the pleasure of a late afternoon conversation

We have had quite a few visitors in HUMlab over the last week: a group from Newcastle University, a Second Life language education group (from Sweden, Norway and Italy), an internationally acknowledged media producer and an archivist from the Swedish National Archive. Later this week we will have a prominent visitor from Stanford University.This is one of the things I like about HUMlab: the influx of people and mix between planned and unplanned meetings. Having people “available” in the lab makes a big difference, and often help extend discussions and work beyond what was intended or planned.

Currently quite a few HUMlab workers are working hard on the final reporting of a fairly large EU project. Others are preparing an ‘image’ for the upcoming upgrade of workstations in the lab. This is also a big job. There are also a great many other things going on. One thread concerns finishing the installations in the new part of the lab. We hope that everything will be ready by the end of October 2008.

Sometimes it really nice just to spend some time in the lab, and late this afternoon i had a low-key, inspiring conversation with two students from one of the educational programs we are involved in (in one of the couches). They spend quite a lot of time in the lab, and we talked for at least 30 minutes about the lab, their program, and what is important to them (and me) about the lab.  They are working on a project that involves some desktop publishing/design, and they told me about the process. For instance, they have received help in doing this work (which is not a core element of their program) from people employed in the lab, but also from a very good photographer and student, who frequently spends time in the lab. When the resolution of the students’ camera did not suffice, this photographer went to the building in question and took high-resolution photos (with a very professional-looking camera – worth as much as my car according to one of the students). We also discussed the affordances of a relatively open space like HUMlab, and they seemed to enjoy being ‘dragged into’ events like last week’s excellent short course on children and what they do online with Elza Dunkels. And when they said that they were interested in having a stronger typography element in their program, I asked another HUMlab user present in the lab – he happens to be a very good designer with professional experience from an ad/design agency.