Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thoughts on DIAC-08

Well, it has been a week since DIAC convened in Berkeley, CA and I have had some time to process a bit of the incredible things I saw. The presentations I attended and almost every paper within the proceedings contained some gem of knowledge and inspiration for me.

Yet, what was perhaps the biggest inspiration was the opportunity to talk with a few of the presenters outside of the conference. Of note Peter Day and Andy Dearden were extremely supportive, gave great feedback, showcased the cool things they are up to, and well, just plain fun to hang out with.

It was also a great opportunity for me to showcase some of my completed research and present what I'm working on presently. While I got a pretty warm reception for my research paper presentation, I think it was my exploratory paper and new research interests related to food systems, system dynamics and patterns (as policies) that got the most questions and excited responses.

Though I have been working heavily with patterns and pattern languages for the past few years now, it was interesting to hear people suggest that I leave patterns to pursue this system dynamics/food-system analysis stuff. Granted I have been thinking about this for a while, but to have several different people mention essentially the same thing causes one to pause and think for a minute.

Now, I'm not going to abandon what I have been working on or the projects I already have in the works, but the feedback I got basically reaffirmed the new direction I have been taking.

The issue I have is the committee that I have put together are perhaps better geared towards enabling me to pursue a research program focused on patterns, and now to change in mid-stream when I have already submitted a proposal of study could rock a boat I don't want to rock.

And yet, I have broached the topic with my chair and he seems pretty interested. So we'll see.

The point is I feel like shifting gears.

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