I had a fantastic conversation with Sarah Dale, author of Bolder and Wiser, (which as an aside, you should definitely read because it’s inspiring) a couple of weeks ago about the importance of making knowledge accessible. Knowledge is power, but if that power can’t be passed on and used to empower others, then it ceases to have all of its, well, power for me.
I had vaguely heard of a scheme in Nottingham called PubhD, where speakers studying for a PhD are invited to talk about their research in an informal setting, to people who are not experts in the subjects. It’s a recent scheme, which started in January 2014, and I really think they’re onto something. In fact, their site proclaims that the idea has already spread to Lincoln and Glasgow, so who knows, there could be a PubhD in every city soon?
The thing for me, though, is that the people who go around talking in jargon, making things deliberately obtuse and basically being incredibly irritating are shortsighted: their knowledge will die with them. It’s not only about being an appalling teacher, because most of us won’t be teachers, but it’s about making yourself a very boring person too. For me, there’s something infinitely more exciting about the fact that I could inspire someone else with a nugget of information. We are all amateurs at a lot of things, and we may be experts at one or more if we’re lucky, but isn’t there something quite exhilarating about telling someone a little bit about something you studied, or even saw on TV, and seeing their eyes light up as they tell you that’s amazing or interesting?
When I’m next in Nottingham, as I’m off for Easter at the moment, I’d love to go along to a PubhD event – in the meantime, I’ll be taking a little bit of their ethos and applying it to my everyday life. Maybe you can too.