On 30th November my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship formally came to an end, and I transitioned into being a Lecturer in Human Geography here at UEA. That marked the passing of three years of tremendous privilege, wherein I had the time and resources to pursue a research project which has proven immensely stimulating, and which has put me in touch with a range of new archival sources and lots of new people. There are a few publications coming down the pipe, including papers working their way through production on British imperial airshipping and Mauritian cyclonology, and my collaborative book project with Sam Randalls and a number of historical and geographical colleagues.
I guess with anything like this, you get to a pre-defined end point and feel like you’ve only really scratched the surface, or at least you’ve ended up generating more questions than you’ve managed to answer. I quite quickly worked out that investigating the colonial history of atmospheric science is potentially a lifetime’s work, and while I probably won’t be dedicating all of my future research time to it, there are still lots of questions I want to investigate, archives to explore, stories to uncover.
Over the next few months I’m going to be thinking up ways to keep the investigation going, while also developing some new projects which will bring me back round to thinking about the present-day politics of reckoning with climate. I’ll also be developing a book manuscript in which I’ll explore the links between past and present in the geographies of atmospheric science.
I’ll have to work out what to do with this blog – as I say, the ‘Imperial Weather’ project, as funded by the British Academy, is now at an end, but it will continue in many forms; as will other projects, large and small, solo and collaborative. Maybe I could give this site a re-brand to reflect new research directions. It’s been a really useful tool for making connections with people who have become collaborators, so it’d be nice for it to persist in some form.
But for now, I should simply extend my immense gratitude to the British Academy for supporting me and this project, and to the group of amazing colleagues and mentors who’ve helped along the way, particularly those at Nottingham and more latterly at UEA.
If there is anyone out there who is thinking about going for a British Academy PDF and would like to talk about the scheme and the application process, I’m more than happy share my experiences in the hope that more people can benefit from it as I have done.