This page is to keep a record of projects I conceive of, start, or complete and my critique of how they went or how they are progressing.
PhDancer Short Stories, and Women in STEM: Every day of 2016 I will write a short story for the entertainment of people with busy lives, to encourage the continued enjoyment of reading stories in modern times. These stories are being posted on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/phdancershortstories/ and under the short stories tab of this website as well as in sets of three at a time on this blog using the ‘short stories series’ category. In addition, I am working on producing kid’s stories/teen novels about girls whose strengths lie in the sciences, engineering, trades etc, because kids in that position have so little to read/watch that reflects their experience and what they could do with their skills.
Approximately 345 Days in the Cold: This is a film journal of my first year living in the UK with my husband, who has relocated for work. I document tourist and travel info as well as discussing and depicting day to day life in Southampton and personal growth resulting from the relocation. The playlist with episodes to date can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l435kQ8Hs0&list=PLINo3x1feX-MJk6PVY51XeRbEpiVAIcrz
Feathers, Wood ‘N’ String
Feathers, Wood ‘N’ String is my music duo with my husband, playing rock themed around myth, geekery and with Celtic twists, and traditional Irish and Celtic music given a rock twist. For example, we play hornpipe on electric guitar with epic power chords, and sing rock songs about playing geeky games, with riffs on the low Irish whistle. I run a Facebook page for Feathers, Wood ‘N’ String at https://m.facebook.com/Feathers-Wood-N-String-1534941683475044/. There is also a Google + page at https://plus.google.com/111091153808948468181, and an Instagram you can follow for pictures of band stuff (featherswoodnstring).
Like Minds: My first novel in interminable progress. During my PhD I have had very little time to give attention to this work and suspect the subject material based in a high school may be difficult to return to. However I hope an adapted version will one day find its way to a publisher.
Rainclouds: My second novel, based on the experience of relocation to the UK.
LiltDance: Lilting is a term for singing Irish music for dancers to practice to as a dance teacher, or joining in vocally with an instrumental piece of music without using lyrics. ‘LiltDance’ is my name for a fusion of Irish Dance, acrobatics and ballet that I am aiming to create upon honing some basic acrobatics skills. The name is a tribute to a role playing character of mine named Lilta who is an acrobat by profession and is also a musician. It reflects the improvised nature of the performance and the drawing of inspiration from multiple sources.
A Midsummer Night’s Guinness: An idea for an Irish dance production based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and adapted to suit a group where female characters greatly outnumber males. Some preliminary work on this was done with some friends when I was early in my PhD but availability of volunteers involved became a big problem and it was not possible to film the whole project let alone perform it. In 2014 my adult Irish dance class assisted me to create a filmed version of the project of which they are very proud. This was used as our end of year presentation to their families and close friends but was not promoted publicly due to use of music from other shows and artists. I am hoping to one day work with my father’s band and other musician connections to produce original music for the production, allowing us to convert it to a stage show.
Rose of Tralee Irish Night: One of my adult dance students took part in the Rose of Tralee Quest, an international Irish festival which searches for a young female representative of Irish culture from each State and sends them to the Festival in Tralee, Ireland. The candidates must raise funds for Australian charity Can:Do4Kids by whatever means they decide, and develop their skills in public speaking and representing the Irish community. I assisted Elise with the organisation of a large, local Irish themed evening of entertainment including performances of Irish dance, music and song by our class and contacts, and fundraising games and activities. I produced the set list for the show and the promotional material shown below.
Twelve Months of the Gratton Street Garden: A Film Diary, 2014: I began this as a personal project and gift to family. Each month in 2014 I documented the garden at the property which my grandfather built and my grandmother nurtured. The full twelve months were made into a DVD for family who grew up on the property, and currently still in progress is a summary of the full year (“Twelve Months in Twelve Minutes”). I feel this project developed my eye for detail and my film-making skills and was a good source of practice with the Canon 70D DSLR I obtained in August 2014. The completed month summaries can be viewed here:
Wedding Planning 2012: Very early in our engagement I decided that I wanted to plan our wedding myself, rather than employing any wedding planners, caterers or event personnel. Planning the wedding involved a variety of tasks including managing others to whom we delegated jobs, providing guests with information about what to do on the day, writing up a schedule of events and plan for the layout of the area on the day, calculating quantities of food and budgeting for items that needed to be bought, choreographing dancing and teaching the dances to performers, selecting songs for the family band to play and organising band rehearsals, and hand-crafting some of the decorations and displays. Despite the large amount of work involved I thoroughly enjoyed this project and was very glad that I chose to do these tasks myself, as it allowed us the maximum amount of influence on all the details, crafting a wedding to suit us and to be highly unique. After the wedding was over I found that I missed the planning work and wedding planning for others is a job I would strongly consider were I more comfortable working with venues, caterers etc and making phone calls to businesses. One project I have considered for the future is writing some ‘zines’ with different concepts for rustic, environmentally friendly or DIY weddings.
A Celebration of Irish Music, Song and Dance 2014: My adult Irish dance class branched off and formed an offshoot group who enjoy playing and singing Irish music. In June 2014 we collaborated with members of my father’s band to put together a night of Irish culture centered around music and dance. This collective of musicians came to be known as the band Bard’s Brew. The event raised funds for my adult Irish dance teams to have costumes made to allow them to compete in the State team championships. As part of organising this event I choreographed new items to be danced to the live music, allocated dancers and singers to items performed on the night, organised rehearsals, designed and sold tickets, wrote up performer biographies and collected photographs and anecdotes for a display, as well as helping design the set list to balance items for those involved in both dancing and singing. On the night I was involved in both dance and singing performance and shared the MC work with members of the band. I also coordinated audience participation in ceili dancing (similar to bush dancing) by ‘calling’ the ceili dances (teaching via explanation on the microphone from the stage) while some of my students helped demonstrate these social dances. The night was an enjoyable one for both dancers and guests and raised the necessary funds for both the costumes and a new speaker system for the class.
Music video and recording of The Tea Pokey: Around the time of my 25th birthday my family’s enthusiasm for tea lead me to write some lyrics to the tune of the Hokey Pokey about just how wonderful tea is, interspersed with some blues sung by Dad. This song has now become a popular anthem in our dance class which contains many like-minded tea loving people. Knowing that the love of tea is widespread around the world I hope to soon record a film aspect to this tea tribute which may inspire tea lovers on You Tube.
Writing of children’s books: As a child I was read to widely and I know that this not only greatly enhanced my literacy but lead me to empathise with people and other living beings who I saw depicted as characters, and this translated into empathy for others in life. I would love to produce some childrens’ stories which influence other children in these same positive ways.