Knowledge Sharing through Online Lectures: a model for the future?

Last week was extraordinarily busy. In addition to my usual teaching load and marking I gave not one but two online research lectures. You might think I’d be exhausted given the amount of prep work they take and the high energy delivery along with a fair amount of nerves that the internet connection might crash and I’d leave 40+ people waiting to see if I re-appeared. Thankfully it all went smoothly on the night, or rather nights. More to the point I thoroughly enjoyed myself and feel more energised as a result. You might be wondering why. It is simply this – I find the challenges of research and of conveying swathes of information and complex ideas utterly stimulating and I get a real buzz from sharing knowledge not just within my university community as we did on Wednesday evening but also more widely as we did on Thursday evening. I am keen to do more. Maybe there’s a quirky lecture series to be had, under the title ‘Lectures from the Box Room’, which is, well, where I delivered the lectures from.

The image shows the first lecture slide, including an image of part of a memorial sculpture. The sculpture depicts a man sat on a bench.

‘Lectures from the Box Room’ or at least more online knowledge sharing may well be a way forward in the future, long after the seemingly never-ending pandemic has ebbed and we’ve learned to live alongside COVID-19. A recent survey asked what features of pandemic working we’d like to continue with in the longer term. Delivering public lectures online is definitely one of mine because it means we can make knowledge more widely available, more easily. In pre-pandemic times there were so many interesting talks at universities around the country that I’d have liked to attend but time, cost and geographical distance meant that simply was not possible. Even now there are more interesting talks I’d like to attend but simply can’t fit in, but I do go to more talks than I otherwise would have done. What was also nice the other night was the fact that my family and friends could also join in and be part of what I do and that appeals to my values of sharing knowledge. I’d also like to write a popular version of my original monograph. It’s not just that the history of the Rosenstrasse protest itself is fascinating but understanding how history is shaped, telling the stories within stories that otherwise go untold is also valuable and really speaks to the here and now. Who knows maybe that book will get written and ‘Lectures from the Box Room’ may get the green light. We shall have to wait and see. For now though, if you missed the lecture the first time around, or you want to re-watch, you can find the link here: on the Centre for Visual Culture at Royal Holloway’s YouTube channel – or copy and paste the address into your web browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pcD6z7EIOM

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