Two years ago I posted how I disliked when blogs just went away without any explanation. I noted that with my pending retirement, my six-year blogging experience with Archaeology, Community & Outreach would change, but I was not certain of the direction.
In the last two years I wrote a few posts as I transitioned to being “institutionally” retired. I wrapped up lots of loose ends, finished my formal responsibilities in higher education, and became more immersed in my favorite city in the world, New Orleans, Louisiana – home for the duration. In the past year I also faced health challenges with a cancer diagnosis and a recent heart attack. With all of that more-or-less under control, and thinking through my next phase of existence, I am recasting this blog and my general digital presence.
First, Archaeology, Museums & Outreach is gone (but archived) and now replaced by Other Voices: Life, the River, and Beyond. Similar to a podcast I launched some 15 years ago called Archaeology Overlooked, and my more recent interest in the concept of co-creation, I intend for Other Voices to explore the offerings of those often ignored. So what do I plan to explore? Not constrained by anything other than my interests, the potential scope is broad. Consider:
- As a social activist for more than a half a century, I am keenly interested in the polarization and demonization of the “other” in the world today. I learned as a high school senior in Brother Myron’s Problems of Democracy class that I have a responsibility to not only speak but act in seeking a remedy to the ruinous road we now travel.
- In 1970 I was as an English Lit major. The written word has remained integral to my life. From my home on the southern end of the Mississippi River, when I google the term “literary New Orleans” I come upon George Washington Cable, Grace King, Lafcadio Hearn, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Francis Parkinson Keyes, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, John Kennedy Toole, Anne Rice, and others, but never two of my favorite writers – Robert Tallant and Mary King O’Donnell. Tallant’s Mrs. Candy series of novels and O’Donnell’s Those Other People, all written in the 1940s, are compelling portraits of the local and colorful working class of New Orleans. I intend to resurrect these types of “other” voices in the story of my city.
- My colleague Ana Rea and I have embarked on a project to explore the mentor/mentee relationship. Both raised in blue collar families and the first generation educated beyond high school, mentoring is something that each of us found critical in our lives both within and outside of academia. We see how higher education often continues to fail in the responsibility to the “other” who do not fit the cookie cutter student mold.
- Although I consider my formal work in museums and those professional organizations to be on the back burner, I will continue to write about and advocate for co-creative approaches to community engagement in the preservation and presentation of “other voices” cultural heritage. I remain active in research projects on the north coast of Peru.
- And I am certain I will have to talk about my favorite place within the city of New Orleans – our backyard kingdom of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees!
I am not certain how the above all ties together into anything terribly coherent, but . . .
So that is where I intend to take the next iteration of my digital footprint. If any of the above is of interest to you, stick around. More to come!