Monday, May 31, 2021

10 Tips for Starting, Continuing, & Finishing Writing Projects

Dear Dissertators and Other Aspiring/Practicing Writers,


Digital/analog dissertation-in-progress

Graduate school presents countless opportunities and challenges for getting started and/or keeping going on writing projects, and it can be difficult to be kind to ourselves when we aren't as productive as we intended. One of my favorite quotes from NCFDD founder Kerry Ann Rockquemore is: “Let go of any past writing shortcomings and release yourself from the negative feelings associated with not writing, producing, or finishing your work.” In the spirit of practicing the processes of starting and continuing, however many times or as often as necessary, this post summarizes some of the most useful tips I've gleaned from various writing tools and personal experience over time.

Friday, May 28, 2021

App Report: Retrospective on Useful Accounts with UK Access

Dear UK Colleagues (& Those With General Nerdy Interest),


Custom-designed Chuck Taylor All-Star Converse
("Chucks") by & for Dr. AnthroBone, Class of 2021

I'm pleased to report that I finally finished and defended my dissertation, completed my PhD, and graduated from the University of Kentucky (UK) this semester! There is much to reflect upon and write about this experience, and I will share various lessons learned in the future. Meanwhile, as I depart UK, there are several free websites and resources related to writing/professional development through UK's institutional membership that I have taken advantage of over the years that I hope are also valuable for continuing graduate students.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Let Go & Shine! A Musical Soundscape for Refining & Shining

Dear Listeners on the Edge,*

Whatever you're/we're holding onto that's bogging you/us down, it's okay to let it go. Whatever rough cut gems and unfinished stories remain, you/we can polish and share what is. This Bonus Track "Let Go & Shine" playlist has its own story, but it stands alone here as a musical soundscape for whatever you/we can use some inspiration and encouragement for refining and shining!

Be Kind, Be Kin, 


AnthroBone letting go and shining
on a day off from the field,
Hillsboro, West Virginia, July 2, 2017

* Cf. Cave, Mark, and Stephen M. Sloan, eds. 2014 Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis. Oxford / New York: Oxford University Press.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Being a "Kidd": Lessons from Ruby May

Dear Grandmother-Loving Kids of All Ages,

I'm an audiophile from way back when I was a kid and my Mamaw sometimes let me borrow her very state-of-the-art cassette recorder before many people owned such technology. She was organized and forward-thinking about using audio for self-documentation, and she saved and labeled numerous cassettes of her original music as well as some recordings of me as a child. I've written previously about some of the ways that I use and engage with sound as an anthropology graduate student, but I also enjoy producing creative audio projects as a media artist. This year my partner and I received an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to produce short audio pieces about each of our paternal grandmothers and their influence on our lives. Thus, I am proud to premiere my new audio production, "Being a 'Kidd': Lessons from Ruby May" about my Mamaw as my primary creative inspiration and benefactor.

[If experiencing playback problems, you can listen directly on SoundCloud.]

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The World is on Fire: Photo/Essay

Dear HumanKind & EarthKin of Appalachia and the World, 

In November 2016, I was conducting part of my dissertation fieldwork and participating as a “formerly young” member of a month-long youth theater lab in Eastern Kentucky. I briefly returned home to vote in the US presidential election, and while driving back into town on election day, I took this photo of burning mountains next to the highway using a low-resolution camera on an old smartphone that my grandmother bought me. My ethnographic research includes interviewing and spending time with youth media makers and arts educators in media education programs and public regional events in Central Appalachia. This research also focuses on intergenerational mentorship relationships and networks that enable and support creative aspirations and livelihoods.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friend in the Field Cameo Appearance in Anthropology News

Dear Fans of "Material Culture Vignettes of Field Bags," 

When Anthropology News (AN) first sent out its call for contributions to "What's in Your Bag, Anthropologists?", I immediately knew that I would send a response about Friend in the Field #1: my trusty green backpack. The call asked anthropologists to share a high-resolution photo and a 150-200-word essay to illustrate and describe the packing contents of their bags for the "summer fieldwork season." I'm honored and excited that my nerdy ode to my backpack/field tools was included in the inaugural post for this feature!

(Can you find AnthroBone's field bag?)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Technoscapes: Moving Through Time & Space

Dear Visual & Social Beings & Thinkers,

As a kid in the 1980s, two of my favorite activities were riding bikes and visual technologies that enabled access to other worlds. I also have a lifelong interest in Latin American cultures and traveled to Central and South America in college and graduate school. I am currently conducting dissertation research with youth media makers in Appalachia and how they use visual art and media to envision possibilities for themselves and the region. So when I saw this photo by Rachel Tanur, I was immediately drawn into the narrow focus of the “Cuban Boy with Bike and Game” and shared a similar captivation as she captured on his intent face.

"Cuban Boy with Bike and Game"
Photo by Rachel Tanur
(Also see her complete gallery)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

App Report: Soundscapes for Working and/or Chilling

Dear Soundscapists, Sound Escapists, and Escapers of Sound,

Cassette tape recorded circa 1985-86 by my
6th-grade self & labeled/preserved by my Mamaw
As an anthropologist, my workflow fluctuates between social engagement in the world (i.e., participant observation, conducting interviews, attending meetings/events, presenting research) and more remote and potentially solitary efforts (i.e., writing funding proposals and reports, conference abstracts, field notes; scheduling/transcribing interviews). Depending on the activity, soundscapes such as audio notes, background music, and community radio play various important roles in both defining my work environment and informing/documenting the content of my research. So this App Report focuses on some of the tools and methods I use in different fields and contexts.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Friend in the Field #1: Backpack

Hall of Fame Inductee #1

Dear Forever-Trekkers in the Field,

Several years ago, one of our best friends gave me this Eagle Creek Travel Gear backpack, which has been a loyal Friend in the Field ever since. She wasn't using it anymore, and I really needed one after I returned to graduate school full-time and stayed in Lexington during the week and went home on the weekends. I commuted to campus by bike, so my otherwise awesome single-strap leather mailbag was just not practical and resulted in too many unfortunate mishaps.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Friends in the Field: Hall of Fame Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Dear Ethnographers, Cultural Producers, and Artifact Collectors,

I've been meaning to finish and share this post for a while, but life has been enormously all-consuming this year. One way that I work through difficult times is reminding myself to be grateful for what I have instead of dwelling on what I lack. So I thought the beginning of the fall semester would be an auspicious time to formally introduce AnthroBone's "Friends in the Field Hall of Fame" in celebration of some of the awesome resources I have access to that support me and my work.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

App Report: Other Apps for Research & Writing

Dear Anthro & Other Academic Appsters,

In my first App Report,* I expounded on the wonder of OneNote as a useful all-around and academic notebook app for research and writing. Because of my extended enthusiasm about OneNote and related "powertoys" (and the resulting length of that post), I promised to follow up with additional resources that I have gradually gathered, including some useful apps that I use regularly or am starting to explore. I have previously discussed some of these briefly in my AnthroDashboard of general resources, and I also shared some lessons learned with a previous version of EndNote. I have posted questions and exploratory comments about some of these in other social media venues without much response, so I thought I would share them to invite a wider discussion about academically useful apps. This is a fairly long and detailed list, so I've also included links below to skip ahead to particular sections.

Monday, April 10, 2017

App Report: OneNote for Research & Writing

Dear Nerdy Wordy Academic App-O-Philes,

Recently a fellow PhD graduate student in the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology posed an email inquiry to our grad anthro list-serve about “writing apps for dissertating,” and there was a lively email discussion among several ABD PhD Candidates from the same or similar cohorts about several go-to applications they use. Given my nerdy love for digital tools and archives, I joined the conversation and offered some of my experience and satisfaction working with OneNote.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Exploring Mountains with Multisensory Methods: Sensory Postcards of Appalachia & the Andes

Dear Human Senses and Creative Beings,

My dissertation research focuses on the cultural productions of young visual media makers in Central Appalachia and how they envision, construct, and act upon possibilities for young people in the region. For the past four summers, I conducted preliminary field research at youth media education programs in South America and Central Appalachia, and I have observed and documented numerous visual productions and performances they have produced. However, since I returned to grad school in 2011, I haven't had as much time to engage in some of my own creative interests, which include multiple modes of storytelling, such as filmmaking, community theater, music/audio, and graphic design. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to combine these interests and activities in a public presentation of "sensory postcards" derived from my preliminary fieldwork.

The University of Kentucky (UK) Graduate Appalachian Research
Community (GARC) hosts an annual Appalachian Research Symposium that "is intended to foster a supportive community in which students from various fields can present their Appalachian-based research and creative work." With the exception of 2015, I have presented at the GARC Symposium every year since I started my doctoral program in 2011. This event is one that I look forward to each year because it affords a level of creativity and experimentation that graduate school doesn't always offer. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Activating Library Mind

Dear Academically-Inclined HumanKind,

I have meant to correspond more regularly, but this past spring semester entailed a time-consuming yet rewarding milestone for my current graduate student career: I am finally a PhD candidate, AKA ABD (all but dissertation), in the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology. As follow-up to this process, I promised some folks that I would share some of the tools and strategies that I found useful along my long and windy way. None of this is intended as an exhaustive list of resources or a comprehensive how-to tutorial, but nonetheless it may serve as an occasional guidepost or light for someone else's path.

Departmental T-shirt by Karen, Katie, & Lydia

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dear HumanKind (& EarthKin)

First of all, I am endlessly inspired by the depth and breadth of your curiosity, creativity, ingenuity, diversity, complexity, and your work ethic. Since I was a young kid, I've always marveled at the consciousness and experience of being alive and being human. I've also pondered the fact that a seemingly infinite line of ancestors had to successfully survive and procreate to eventually produce me at a particular time and place.