Last week I was invited to give one of the keynotes at the DigiDeath: Public archaeologies of digital mortality conference hosted by the students of the Archaeology department of the University of Chester. And as an aside for learning & teaching folks, the student-run conference forms part of their module assessment. Anyway, I was delighted to have been asked to contribute alongside a host of leading experts. I’d recently written a chapter with Dr Dave Errickson on the depiction of the dead in social media…Continue Reading “#DigiDeath: Should we be Socially Distancing from the Dead?”

As we all know by now, when it comes to academia, I’m pretty chill. I’m both easy and breezy, and I am hardly vengeful at all. So it takes a lot to make me sit down and type furiously at this keyboard brimming as I am with righteous indignation. Although the fact that an earlier post was exactly that does kinda undermine my argument… Anyway,  a couple of times recently, I’ve been presented with the same frustrating argument that I’ve heard countless times before. And…Continue Reading “That’s my secret, I’m always angry…”

Look. I don’t want to do this. You don’t want me to do this. But we have no choice. It’s the New Year, and as such I am compelled to write some sort of ‘year in review’ type reflective piece. Especially since the year in question is 2020 and has been so, well, you know… So let’s just get on with it, shall we? This was my second full year in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine hot-seat. I started as Editor-in-Chief in Jan…Continue Reading “Oh no – not another year in review piece…”

While I was having a bit of a digital clear-out before the Christmas break, I stumbled across this piece which I had written back in 2017. To be honest, I’d totally forgotten that I had written this and I thought it’d be interesting to revisit it in light of the developments that have occurred during the three years that have followed, and in particular with regard to the sudden embrace of digital tools that the pandemic has forced upon the sector. It was written for…Continue Reading “Developing and disseminating digital tools – 3 years on…”

As you know, I am not one for willingly turning down an opportunity to talk in front of an audience, so I was delighted to be asked to give a talk as part of the series of guest lectures run by the Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science India. I was following some great talks over the past few months, including Jason Payne James talking about the role of the forensic physician and Patrick Randolph-Quinney discussing issues in taphonomy. My presentation focused on the effect of…Continue Reading “A meme-orial to my career…”

One day, I will learn not to post a glib tweet about a TV show right before bed. But that day will not be anytime soon as we all know that I like the attention… When it comes to forensic science on TV shows, I’m usually pretty zen*. Like a leaf in the wind. I know that some artistic licence is needed because this is entertainment, and much forensic analysis is visually rather boring. And slow. I’ve even advised TV shows myself so that they…Continue Reading ““Do not touch the charred crotch””

So, I’m a terrible person. Hilarious, but terrible. I was in the kitchen last week and saw the remnants of my youngest’s birthday cake (made by the uber-talented Becky Gowland) and I couldn’t help but notice how it looked a bit like a slice through bone. Obviously my next thought was to take a picture and put it on Twitter to see if I could trick everyone and thus make myself feel smarter than the masses. And then it took off a bit too much…Continue Reading “This is the way – Baby Yoda and the power of the Force (on decision-making)”

We’ve pivoted. We’ve shifted. We’ve migrated. Take your pick – but whichever one you go for, university academic staff have moved our face-to-face teaching online to allow us to support our students during our various COVID lock-downs. But now a number of friends and colleagues who work at other universities have been told to start thinking about increasing the online delivery of degree courses. And they’ve got the summer to do it all in! Now when I was Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) in SSED…Continue Reading “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…”

Just because it’s sunny here, doesn’t mean that I’m not working hard! At the start of this year’s AAFS, I attended a day-long workshop called High-Impact Practices in Forensic Science Education. It was Chaired by Gina Londino-Smolar and Dr Karen S. Scott and was supported by the Council of Forensic Science Educators.  The main aim was for attendees to: “learn how high-impact practices can be used in forensic science education and discover how to adapt their courses using common programing for students by: (1) identifying…Continue Reading “What are High-Impact teaching practices?”

When my twelve year old called me a nerd recently, I pointed out that ‘nerd’ pays the bills. And then pointed out that he was an even bigger nerd than I was. And then we laughed, high-fived and went to do our respective homework because that’s how we roll. Clearly, he’s not wrong. And gaming is where he usually points this out to me. The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, the fact that Warhammer is now worth over £1 billion, and that tabletop gaming generally…Continue Reading “Choose your own adventures…”