Recently, someone asked me this question, and I realised that there were more to the obvious reasons why I blog. In fact, a longer post today, compared to my usual keeping it short and simple to three-four points.
1 I have found (A) penning down the little voice in my head, especially frustrations really helps keep me grounded. But most importantly my blog posts help me (B) reflect on how to improve my practice. Since I work a lot around tackling discrimination, writing down is a sanity check since most people I meet do not fully understand EDI and its challenges.
2 Surprisingly, I write for visibility too , especially for when applying for jobs, further accreditation, and so on. Although my dark skin is visible when I enter a room, the hueness is not visible on paper – it is not obvious to panels that I have had to work several times more for the same qualification or opportunities careers-wise. I have found that in my applications I have had to add several links to be able to catch attention. But this also makes me vulnerable to racism since HR does not necessarily anonymise the whole application.
3 I also blog to showcase CPD undertaken from my own pocket. . The blog allows me to write about my experience and reflection. In some way blow my own trumpet, if not who else will do it?
4 I have been approached by various people who have found my blogs a breath of fresh air for them, some have told me they see me as a role model, and some ask for mentoring or advice. In the last 17 years I have always been mentoring a mix of students, early career researchers, and even line managers in professional services too. Last week I had 2 mentoring meetings, 1 with a student and 1 with someone putting together their startup. It is difficult to remember to share every small experience, point of failure, etc, so I share my blog with them for further reference. And it saves me time because all these are on a voluntary basis. I have recently created a space on my blog for my increase visibility of my mentees, we draw a plan together of what topic they can write on and I plan to then publish those blogs on this space here. This saves my mentees time and effort to create a blog if they are not comfortable with blogging platforms, although I do encourage them to have their own space too.
5 I also blog for reverse mentoring. I have made it a practice to document issues that I face within HE, which I share with my own mentor for advice and guidance. This aligns with point 1 above, where I have to run a sanity check with my various mentors and mentees to ensure that I am not over-exaggerating EDI cases and check with them that whether what I am seeing as an issue is actually an issue or a misinterpretation from my end. I really like this type of documentation as it helps me review the progress of certain situations.
6 I am also doing a video series, I opted for the video series and not podcast because I wanted to showcase genuine facial reactions on EDI topics. Some people have reached out to thank me for the series as well, and I also encourage participants to use it for themselves too. It is a way of amplifying the participants as well. Personally, it is also a way for me to walk my talk, I have been committed to taking captioning seriously, although this takes time, it is a way of improving my practice and reinforcing my empathy level. I have a post on the actual series too (https://tinyurl.com/59x7u7t2). . I complete these videos with blog articles with additional information and with my own take on some of the topic. Writing about my committment creates accountability since that post is public and anyone can publicly challenge me.
7 It is my personal space. In particular, since I am not tied up with any specific institution, I can use my freedom of speech as much as I want without having any HR on my back. If readers think they are targetted by a particular post, it is their interpretation of what they are reading and has nothing to do with me writing about my feelings and my reflections. It is my safe space for writing, as long as I keep within the legal framework.
8 It is a space to showcase my personal projects and in some way a portfolio since I have been in various roles and institutions and have at all times done beyond expectations 😊