Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Thinking of 2010

Three months of paternity leave have gone by, Lucas and me have been to Holland for a week, and I decided to try to see these coming months as some sort of holiday. I will need to relax, because 2010 is already promissing to become a hectic year!

Planning for the courses that I'm lecturing on has started. Together with PS, I will be lecturing on a course about mobility and population geography. Last year's lecturing about Economic Geography will not be prolonged, but the work I did for the so-called B-thesis will. This means that I will be busy during the second half of the Spring Term (April and May 2010, with preparing in March and reporting in June), as well as some ten weeks at the end of the year.

Besides that, I had planned to write papers for 2 courses (the one about Cultural Heritage in Bergslagen and the one about Geographical classic texts). Of course, the article still has to be finished, and I have many ideas how to do this. It's just that I realise it will take a lot of time. Therefore, I cancelled my own plans about the trip to the congress in Washington in April. You can't always get what you want! On the other hand, I still would like to visit the Emigration Fair in Houten (NL) on 13 & 14 February 2010.

I had planned not to participate in any Doctoral courses during Spring 2010, as I have enough to do anyway. But what happens? Yes, a course that seems to be made for me is scheduled for January - April 2010. It's a course about "Mobility in Time and Space", organised by the Universities of Gothenburg, Umeå and Tartu (Estonia). Three sessions are planned, three days at each University. This means a lot of travelling, reading and writing. However, it would fit well with the course that I'll be lecturing on just a few weeks later. How to combine this all with family-life and hobbies?

Well, that's a puzzle I have to lay in the coming weeks....

Monday, 12 October 2009

Work never really stops

After 2 months of paternity leave, I finally feel like the pace of life is slowing down. It has been a lot of fixing in and around the new house and travelling to and from friends and relatives. And work kept me busier than I thought.

First of all, I'm still working on the first article, be it with some more distance to the text. On 10 September, Mats, Dieter and me had a meeting. Some comments on the text have come by mail from friends in the Netherlands and a few days ago, Mats and me had a meeting in order to summarise all that should be done before we can send the article to a journal. It feels like there are a lot of smaller things, such as numbers and figures that should be double checked and some diagrams altered. Well, this is gonna take some time during autumn, and then I'll work with it full speed after my return on the workfloor in January.

The editorial work with the reader about images of Bergslagen is showing some nice results. With the help of the editors, my chapter starts to take real shape and the reader should be published within a few months' time. That would mean my first academic publication, and it's even in Swedish!

Other things are the financial side of paternity leave, which is quite difficult to arrange when you have as an administrator earning real wage prior to your PhD studies, and now have an income made up of 86% scholarship and 14% wage. It took a half a year, but even that seems to be okay now, and I will soon be able to pay C. my half of the table that we bought for our house.

Planning for next year, I haev filled in a form with my wishes for lecturing. If all goes as planned, I will be lecturing approximately 200 hours in 2010, on courses in "Population Geography", "Culture, Tourism and Regional Development", "Geographical Area Studies" and other courses.

Last but not least, we are celebrating 2 new Doctors of Philosophy in our discipline; Max and Moa! This means an official defence, followed by a dinner and party on which we created the tradition of singing a song composed by us, accompanied by some Geographers playing the guitar. Often hilarious, not so much beacuase of the text, but rather due to our (mediocre)performance :)

And then of course, to gether with C. I'm still taking care of Lucas and our new house. A journey to the Netherlands is also planned for the end of the month. Purpose: visiting an emigration fair in Bunnik!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Paternity leave

As we start seeing the end of summer here in Örebro, it is time for a resume of the past months. Before the summerbreak, I've been working a lot with "other things" such as the PhD Section, Lecturing and writing a chapter for the Anthology/Reader "Fram träder Bergslagen" (Bergslagen Emerges). This was all fun and worthwile, but together with moving houses, my 'real' work was somewhat neglected. Around the 14th of July, I finished a first manuscript for the article that I had been preparing from the coruse in Norrköping onwards. After comments on the congresses in Örebro and Turku, it is now quite close to a "Publishable" version I would say.

On a few weeks time, I will meet my two supervisors Mats and Dieter in order to see what should be changed in the article before we can try to submit it to an academic journal.

Now, as I am on paternity leave until mid-January, and C. works full time, I have to take care of Lucas, who just awoke from his mid-day sleep. More about the paternity leave later and perhaps also elsewhere in cyberspace.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Getting serious

So, now that the last exams are graded for this course I was lecturing and Peter and me gave our lecture on Geographical Area Studies, I can seriously concentrate on my first article. It will hopefully be finished by the start of the summer, and I have received some good comments by my second supervisor from Umeå; Dieter Müller. An 8,000 words paper cannot be too broad so the aim and questions need to be specified to quite a large extent. This first article will be about characterising the Dutch that migrate to the Swedish countryside and I will travel to the Netherlands in order to find som more statistics and conduct some telephone-interviews.

The article will be quite quantitative and it will introduce the phenomenon from a more national perspective. It will discuss why I choose to study the Dutch, why they are recruited and why now. Quite simple questions, but the answers may be quite complicated. We'll see! At least, I can thank a good friend of mine for reviewing the first version of the manuscript :)

Now, I'm off to the spring-sun, my "caught a cold"-son and some sports before the weekend starts!
Cheersio, /Meimer

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Article 1 - the orange wave

Good news about the course in Norrköping - I passed! Yeah, the course leaders sent me an e-mail yesterday and I couldn't have a better start of the weekend. They praised my work and encouraged me to try to publish the course-paper in a journal.

This is exactly what I'm trying to do. The work with my first real scientific article has started. Inspired by concepts as transnational entrepreneurship, regional growth and literature about why Dutch migrants leave the Netherlands, I have written a text. This text was commented on during a conference in Örebro. I will revise it soon and send it to Dieter Müller, my second supervisor from Umeå. He will visit us in Örebro at the end of March and comment on my paper. His comments are of course valuable and I will revise the paper again and try to submit and present it at the Nordic Geographers Meet in Finland at the beginning of June. Who knows, after this, I might be able to send it to a scientific journal such as Population, Space and Place or Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. In the meantime, I need some more statistics and references to relevant literature.

Also in the meantime, I am and will be lecturing in various courses. Economic Geography, the same course as last semester; a course on how to write a thesis; and a guestlecture in a course about social work. This last lecture is a good challenge to me, as I will try to combine some interesting knowledge about migration studies with Area-studies and my own study.

Also, it is interesting to follow the current developments in the migrant recruitment industry. A close familymember to me has visited the Emigration Fair in March 2009 in Utrecht and sent me some interesting information and a good report about this. Placement will organise a fair in April and Region Dalarna is of course continuing their recruitment.

It is really exciting to try to combine this information into a good article just around the time of celebrating my 30th birthday, as well as raising our son and preparing for moving houses!

Thursday, 5 February 2009


Monday 19 January was not a usual Monday.

Caroline, Lucas and me were driving the car to Norrköping, because I was going to take a course there. We also had my mum in the car, who had visited us for some days and who would now take the coach from Norrköping to Skavsta Airport that same day. The weather Gods were not with us, as we had heavy snow. Road 51 between Örebro and Norrköping is not exactly a highway and most of the time wewere stuck behind a truck. Due to the bad weather and road conditions we weren't driving faster than 40 km/h instead of the allowed 90. Very frustrating, since I didn't want to start the course by missing the first lecture, and my mum didn't want to end her visit by missing the coach to the airport.

However, after 2 hours we arrived in Norrköping, about 110 km from Örebro. I was lucky to find the campus quite soon and I only missed some minutes of the inaugural lecture. My mum notified me some minutes later that se made it to the bus. Everything alright, and Caroline and Lucas could take it easy on their way back to Örebro. I think they even took a rest in Katrineholm.

The campus in Norrköping is wonderful! In the middle of this town, situated in some old buildings that once were the blooming centre of the textile industry, are now some faculties of Linköping University's Campus Norrköping. One of the buildings at the entrance is now the Louis de Geer theatre, marking the importance of this Dutch entrepreneur that initiated some of the industries in Norrköping in the 18th Century. For entering the campus you have to walk through a small tower, or campanille, which reminded me of Trinity College Dublin. The Motala Ström meanders through the area and waterfalls cascade beside bridges and pathways. Pleasant surroundings!

The course is called Theories and Politics of International Migration. It is part of the Graduate School in REMESO (Institute for on Research Migration, Ethnicity and Society) and lasted from Monday to Friday. Accomodation was taken care of by the course administrator. We were about 20 students from all over Europe, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Scotland, Lithuania and Spain. Some of us had a more difficult story, such as the girl from Spain who actually was from Mexico, a guy from Bosnia that had been living in Sweden for many years, the girsl from Scotland who's parents are Czech but who lived most of their life in Denmark, and me, a Dutch guy from Sweden (or the other way around). It was like an Erasmus Exchange and we never had a dull moment. Either we were in class, some days 11 hours of lectures and seminars, or we hung out in one of the town's bars and restaurants. We also met in the hotel/youthhostel where we stayed. You can imagine that I was completely exhausted when I sat in the coach back home on Friday afternoon!

What was the course about? Yeah, well, there were 5 themes. The first day, Professor Russell King (University of Sussex) lectured about the state of the art in International Migration Research. Very interesting lectures, especially from a Human Geography point of view. He told about the somewhat artificial divide between internal and international migration and about a new map of migration in Europe. Here is where my study fits best; lifestyle migration. The second day, Political scientist Peo Hanssen - one of the initiators of the course - told us about the European Integration of Migration. Also an interesting subject, especially since I am interest in the EU and it's "internal migration". Day three started with an extra lecture by Russell King on his newest work about Albania. Very inspiring for my forthcoming article! Later that day, Branka Likić spoke about Irregular Migration, Changing Labour Markets and Perspectives on Global Governance. Interesting, but not directly related to my research interests. Migrant Experiences of Integration and Discrimination was the subject of the next-last day. Stefan Jonsson, a critic writing about social and cultural phenomena for the Swedish Newspaper DN, showed us the movie "La raison du plus fort". Together, we took the role of philosophers and talked bout different experiences of migrating to a completely different society. Most focus was put on the politics of the veil in France and difficulties between Muslim and other ethnic groups in Europe. The course was concluded by a panel discussion on Friday. Theme for the discussion was Migration and Development and here guest lecturer Charles Woolfsson from Glasgow University but living in Lithuania painted a picture about Lithuanian membership in the EU and the role of migration and development for this Baltic state. You can imagine it took me some days to sort all the information I got, it was a very intensive week!

But now, I should start writing the paper for the course, if I want to receive my 7.5 ECTS credits! Cheerio!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Happy 2009!

Almost one week of 2009 has passed and Sweden is getting ready for a new year of work and relaxation. Hopefully, you had some good Christmas Holidays. We spent it in the North of Sweden, enjoying the winterweather and lacking internet access.

For now, I started slowly with some hours of work yesterday evening. Today, an official holiday in Sweden (Three Kings, 13 days after Christmas, aka Epiphany), I worked some hours. Many things have to be done again, starting with the essay I have to write for the course in GeoClassics. I aim at investigating the concepts of livsform (introduced by Höjrup in 1983), and linking it to Livestyle migration. Also, I am thinking of exploring some classics in Migration research; Ravenstein, Zipf, Hägerstrand and the like. In doing so, I should get a better understanding of the eras in Human Geography, from the 1880s to the end opf the 20th Century, with the Humanist era getting most attention.

This essay will probably also serve as a good starter for an intensive week in Norrköping, starting 19 January. At the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), I will attend a course called Theories and Politics of International Migration. A lot of reading needs to be done, but fortunately, most of this is sent to us in pdf format by e-mail. It seems to be a well-organised course, as accomodation is booked for us, and we can receive a student grant to cover the travel costs.

After this course, for which a paper is compulsory, I will have to focus on 2 scientific articles, a congress in Örebro in March (Sustainable Cities and Regions) and of course lecturing. Besides this, I will attend courses about Interview Methods and Cultural Heritage in the Bergslagen Area.

A lot of work, but from Midsommar onwards, I will be on paternity leave to spend half a year at home with my son!

have a happy 2009,
/Meimer (see also my Dutch blog @ volkskrantreizen)