Marie Curie Fellowship, Interim Report

I’ve produced a report of the work I’ve done in the past year, and thought that readers of this blog might be interested to see it. Not the most thrilling reading, but it might be useful to other MSCA Individual Fellows to see how I’ve structured this, and what I’ve managed to achieve in twelve months as a Research Fellow at University College London.

MSCA Log of Activities conducted in the first year by MSCA IF Prof. Shannon Chance 

(01 January 2018 – 31 December 2018)

This interim report summarizes work and achievements resulting from year one of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship provided the European Union. This fellowship runs 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2019.

Call identifier         H2020-MSCA-IF-2016

Project number      747069

Project acronym     DesignEng

Project title            Designing Engineers: Harnessing the Power of Design Projects to Spur Cognitive and Epistemological Development of STEM Students

We are delighted to report outcomes of the training and mutual learning of MSCA Research Fellow Professor Shannon Chance alongside her primary MSCA supervisor Professor Nick Tyler, her informal second MSCA supervisor Professor John Mitchell, her colleagues from University College London (UCL) and its Centre for Engineering Education (CEE), and her colleagues from Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin, formerly DIT) and its CREATE research group. The achievements identified in this report reflect the positive learning environment at the host institution (UCL) and ongoing positive relationships with the home institution (TU Dublin).

This mid-project report provides a log of activities conducted in 2018, the first 12 months of this fellowship, by MSCA Research Fellow Professor Shannon Chance. The work plan proposed in the fellowship application has been followed, and the researcher development activities promised in the six Work Packages are on track. Allowing for a small degree of variation from details of original proposal yet thoroughly meeting the intent—at the overall level as well as within each work package—we report that all milestones have been met, and all promised items have been either produced or on track to be produced on time.

WP1, Qualitative studies

Conducted interviews with 15 final-year women studying engineering in Ireland, and worked with teachers at my home institution to implement findings to enhance their teaching practice.

Designed a research study and conducted a literature review on global responsibility in civil engineering. Obtained ethics approval to proceed with the study. Prepared an extensive mid-project report for Engineers without Borders UK.

Designed a study on conceptualizations of architecture and civil engineering students, obtained ethics approval to proceed with the study, and conducted three pilot interviews to test the interview protocol.

Assisted in the design of a study of student experiences and expectations in UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP) and provided advice throughout the ethics application and data collection process.

Assisted in the development of a manuscript reporting a systematic review of the literature on “grit”.

Published three conference papers disseminating findings of my empirical research under this work package and presented them at ASEE, ICL, and SEFI.

  • CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Preliminary findings of a phenomenological study of Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering in Ireland. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • CHANCE, S. M. & Direito, I. (2018). Preliminary findings of a systematic review of doctoral theses in engineering education that have used phenomenological methods. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences of Collaborative Learning in Engineering in Ireland. International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) in Kos Island, Greece.

Submitted the final draft for publication (based on a 2017 conference presentation) in the proceedings of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering’s EERN, Engineering Education Research Network

Submitted a draft journal article to SRHE’s consultant for the journal PRHE for advice.

  • CHANCE, S. M., Maguire, R., Direito, I., Gleeson-Mills, A., & Eddy, P. L. (first draft). National STEM educational policies: Their relation to girls’ experiences in physics across Europe and to the engineering pipeline. Policy Reviews in Higher Education.

Made additional presentations of my empirical research under this work package at SRHE and EERN:

  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Summary of National STEM Educational Policies in Relation to Girls’ Experiences in Physics in Europe and into the Engineering Pipeline. Society for Research in Higher Education conference 2018 in Newcastle, UK.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Summary of National STEM Educational Policies in Relation to Girls’ Experiences in Physics in Europe and into the Engineering Pipeline. Society for Research in Higher Education conference 2018 in Newcastle, UK.
  • Leão, C. P., Soares, F., Williams, B., & CHANCE, S. (2018). Challenges, experiences and advantages in being a female engineering student: Voices in the first person. Presentation at the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) annual conference 2018 in Portsmouth.
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Presentation at SRHE 2018

WP2, Mixed-methods study

Published one conference paper and delivered one presentation, disseminating findings of my empirical research under this work package.

  • CHANCE, S. M. & Duffy, G. (2018). A model for spurring organizational change based on faculty experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Submitted a complete manuscript that uses multiple methodologies for review by EJEE, received instructions to revise and resubmit, and submitted a revised version for the second round of peer reviews.

  • CHANCE, S. M., Duffy, G., & Bowe, B. (in press). Comparing grounded theory and phenomenology as methods to understand lived experience of engineering educators implementing Problem-Based Learning. European Journal of Engineering Education. 
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Recent journals on engineering and higher education

WP3, Special focus journal

(I proposed delivering one special focus issue over two years and have exceeded this goal.)

Spearheaded a special focus issue on diversity in electrical and electronic engineering that was published November 2018, and served as lead author of the guest editors’ statement.

  • CHANCE, S., Bottomly, L., Panetta, K., & Williams, B. (Eds.). (November, 2018). Special focus issue on gender in engineering in the IEEE Transactions on Education.
  • CHANCE, S., Bottomly, L., Panetta, K., & Williams, B. (Eds.). (November, 2018). Guest Editorial Special Issue on Increasing the Socio-Cultural Diversity of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Related Fields. IEEE Transactions on Education, (61)4, 261-264.

I am spearheading another special focus issue on using design to spur epistemological and identity development among engineering students underway and ahead of schedule: Call for papers issued (m1), Proposals arrive (m4), Proposals selected for continuation (m6), Full drafts received (m14), Reviews returned to authors (m16), Finals submitted for re-review (m19).

  • CHANCE, S., Williams, B., Goldfinch, T., Adams, R. S., & Fleming, L. N. (Eds.). (forthcoming, 2019). Special focus issue on using design projects to spur cognitive development of students in science and engineering n the IEEE Transactions on Education. 

Produced PBL encyclopedia entry.

  • CHANCE, S. M. (forthcoming). Problem-Based Learning: Use in Engineering Disciplines. In Amey, M. J. & David, M. E. (Eds.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education, 5v. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Learning from experts like phenomenographer Dr. Mike Miminiris

WP4, Outreach activities

(I proposed delivering 19 outreach events/outputs over two years.)

Outreach to General Public

(In 2018, 5 workshops, 1 booth, 1 book publisher advised, 2 educational websites)

Directly conducted 4 robotics and electrical engineering workshops for kids in Ireland with colleagues from my home institution. Having co-founded RoboSlam robotics outreach team in 2013, I continue to be active in RoboSlam, as one of the four main coordinators of events. In 2018, was part of a team that ran a number of robotics and electrical engineering workshops for kids in Ireland over the month of August with the Wexford library service. I specifically assisted in running two workshops in Bunclody (17th August) and two in Enniscorthy (18th August). The workshops were attended by approximately 120 children in the age range 8-12. The children built an electronics arcade game which they brought home afterwards. The intention of the workshops was to encourage an interest in electronics and programming. Feedback and pictures (courtesy of Shannon Chance) are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/DIT%20Bread%20Board%20Games. The technical resources we used (instructions, and code) can be found here: https://ioprog.com/bbg.

Operated an educational booth on electrical engineering in Ireland with colleagues from my home institution, at Dublin Maker 2018. A large team of volunteers (staff and students) from the school participated in Dublin Maker in Merrion Square in mid-July 2018. The common theme of our stand was “paper programming”.

Provided support for the EI sponsored Engineer Your Future Week summer school for TY students in mid-May. Our school’s contribution encompassed Robot Building and Biomedical Engineering.

STEM Activity Books for Kids—provided “expert advice” as the primary content consultant for activity books:

  • Scribble Engineering, STEM activity book published by Usborne Publishing Ltd. (2018)
  • Scribble Architecture, STEM activity book to be published by Usborne Publishing Ltd. (forthcoming)

Hosted and created content for an educational blog on being a mobile researcher that had 3,732 visitors in 2018 and 13,106 views (discrete clicks indicating engagement) with additional interaction via Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • CHANCE, S. (2012-present). Ireland by Chance: Research Adventures in Ireland and the UK. http://www.IrelandByChance.com showcasing research and fellowship activities

Provided content for a blog on robotics that I collaborative manage with colleagues from my host institution that had 3,299 visitors in 2018 and 6,505 views.

  • Burke, T., CHANCE, S., Berry, D., & Duignan, F. (2012-present). RoboSlam: Robot-building for Beginners. Roboslam.com showcasing outreach activities I do with my colleagues in electrical engineering.
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My colleagues in engineering education development and research at UCL.

Outreach to Support Educators

Provided workshops on teaching (learning theories and innovative teaching techniques) for educators.

  • Akinmolayan, F. & CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Facilitating group & Problem-Based Learning in the context of engineering education. Two-day Master Class conducted for the University of Cape Town’s Engineering Education Existing Staff Capacity Enhancement Programme.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2019). Learning theories in engineering: A US perspective on student development. A class session for UCL’s new MSc in Engineering and Education.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Supporting diverse students. Lunch seminar for UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education in London.

Outreach to Support Researchers

Provided workshops on research techniques for Early Stage Researchers.

  • Direto, I., Malik, M., & CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Conducting Systematic Literature Reviews in Engineering Education Research. Workshop to the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) annual conference 2018 in Portsmouth.
  • Edström, K., Bernhard, J., De Laet, T., & others including CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Doctoral Symposium. One-day pre-conference workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • De Laet, T., Williams, B., & others including CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Engineering Education Research. Workshop by EER Working Group at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). MSCA fellowship experiences. Presentation delivered for Dublin Institute of Technology’s EPA & IUA MSCA Research Information Workshop Programme.

Provided presentations at symposia for experienced researchers

  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Gender Equality in STEM Education. Presentation delivered at Marie Curie Alumni Association’s Gender Equality Workshop Programme on 3 December 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Edström, K., Bernhard, J., van den Bogaard, M., Benson, L., Finelli, C., CHANCE, S. M., & Lyng, R. (2018). Reviewers, reviewers, reviewers! Workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

WP5, Training and transfer-of-knowledge

(I proposed attending 56 training sessions over two years and have exceeded this goal)

Researcher Training sessions completed

In chronological order:

  1. UCL online training module and certificate earned in Safety
  2. UCL online training module and certificate earned in Green Awareness
  3. UCL online training module and certificate earned as Green Champion
  4. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Finding Your Voice as an Academic Writer
  5. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, An Introduction to Research Student Supervision at UCL
  6. Researcher information session organized by the Irish Research Council, Opportunities to collaborate with UK-based researchers
  7. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Decision Taking for Researchers
  8. UCL Arena Guidance Sessions: Initial Guidance
  9. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Leading Collaborative Projects
  10. UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education’s event, In Conversation With… Angela Saini and Louise Archer
  11. UCL AstreaVoices workshop: Choosing your journey
  12. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Writing Books and Book Chapters
  13. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Managing Your Reputation
  14. UCL Arena Senior Fellow Guidance Session: Developing your application
  15. UCL day-long Education Conference 2018 at the UCL Institute of Education
  16. Nathu Puri Institute Thought Leadership discussion and dinner in April
  17. SRHE day-long workshop, Migration and academic acculturation
  18. SRHE day-long workshop, Developing curriculum, learning and pedagogies in STEM subjects: the case of Engineering
  19. SRHE day-long workshop, Phenomenography: An approach to qualitative research in higher education
  20. UCL LLAKES Seminar by Louise Archer Why can’t we solve the science participation ‘crisis’? Understanding young people’s (non)participation in post-16 science
  21. Attended a UCL “Town Hall” to better understand the administrative structure of this research-intensive university, Finding a new place in society for universities
  22. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop Publish or Perish: Getting Collaborative Social Science Published
  23. One-day Inaugural Spring Colloquium of the UK-Ireland Engineering Education Research Network, held in Newcastle
  24. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, The Superior Performer: How to Work to Your Strengths
  25. SRHE day-long workshop, Publishing Academic Articles: A way through the maze
  26. UCL Researcher Development Workshop, Induction for New UCL Research Staff
  27. Attended a half-day of UCL conference on Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture Comparative Perspectives reservation
  28. UCL workshop, Provost’s Welcome to New Staff
  29. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Writing and Publishing Research Papers
  30. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Increasing Impact – Gaining Positive Media Coverage
  31. Attended two-day Inspirefest celebrating women in technology, held in Dublin
  32. Attended four-day conference of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in Salt Lake City
  33. Attended one-day symposium at the Royal Society sponsored by the RAEng and UCL CEE, Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium
  34. Second Nathu Puri Institute Thought Leadership Event at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG
  35. Attended two-day 7th International Symposium of Engineering Education (ISEE 2018), hosted by UCL
  36. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Storytelling Skills for Teachers and Presenters
  37. UCL Arena training for fellowship applicants at principal level, PFHEA Lunch session
  38. Attended five-day conference of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI 2018) in Copenhagen
  39. Attended three-day International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL 2018) plus events of the International Conference on Engineering Pedagogy (IGIP 2018) in Kos Island, Greece
  40. UCL online training module and certificate earned in GDPR
  41. SRHE day-long workshop, IS THERE (STILL) ROOM FOR EDUCATION IN THE CONTEMPORARY UNIVERSITY? Exploring policy, research and practice through the lens of professional education. Seminar 3
  42. Lecture organized by the Irish Fulbright Commission, Creative Minds: In Conversation with a NASA Astronaut
  43. TU Dublin (formerly DIT) online training module and certificate earned in GDPR
  44. TU Dublin 2.5-hour workshop by Dr. Bill Williams, Getting published in engineering education research journals
  45. Attended half-day IEP Research Away (Half) Day
  46. Attended three-day Society for Research in Higher Education conference (SRHE 2018) in Newport, Wales
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Exploring Athens between conferences

Research skills development activities

PhD/Research supervision

  • Second supervisor for one PhD student at LSBU, Thomas Empson, meeting with him and the primary supervisor Professor Sushma Patel bi-monthly. Successfully guided him through (1) REES2 submission and panel interview gaining university permission to proceed, (2) ethics approval process, and (3) submission of abstract to EPDE conference that was accepted for development into a full paper.
  • Co-supervising one PhD student at TU Dublin, Una Beagon.
  • Supervised a group of students in The Civil Service Graduate Development Programme 2017-18 in Ireland in conducting a policy-related research project.

International Leadership Appointments in EER

  • Appointed Associate Editor for the journal IEEE Transactions on Education. In addition to organizing the two special focus issues listed under WP3, I also provided advice to the Editor in Chief at the desk review stage, managed the review of multiple manuscripts, gave input into operational changes, and review manuscripts nominated for Best Paper.
  • Appointed to and served on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Engineering Education.
  • Appointed to and serve as Governing Board member, global Research on Engineering Education Network (REEN) and providing leadership on the sub-committee for recruitment and selection of upcoming conference hosts.
  • Appointed to the organizing group of the new Irish Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). Joined international MCAA organization and both the Irish and UK chapters.
  • Appointed to the SEFI Working Group on Engineering Education Research.
  • Provided leadership to the Nathu Puri Institute at the London South Bank University as a think-tank member (2018) and by serving on the interview panel for the new director of the Institute.
  • Appointed as Visiting Professor at London South Bank University.
  • Invited to serve as a member of the Program Committee of the 11th Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), which will take place in Porto, from 27-30 April 2020.

Journal Peer Reviews

  • Reviewed manuscripts for the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE), including CEEE20160099, CEEE20180019, CEEE20170301, CEEE20180019.R1, CEEE20180086, and CEEE20180173.
  • Reviewed manuscripts for the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) manuscript JEE-2017-0238 and JEE-2017-0238.R1.

Conference Peer Reviews

  • Provided reviews of three abstracts for the Research in Engineering Education Symposium to be held in 2019
  • Provided peer reviews of four abstracts (contributions 1149, 1217, 1236, and 1384) for SEFI 2018.
  • Served as meta-reviewer, breaking ties on three abstracts (contributions 1123, 1237, and 1242) for SEFI 2018.
  • Reviewed one abstract (contribution 1194) for the 2018 ICL conference.

Educational Assessment

  • Provided assessment of one proposal for Fulbright Ireland’s 2019-2020 Programme.
  • Invited to serve on National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) IPR Review Panel (forthcoming 2019).
  • Invited to serve as Evaluator for EU grant proposals under the ERASMUS Program (forthcoming 2019).
  • Provided a formal assessment of four MSc capstone thesis papers submitted at my home institution.

Curriculum Design and Education Development

  • Provided input into the design of a new MSc in Applied Computing for professionals in Built Environment at her home institution.
  • Provided advice for UCL’s new MSc Engineering and Education, launched in September 2018. This flexible and unique MSc is designed for anyone teaching in a department of engineering or working as an engineer or in engineering policy, who is aiming to: (a) lead change and enhance the performance of engineers in industry or (b) develop innovative strategies to improve the education of engineers, in either educational or work contexts.   More information and apply at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/degrees/engineering-education-msc
  • Provided input into the proposed new curriculum in architecture engineering for Newgiza University to be developed by my host institution.
  • Developed links around accessible transport in London that are of importance to my home institution’s new MSc in Transport and Mobility. I am coordinating a visit of DIT’s MSc staff for spring 2019 to London to visit the world-recognized transportation testing facility headed by Professor Nick Tyler, CBE.
  • Visited former colleagues and students in bridge and robot design modules during research trips to Dublin.

Fellowship applications

  • Submitted a fellowship application to the British Academy that was not funded.
  • Advised Dr. Inês Direito on preparing her won grant application for the Nuffield Foundation.
  • Worked on developing an application for a HEA Teaching Fellowship.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Advised researchers in Portugal (Filomena Soares and Celina Pinot Leao) who are collecting interview data to add to that I’ve collected with Dr. Bill Williams.
  • Mentored multiple young past students and research participants and the person hired to cover me during my MSCA career break.
  • Advised aspiring MSCA applicants.
  • Provided references for past students and colleagues.
  • Provided mentoring on PhD research design to a UCL colleague.
  • Kept up with the achievements of my former architecture students via Facebook and LinkedIn (e.g., buildings designed, books launched, exams passed, professional registrations earned, challenges faced, lives well-lived.)

Miscellaneous

  • Provided data to assist with UNESCO report on engineering.
  • Worked to keep my research profiles up-to-date, including UCL EngineeringIRIS, LinkedIn, ORCId
  • Nominated colleague Dr. Bill Williams for appointment as Visiting Professor at my home institution and assisted in organizing his inaugural lecture and a workshop for my home research group, called CREATE.
  • Coordinated guest lecture at my host institution (UCL) by Dr. Mike Miminiris
  • Provided interview for gender researcher Susana Vázquez Cupeiro
  • Served as moderator of ISEE conference session organized by my host institution.
  • Was featured in a two-page spread in DIT’s Research News, issued in March 2018, on women in STEM.

Received one-to-one training from research experts

  1. Mike Mimirinis, phenomographer
  2. Professor Nick Tyler
  3. Professor John Mitchell
  4. Bill Williams
  5. Professor Jenni Case
  6. Jeff Froyd
  7. Professor Brian Bowe
  8. Professor Anne Gardner
  9. Professor Pam Eddy
  10. Inês Direito
  11. Professor Shushma Patel
  12. Able Nyamapfene
  13. Claire Ellul GeoBIM – Linking Geographic Information Systems and Building Information Modelling
  14. Jenny Griffiths
  15. Professor Rao Bhamidimarri
  16. Kate Roach
  17. Folashade Akinmolayan
  18. Nicky Wolmarans
  19. Jay Derrick
  20. Emanuela Tilley
  21. Lorraine D’Arcy
  22. Avril Behan
  23. Kevin Gaughan
  24. Jean Cahill
  25. Amir Tobacovic
  26. Professor Ron Daniel
  27. Ted Burke
  28. Damon Berry
  29. Frank Duignan
  30. Professor Simon Phibin
  31. Georgia Pitts
  32. Elpedia Makriyannis
  33. Jeffrey Johnson
  34. Professor Euan Lindsay
  35. Andrew Forkes, Maker Labs at LSBU
  36. Alan Hilliard
  37. Rovani Sigamoney of UNESCO
  38. Rob Lawlor
  39. Fiona Truscott
  40. Conor O’Carroll
  41. Tony Fawcett, CEGE Communications and Marketing Manager

Attended CPD lectures to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. Attended two lectures on accessible transportation at PAMELA, UCL’s transportation research hub, delivered by Professor Nick Tyler
  1. UCL Architecture lecture, Sir Peter Cook of CRAB Studios
  2. UCL Architecture lecture, SueAnne Ware with University of Newcastle, Australia
  3. UCL Architecture lecture, Ken Yeang
  4. UCL Architecture lecture, Fabio Gramazio of ETH Zurich and Gramazio Kohler Research
  5. UCL Architecture lecture, Jeremy Till from UAL
  6. UCL Architecture lecture, Vera Bühlmann from Technical University of Berlin
  7. UCL Engineering event, presentations of BEAMS EPSRC Vacation Bursary Best Project nominations
  8. UCL Architecture lecture, Peg Rawes from The Bartlett
  9. UCL Engineering lecture, Designing a Road Traffic Model for the Cross-sectoral Analysis of Future National Infrastructure
  10. UCL Education Awards
  11. Architecture lecture by Grafton Architects
  12. TU Dublin lecture by Dr. Bill Williams, It’s not just about innovation: 14 ways engineers create value
  13. Attended DIT London Alumni Annual Reception at the London Irish Centre 

Visited museum visits to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. Science Museum (including the Transportation exhibit)
  2. Bartlett exhibition on Street Life
  3. Tower Bridge with bride design exhibition
  4. Foundling Museum
  5. Tower of London
  6. Paris—San Chappelle, Arab Institute, Medieval Museum, Marie Curie Museum
  7. Saatchi Gallery
  8. V&A Museum
  9. British Museum (e.g., Egyptian exhibition)
  10. Courtard Gallery
  11. Folkestone Museum
  12. Dover Castle
  13. Royal Academy (Charles I)
  14. Whitechapel Gallery
  15. Sir John Soane Museum
  16. V&A Museum of Childhood (including Nordic Design exhibition)
  17. Apartheid Museums in Johannesburg
  18. Constitution Hill museum in Johannesburg
  19. National Gallery (exhibitions on Degas and Murillo)
  20. Wallace Collection
  21. History Museum in London
  22. UCL Art Museum, Octagon exhibition hall, and Library
  23. National Gallery (Monet and Architecture)
  24. Tate Modern (e.g., an exhibition on Modigliani)
  25. Tate Britain (e.g., an exhibition on Impressionists in London, and the Turner Prize)
  26. Somerset House (print exhibit & tour)
  27. Building Centre
  28. Institute of Making
  29. UCL Grant Museum of Archeology
  30. Open House Dublin (Normal House, Villas, Belvedere House, Ash House, 14 Henrietta Street, KS Garda St, Richmond Surgical)
  31. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum
  32. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
  33. Smithsonian East Wing
  34. Smithsonian Cochrane Gallery
  35. Smithsonian Museum of American History

Visited and studied cities to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. London, England
  2. Paris, France
  3. Folkestone, England
  4. Dover, England
  5. Johannesburg, SA
  6. Ramsgate, England
  7. Rye, England
  8. Nice and south of France
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Athens, Greece
  11. Kos, Greece
  12. Newport, Wales
  13. Bristol, England
  14. Washington, DC

WP6, Management

  • Attended pre-grant meetings with primary MSCA supervisor Professor Nick Tyler, second supervisor Professor John Mitchell, colleagues from the research center I was joining and the corollary center at my home institution to align plans and activities, including its head, Professor Brian Bowe.
  • Attended a fellowship kick-off meeting with Professor Nick Tyler and second supervisor Professor John Mitchell.
  • Developed an official Career Development Plan based on research and bespoke advice from Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 1 Probationary Assessment with my supervisor, Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 3 Probationary Assessment with my supervisor, Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 6 Probationary Assessment with Professor Nick Tyler and submitted required documents to UCL.
  • Held frequent discussions (bi-monthly) with my second supervisor, Professor John Mitchell.
  • Held quarterly discussions with my former MSCA supervisor, Professor Brian Bowe.
  • Attended a one-year review discussion with supervisor Nick Tyler.
  • Prepared and submitted a log of activities to be included in the mid-project report to the European Commission.

 

Open House Dublin: An architect’s delight

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 6.38.27 PMI have several blogs in my files that I’ve not yet shared. The info below is no longer “news” but it should be interesting and helpful to some, so I’m posting it for you today. Happy holidays!

The Irish Architecture Foundation (IAF) does an outstanding job organizing its annual Open House event. In 2018, they held it October 12–14. Open House spans three days and allows thousands of citizens to visit architectural wonders that are usually not accessible to the public. Over 170 tours and events were open to the public–all for free and most with architects, trained historians, or other experts as guides.

Although this happened six weeks ago, I’m posting it now since I like to have a record of what I’ve seen. I’ve attended five of these Open Houses, I believe, and you can find photos from other years by running a search for “Open House” on this site.

Despite the dreary rain on Saturday the IAF army of volunteers opened sites all across Dublin. Aongus and I benefitted, as lines were shorter. We took advantage of having Aongus’ car to stay dryer and see more sites than we could by foot. This means we visited more outlying areas than I’d originally planned. We normally walk or take Dublin Bikes.

On Sunday the sun came out, but not until after a cold wait for the opening of 14 Henrietta Street. The crowds were fierce on Sunday, and I even encountered a few grouchy folks with a sense of entitlement. I tried to cheerfully point out that the long wait times were due to the popularity and success of the event and that all the people organizing the events and running the sites were volunteering their time. That sense of entitlement is an ugly thing. Putting that aside, I really enjoyed myself and have provided photos of the seven sites I managed to visit.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.43.27 PMBelvedere House

The first site we went to was Belvedere House, which used ot house the boys’ school that was the rival of the one Aongus attended for secondary school. The tour was full, so we actually just saw the lobby in our initial visit, but we returned later and got the tour and more photos.

The House was constructed in 1786 at 6 Denmark St Great, Dublin 1. According to the Open House website, “The construction of what is now Belvedere College began under the 1st Earl of Belvedere, and was later finished and occupied by the 2nd Earl of Belvedere. Built to the designs of architect Robert West, it features the work of renowned stuccodore Michael Stapleton. After the 2nd Earl’s death in 1814, the townhouse was left unoccupied and fell into disrepair. The house was eventually procured by the Society of Jesus Religious Order in 1841 and has since been occupied as part of their educational facility. James Joyce, Austin Clarke, Harry Clarke, Joseph Plunkett, Donagh MacDonagh and Kevin Barry are amongst some of the great past alumni who roamed the corridors and were educated here. RKD Architects were appointed in 2014 by Belvedere College to restore the 18th Century house and one of the most powerful features of the house today is the stucco work in the hall and first floor reception rooms.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.43.43 PMCroke Park Villas

This is a social housing community with an iconic design that was replicated in many other parts of Dublin. As it is so stylized, it seems to many people to be outdated. This particular set of Villas is being torn down and new housing built. There was a photographic exhibition in one of the flats, documenting families who used to live here. A few of the flats still have residents, who await new homes in the construction underway nearby.

The complex was designed by Daithi P. Hanley and constructed in the 1960s at Sackville Avenue, Ballybough Road, Dublin 3. Open House’s website noted that “In 1956 Dublin Corporation approved a Compulsorily Purchase Order on a series of derelict and condemned cottages in Ballybough in order to construct modern single and duplex flats between Love Lane and Sackville Avenue. Named Croke Villas due to its proximity to the GAA HQ, Croke Park, it was the first stage of an extensive plan to regenerate the Ballybough/North Strand area much of which still bore the scars of the 1941 North Strand Bombings. At present the complex is undergoing renovation and three blocks have been demolished along with a number of derelict cottages on Sackville Avenue. This new development with provide a mix of houses and duplex apartments. The flats were designed by Daithi P. Hanley when he re-joined Dublin Corporation in 1956 as housing Architect. He designed a series of 4 and 5 storey blocks of Flats which used standardised components resulting in significant savings in construction costs and building maintenance of which Croke Villas was part. There were many others of these flats built across the city. Hanley also designed the Garden of Remembrance, Simmonscourt Pavilion, the memorial monument at the Customs House, the Basilica of Our Lady, Knock, among quite a number of interesting projects.As part of Open House 2018 number 45 Croke Villas will be open to the public and will have an exhibition of photographs taken prior to and during the demolition by photographic artist Jeanette Lowe. Number 45 Croke Villas is in the last remaining block of flats, due to be demolished early in 2019. The finished development with form a processional boulevard into the Croke Park Stadium.”

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This project was designed by de Siún Architects and constructed in 2018 at 25 Ash St., Merchants Quay, Dublin 8. Michael de Siún has shown his own home before, very near to this one, and it is an architectural gem. Such clever detailing to make small spaces feel spacious and appealing. I felt that a product Aongus and I had seen at the London Building Centre might be usefully applied to the project, and I forwarded information on it to the architectural design team by email.

The Open House website explains, “The refurbishment of no. 25 Ash St. introduces a double-height light well into a small 100 year old house. The previously tight rooms have been opened up to create a spacious continuous flow from entrance to rear garden. A feature staircase with strong vertical elements emphasizes the connection between the floors. A simple palette of oak, concrete, and brick unite the whole, culminating in an intricate brick façade to the rear of the building.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.44.52 PMWeaver Park

This city park was designed by Áit Urbanism + Landscape / DCC Parks & Landscape Services and constructed in 2017 on Cork St, in Dublin 8. Despite the rain, we found the park design to be fun and festive. There were even some kids besides Aongus out playing. We rounded off our day with dinner on Camden Street, at Damascus Gate.

According to the Open House website, “Weaver Park represents one of the primary objectives arising from Dublin City Council’s “The Liberties Greening Strategy”. This strategy identified a derelict site, formerly occupied by the Chamber Court Flats, which offered a significant opportunity for the provision of a landmark public amenity. In making the site available for redevelopment, Dublin City Council was responding to the campaigns of local community groups who had long seen the potential in this space. The brief given to Áit Urbanism + Landscape underlined the importance of a participative process that engaged with these local groups, so that the community’s requirements could be understood and delivered through an informed design. Weaver Park is therefore a distillation of the community’s aspirations with inclusivity at its core. The design delivers a hive of activity within a context that will be sylvanic and ecologically functional in time. The fulcrum of the park is a 40-year-old Quercus palustris; this beautiful Oak tree now provides an instant maturity and a new focal point on the Cork Street landscape. It is an icon for the greening of The Liberties.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.46.18 PM14 Henrietta Street

This building was a stately-home-turned-tenement. From housing one wealthy family at its prime, this home eventually held a hundred people at once. I shutter to imagine.

Watching “Call the Midwife” during my subsequent writing retreat gave me a glimpse into what such urban density would have looked like. It’s an excellent series that illustrates history as well as truest loving people. So seldom can I bear to watch television, and particularly Netflix, due to its grim and gritty culture. This show, however, is a true delight despite drawing tears.

Back to the house in Dublin, though, where you can see for yourself most any day by paying an admission fee. For Open House Sunday, entry was free but the tour abbreviated. And there was a line around the block when it opened Sunday morning!

It was originally built in the 1740s at 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin 1. The renovation that has just been opened was designed by Shaffrey Architects. This work converted the house into a museum that now showcases how the spaces would have looked both at the building’s prime and high and when it was packed to the gills. The house is in eyeshot of Linenhall, where my DIT staff office is located and I had a bird’s eye view of the renovations as they progressed. I kept a keen eye as the roof was repaired, a fire stair added, and the brick on rear of the house repointed.

The Open House website provides a detailed description: “Dating from the 1720s, Henrietta Street in Dublin’s North inner city is the most intact collection of early to mid-18th Century houses in Ireland. Built as a townhouse for the elite of Dublin, 14 Henrietta Street was split into tenements in the 1880s as the need for working class housing in Dublin grew, with some 100 people living there by 1911. It remained a tenement house until the last families left in the last 1970s. It’s been a 10-year project for Dublin City Council to rescue, stabilise, conserve and adapt 14 Henrietta Street. The house is the primary artefact of a new museum – the walls, floors, banisters, old gas pipes, fireplaces, and fragments of linoleum and wallpaper have many stories to tell. Shaffrey Architects planned and created new spaces to discretely integrate essential services and fire protection, using wireless technology to minimise loss of finishes and fabric. The tours will showcase the reception, selected rooms, basement and garden area to see the connections between the old and new. This year’s winner for the RIAI Award for Conservation / Restoration and Awarded The Special Jury Award.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.44.10 PMNew Garda (Police) Headquarters

Designed by the Irish Office of Public Works (OPW) and built in 2017, this build graces the Corner of Kevin St and Bride St, Dublin 8. This building is in the line-of-sight from Kevin Street DIT, where I frequently teach RoboSlam workshops and the RoboSumo design project, with Ted Burke and often Damon Berry and Frank Duignan. I was delighted that one of the architects who worked on this project delivered our tour. He was quite a young lad–leading me to feel a bit aged! (Like a fine wine? Perhaps….)

The Open House website explains, “The new Kevin Street Garda Divisional Headquarters was designed by the OPW. It is designed as a civic quality building responding to the specific site context of its historic surroundings. The building is energy efficient and sustainable with universal access for all. The building is arranged in linear blocks of accommodation either side of an atrium space. It reinstates the street line along Bride Street with a five-storey building opposite the seven-storey National Archive building. The five-storey curved block steps down in a series of steps to become two storey adjacent to the former medieval Archbishops Palace, thereby responding in scale to these important historic buildings. The important Kevin Street junction is acknowledged by expressing the central atrium space on that façade. The public entrance is located at this point. The atrium serves as the main vertical and horizontal circulation space within the building and provides for natural ventilation to all offices along with natural air extraction and allows daylight to penetrate into the building.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 5.42.54 PMThe Old Richmond Surgical Hospital

Just one block from my apartment in Dublin, this stately brick building gleams with love and civic pride. Originally designed by Carroll and Batchelor 1901 and built in 1901, The Richmond was refurbished in 2016 by Kavanagh Tuite. It is located near my own flat, at No. 1 North Brunswick St, Dublin 7. This was not my first tour of the building, but I learn new things each time.

The Open House website explains, “The Richmond Education & Event Centre was opened on the 20th April 2018, following an extensive refurbishment, following its purchase by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation in 2013. The building was originally opened on the 20th April 1901 as The Richmond Surgical Hospital and remained open as a hospital until 1987, when patients from The Richmond and Jervis Street were moved to Beaumont Hospital. It after became a business centre and then a Court House for a number of years, there are still 3 cells in the basement. This red brick english renaissance style building has three floors and is U-shaped overlooking a central courtyard and fountain. It is built on the site of benedictine convent dating back to 1688. The building has meeting rooms, offices, four large former wards (auditorium, lecture room, banqueting room, victorian tea room). The tour will include the ground floor, first floor (except offices) and part of the basement.”

smc

Learning London: A day of cream tea and BauBax testing

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Soho at Christmas–but it is lit this way year round!

Aongus and I aim to make the most of every free day we have in London. I’m back at Gatwick now, flying to a speaking engagement in Dublin, and reflecting on the past 24 hours.

After work yesterday (7PM Friday), we met in Covent Garden. First strolling aimlessly, for the purpose of exercise and air, we found ourselves in Soho when Aongus’ hunger pangs won out. We stopped in for Dim Sum at the Golden Phoenix restaurant on Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE, in the heart of China Town.

Aiming to try new things as often as possible, we thus enjoyed our first dinner on Gerrard Street. The custard-filled buns at the Golden Phoenix were particularly delicious; we will skip ordering a saucy dish next time and stick to the dumplings!

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Cream tea for two at Harrod’s

Today (Saturday morning) we awoke for a trip to Kensington via the London underground. I’d booked cream tea for two at Harrod’s. The store and its surrounding streets had a festive holiday feel.

After tea, we browsed and even made a small purchase (but not Italian luxury furniture, unfortunately!).

In our photos of furniture-testing, you’ll see Aongus trying out his new BauBax 2.0 travel jacket. In a recent Kick Starter campaign, I had ordered us matching bomber jackets. Today we donned these early Christmas presents, and Aongus is delighted with his. I’m an architect and I am quite detail-oriented, so although I’m happy with several of the innovative features, I am not entirely satisfied with the overall product–at least not in the medium size for women.

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Harrods interior stair. The building is a-maze-ing.

It seems to me they tested the BauBax 2.0 design on the large size for men. Several of the features promised–most notably the interior iPad pocket–are too small in the version for ladies. My iPad is a few millimeters too long to fit, and they now say the ladies version will only fit an “iPad mini” which I have not found to be a useful tool. Nevertheless, there’s still a pocket for the iPad pencil. Not too useful if you can’t bring your iPad! It’s important to have pockets when Ryanair won’t allow baggage aboard without add-on fees. I like to travel with as few bags as possible!

So, while the garment does have several nice design features, the final product appears to have been rushed out of the factory. Many of the seams and details in mine are of poor quality. I’ll need to bring it to a tailor to remedy its shortfalls, and I’ll not buy clothing online again.

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Giving an Italian recliner and a BauBax 2.0 bomber jacket a test run

I guess it boils down to the fact that when it comes to buying cars, computers, and clothes, I’m not an Innovator according to Rodger’s Adoption model–those folks bought the BauBax 1.0 on Kickstarter. I’m also not completely comfortable as an Early Adopter, as I’ve ended up with second-iteration products that still needed some refinement–including this BauBax 2.0 and a 2004 Nissan 350Z.

I really loved my Z car but it, and its 2003 and 2004 siblings, came out of the factory without its tires balanced! They didn’t realize that tire-balancing issue until they’d rolled 14 months or so of these two-seat sports cars out of showrooms. Tires started failing at 16k miles and had to be replaced. So now I know definitively–I need to wait for v3.0. Just be an Early Innovator and enjoy the benefits of having a refined design rather than a cutting-edge showpiece.

I am, however, very happy with the smile on Aongus’ face and the fact that he says the shape of the jacket is flattering. Fortunately, with time and use, I’m beginning to identify which pockets can fit which items–which doesn’t exactly align with the BauBax info sheets that we studied meticulously–but I’m finding systems that work for me.

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Comptior on Exhibition Rd

So as you see from Aongus’ reclined testing position at Harrod’s furniture showrooms, we rested a bit on some cozy chairs, identifying ideal options for our future. After discussing chair designs with a furniture rep, we viewed some women’s fashions. We enjoy seeing the bizarre clothing designs on offer here and at Harvey Nichols, but we quickly had our fill and headed out and down to the street.

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Enjoying a chicken tagine

Following a zesty Lebanese tagine at Comptior on Exhibition Road–a cafe we had previously enjoyed with my cousin Kaitlin–we headed over to the Victoria and Albert Museum to absorb some art and history. We particularly enjoyed the stained glass and the new section for photography. You’ll see photos of the building and also from the Buddist, metalwork, and photography sections.

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Cameras on exhibit in the V&A’s new photography section

The sun had set and there wasn’t much time before my flight to Dublin, so we dashed to the South Kensington tube station and jumped onto a District line train.

We said a quick but heartfelt “goodbye and see you Friday” as I disembarked at Victoria Station and climbed the stairs to the National Rail station on the ground floor. Despite construction works around Gatwick that delayed the train 15 minutes, I arrived and cleared security with plenty of time for a browse at Dixon’s and a healthy salad from Pret before I hit the runway–putting my travel jacket to work.

Ciao, Britain. See your other side on Tuesday!

Meeting my bosses at London DIT Alumni’s annual chapter gathering

Maintaining professional connections is important, and although I’m on a Marie Curie fellowship in London, I still meet frequently with leaders from my home institution, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Last night I met with Dr. Avril Behan (my direct line manager at DIT) in London, our recently-retired boss Professor Kevin Kelly, and DIT’s president Professor Brian Norton.

The London DIT Alumni chapter hosted a brilliant get-together, an annual event, at London’s Irish Center. This gave me a chance to meet DIT alumni working in London and also catch up with Avril, Kevin, Brian, and other DIT staff like Ciara Ahern.

I also had the pleasure of meeting anew many DIT graduates: MBA Tania Eyanga, Architecture Technologist John Heaney, daylighting designer Dr. Ruth Kelly Waskett, and engineers Paul Sheridan and Stephen Sunderland who work with WSP.

I’ve attached photos of the event as well as a few pics from Professor Kevin Kelly’s retirement party, held at DIT a couple of weeks ago.

At last night’s gathering, Professor Brian Norton provided updates on DIT’s new campus at Grangegoreman, and delivered the exciting news that a pedestrian route connecting Grangegoreman with DIT Bolton Street has just opened. The walk now takes just seven minutes and cuts through Kings Inn Law building, a truly stroll walk up Henrietta Street to Constitution Hill. Can’t wait to use this route! It will cut about 15 minutes off the current walking time between the two DIT sites.

Meeting Grafton Architects: Irish Ladies Leading the Way!

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Shannon Chance with Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Dublin-based Grafton Architects.

I finally got to meet Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, founders of Grafton Architects and designers of my home here in Dublin.

You may recall blogs I posted in October 2012 titled Hats off to Grafton Architects, a post about sun angles in winter, and a video clip I made shortly after moving into “my Dublin Castle.” I have attached my apartment tour which is quite goofy. In it, explained features unique to Ireland and the EU, but I called the water tank “electric storage.” That’s factually true, but here they use the term just for the wall heaters that heat bricks in the night, when electricity costs less, and radiate that heat our during the day.

I learned more about electric storage heat from my maintenance guy, Keith Brown. I posted a blog where he showed me how they work. I sure do miss Keith as he was able to fix anything, usually the way my grandpa would have! Pa grew up during the Great Depression and was quite thrifty! Keith, on the other hand, moved to Spain.

I, on the other hand, am not moving to Spain any time soon. But this flat is plenty warm and sunny.

I love every minute in this place, perched high in the Smithfield Lofts that Yvonne and Shelley designed back in 2006. Last night, I got to tell them how much I enjoy living here.

Grafton Architects

Covers from “Totally Dublin”

I had braved the lashing rain, trotting across town to pick up new specs at Ace and Tate and then over to Fumbally for an event produced by the magazine Totally Dublin, which ran a feature on them in January 2018 that I still have on my coffee table.

The talks weren’t starting on time. Or rather, Irish evening-time tends to run quite behind what the clock face shows. This event ran 8-10 PM, rather than the 7-8:30 PM published. In any case, I had time to grab a slice of cake and get psyched up to hear these amazing architects talk.

In the interim, I decided to hop across the room to tell Yvonne and Shelley that I’m a big fan and I love my home.

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A Dickens Christmas in cozy Smithfield

I showed them the photo I took last week from my balcony, which I’d posted in an earlier blog.

They seemed delighted to hear their building was loved, as that construction process was rough, with the developer cutting corners and ultimately going out of business when the economy crashed. I’d been told that unfortunate story by my colleagues when I moved in and was glad to help these architects reconnect with their creation. Incidentally, any criticisms I’ve ever had of this building are due to poor workmanship and Ireland’s very strange fire codes.

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Shelley McNamara sharing insights

These architects are now world-famous. They curated the Venice Biennale this year, bringing Irish architecture and Irish design to the fore of the world stage. They dedicated the 2018 Biennale to “Freespace,” which I might describe as third-space, public space where everyone is welcome and treated with equal dignity and respect.

Last night, Shelley and Yvonne discussed their role in the Biennale and working together since they first met in architecture school at UCD where they graduated in 1974. Imagine, they entered in a class that was gender balanced at the end of the 1960s!

Consider that the year Shelley and Yvonne entered architecture school, women were not allowed to study this subject in many universities in the USA, including the University of Virginia (a place Yvonne and Shelley mentioned to me last night). UVA began admitting women in the year 1970. The institution had admitted a few women before this date because they had a medical school that needed nurses; my mom earned a Bachelors in Nursing there at UVA in the mid-60s.

What a revelation, to learn there was gender balance in architecture admissions here in Ireland at the same time there were 0% women and 100% men in architecture at UVA!

Yvonne and Shelley said they’d never experienced gender discrimination in their lifetimes as architects, designing buildings in Ireland, Peru, Italy, Spain, France…. That was quite inspiring to hear!

Yesterday evening also featured discussions with the photographer and artistic director of the magazine’s October cover piece on “The Bumbles” and discussion and performance by busker NC Lawlor, an Irish man reared in Manchester and now living and performing in many types of venues in Dublin. You’ll have to find him busking on Grafton Street if you want to hear him first hand!

Below are photos of the evening, along with pics I’ve snapped over time of my cozy flat.

Basking Joyfully in Southern France

I’m currently on a writing retreat, working from Dublin and doubling down on my extensive to-write list. I worked straight through two weekends here because my flat here is so peaceful and sunny. Now, I’m taking a day off for good behavior and pausing to post photos.

Here’s a glimpse of two sunny weeks Aongus and I spent in the South of France this past September. Ours was an outdoor adventure full of cycling, river rafting, kayaking, hiking, and swimming. We thoroughly enjoyed the dramatic coastline, the historic coastal cities and remote hill towns, the Gorges du Verdon, and the Cliniques near Cassis.

I’m sharing these pics to give inspiration for your next travel adventure–and ours, too!

Antibes

Saint-Paul de Vence

Castellane

Rougon and La Palud-sur-Verdon

Moustier St. Marie

Roussillon

Le Pont Julien

Bonnieux

Lourmarin

Aix-en-Provence

Cassis

La Cadière-d’Azur

Le Castellet

Sanary-sur-Mer

Hyères

Porquerolles

St. Tropez

La Croix-Valmer & Ramatuelle

Nice

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Vieux Nice, Mèdecin, and the Port of Nice