work on. There is not much about quality and organisations in the material so far but I think "leadership" might connect with this.
Moving media discussion to readG

This blog has been covering media recently but this will reduce. I plan to move this to another blog about reading the Guardian.

The book "Everything is Miscellaneous" could be about academic writing or newspapers or both so the discussion around media helps to break down distinctions between disciplines such as learning and quality, and between academics and practitioners. But the media bit is off topic for thios blog to a large extent so there will be less of it.

Reading the Guardian includes the media section that covers most of the UK media in a global context.

Monday, October 08, 2007

"Kids are not stupid" claims forum leader.

David Brunnen, forum leader for networked services, part of the communications management association (CMA) has made series of claims in the September issue of Networking.

"Good news that in the sometimes wierd world of Web 2.0, youth-led innovations like Facebook are being translated into new services for business."

But wait. There is more.

"According to sources close to their deadlines , the shock for the media industry is that they've not noticed that kids are not stupid."

So if this is true about building trust in media, it could also be true for education. Start with where the kids are at, and design around it.

On the other hand it would have been nice if the case for socially constructed methods online had been better accepted and resulted in more funding for projects. But it just seems to be so that the example of what is already happening is more persuasive.

One more quibble. It seems to me quite strange how much money some people are prepared to pay on ringtones for mobile phones where the sound quality is not really that good. But there may be very sensible reasons for this that I just don't understand.