Monday, October 24, 2011

Back into the Field

In 2005 Shankar Sankaren wrote his “Notes from the Field,” for the Action Research Journal about the sabbatical he took and the many Action Researchers he met during his travels in the US.  One of the over arching themes of Shankar’s reflection was how to increase conversation among Action Researchers spread across the globe.  Could websites be the needed portal for connectivity?  What about conferences and professional networking opportunities?  Or, how about good old fashion books and journals as ways of sharing information and keeping in touch?

These aforementioned methods are great, and combined with technological applications such as skype, blogging, facebook, twitter, and other social media, it appears that keeping in touch and sharing information is easier now than it ever has been.  The combination of communication technology and modern travel make it easy for people to connect in either the virtual or real worlds.

It with these thoughts in mind that I realize how fortunate the Action Research Center, the University of Cincinnati, and the City of Cincinnati are to be hosting Professor Sankaren.  Over the past few weeks I have had pleasure of working in the same space as Shankar, attending meetings together, discussing dissertation ideas, and even arranging a visit for us to volunteer our time at Gorman Heritage Farm —really working in the field.  As an environmentalist, I am often overly critical of long distance travel because of the fuel burned.  However, there is no substitution for “being there,” wherever that is.  Travel and face-to-face meetings, working side-by-side, cultural immersion, and sitting around the same table with others are invaluable experiences. 

John Hemmerle, Shankar Sankaren, Alan Wight
Gorman Heritage Farm - October 18th, 2011

As Peter Reason stated in 2005, “Thank you Shankar for taking the time!”

Alan Wight
Action Research Center
University of Cincinnati

Shankar Sankaren. 2005.  Action Research Journal. Notes from the Field: Action Research Conversations.  3 (4), 341 – 350

Peter Reason. 2005.  Action Research Journal.  Editorial.  3 (4), p 339- 340.