Who is Dr Laura Mitchell?
I am the author of this blog! I currently work at Keele University as a lecturer in Management following completion of my PhD at Lancaster University in 2011. I am interested in the study of organisations, employment and leisure. In particular my work focuses on the sociological or performed aspects of value and worth and on moral conflict in everyday business activity. If you want to follow my academic work, you can find my pages by clicking these links to Researchgate or academia.edu
What is this blog about?
Generally, this blog features my musings and thoughts on a variety of topics which may or may not be part of my ongoing attempts to develop my research ideas. Initially, this blog was used to discuss my ongoing thoughts on live-action roleplay, drawing on my own experiences of it as a participant and as a researcher during my PhD. In October 2013 after a long period without writing about LARP, I decided to combine my blogging efforts from other areas and widen the scope of this blog in order to address some of the gaps that otherwise appear.
My PhD focussed on dignity and organisation, and my ongoing interests in research often concern the everyday reality of organisation, whether that is within the traditional structures of employment, volunteering or just the pursuit of a (not always clear) goal with others through effortful activity. I am interested in how conflicting moral beliefs and ideas manifest in everyday practical interactions and in how individuals account for those actions to different groups. I draw on the work of Erving Goffman as well as numerous other critical scholars in the disciplines of management and sociology.
Some of the articles shared here are linked from my blogging efforts to identify the relevance of particular advanced topics in management theory to contemporary problems and events for undergraduate students. These articles are tagged Contemporary Issues.
Where articles discuss teaching, these reflect the everyday messiness of dealing with lecture and tutorial groups set within a broader system of education which seems to be continually in crisis about its fundamental aims. These musings should not be considered a commentary on specific practices at particular universities, but hopefully highlight some of the questions that bother me about higher education in general. These articles are tagged HE and Teaching.
Where articles concern LARP, I have attempted to write it with both strangers to the hobby and long-time LARPers in mind. In the past I have used the blog to keep track of my ideas and experiences as a research diary, though not all of these posts are made public. Academically, this is focussed on LARP as a subject of sociological interest and as a type of social performance, and I have been a LARPer since 2001. I am interested in many different genres of LARP, including fantasy, contemporary, mystical horror and zombie horror, as well as science fiction events. In the UK generally fantasy events are run at a festival scale, so my interests cross multiple different sizes and type of event. I have run my own events and I sometimes assist as crew at a variety of different systems in the UK. I am also a member of the non-profit production company Reality Checkpoint LRP. Articles engaging with these topics and themes are tagged LARP.