After spending every single working hour with each other in the first five weeks (I’m not complaining; after all, we managed to create a “pictionary” session out of publication titles- that’s the epitome of team bonding and productivity), the self-imposed isolation of the recent two weeks meant only catching a glimpse of each other’s dazed faces at team meetings, or during the sporadic half-hour of project planning. Otherwise, with the range of our project topics and reliance on different tools, it is a fairly solitary undertaking. Also, the materials that we are working with demand that we physically be in certain places, whether that be in the Archives Reading Room or the Higgins Room.
Despite this physical constraint, we keep morale up by sharing the occasional high-fives and smiles when we see each other in passing. On days when we happen to do research together in one room, the quiet is often punctuated by excited bursts of commentary on all sorts of interesting finds, even if not necessarily relevant to the project at hand. I find that this adventurous spirit – refusing for our topics to become blinders, even at this stage where the days until the final presentation are indifferently ticking away – stimulating and encouraging. For me, it is comforting to hear how others’ projects are going, the headway they made, the unexpected obstacles and the lingering confusion. Although I cannot contribute in terms of resolving their problems, it is a vicarious and almost cathartic.
It will be a relief to reconvene later in the week in order to figure out the information architecture for our website and put together the final product. The hair-wringing process of research would transform from abstract to concrete, ready for presentation (or so we hope).
As for my own project, it’s been dizzying. But at least there’s movement, right? If this intrigues, check back in a week and see what kind of creature hatches.