Re: Fixing matters ... Is it time to move on? Re:Don't worry ...

Subject: Re: Fixing matters ... Is it time to move on? Re:Don't worry ...
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2005 - 10:43:15 EST

At 04:04 23/01/2005, you wrote:

>>A notebook computer now has more power than the old Columbia-Princeton
>>and WDR studios put together, so one might provocatively ask, where's the
>>really great music? Why do works like Gesang der Junge or Silver Apples
>>of the Moon stand out in the history of the field? It is not the facility
>>of sound creation that is at issue, but the cultural sophistication of
>>the statement.

Actually it's often about being first out with a new toy. The technology
has more or less stopped developing now and is in a consolidation phase, so
being first out with a new toy is no longer possible.

>Subsequent to this, it was determined, as you have found, that the way to
>address these issues in the 21st century is not through the 'academic
>conference' process, but through hammering them out in front of a thousand
>people on email lists.

I think this form of interchange - noisy though it can be - is often

>It is true that my Chair and Dean do not recognize my writing to email
>lists as being (equivalent) to research or "peer-reviewed" publication, I
>will not forsake this (a)venue for communication within the community,
>even though it is 'detrimental' to my (research profile) position in the
>Department, Faculty and University.

This seems very short-sighted on the part of the D&C. But I think one
answer to the problems currently facing bricks and mortar academic
establishments is to move more enthusiastically into various virtual
environments. Here in the UK Southampton has a series of interesting
research projects looking into how this can be done successfully. It might
be worth talking to some of the people there.

There's a lot to be said for face to face contact, but I think any
frameworks that use virtual technologies to blur some of the hard edges
that surround academia could be a very interesting and potentially fruitful
area to explore. This mailing list is a successful prototype. But I think
many of the established rituals in academia - papers, conferences, degree
assessments and the rest - have scope for less rigid variations that would
promote learning and participation among the wider public, without
necessarily diluting the quality of the work being done.


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