The TrowelBlazers project is 18 months old now- although “project” suggests foresight, which isn’t really how we started. We did do a lot of planning in the weeks leading up to our launch in May 2013, but the idea of starting a blog celebrating women in geology, palaeontology and archaeology was an organic one, born out of social media (specifically, Twitter) conversations. If someone had suggested we become involved in a project run collectively by four young researchers, spread across 3 time zones, learning as we went, we might have been apprehensive. Luckily no-one suggested we be sensible, and so we threw ourselves into creating TB – which has since evolved into something much more than we ever imagined.
While running something like TrowelBlazers alongside our “real” academic jobs can be challenging, co-operative team work and decision-making is one of the best things about being on Team TB – and it echoes rather nicely the fundamental importance of networks and collaboration that we repeatedly uncover in the careers and lives of women we feature (and which we wrote about in this book!). So it was rather exciting that a couple of weeks ago, two of us who had hitherto only interacted digitally (Tori and Becky) actually managed to meet up In Real Life, after so many months of working together. Fortuitously an event was happening in London that we were both attending (the launch of Sigma, a new popular science imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing), and we managed to meet up at the Natural History Museum, where Tori works (happily, Brenna is also based there, doing toothy things rather than dwarf mammothy things). So finally, 50% of the team met for the first time (with another quarter present!)- and in good social media ‘tweetup’ style, there were hugs all round. The Littlest TrowelBlazer was also over from France with Becky, and could therefore ‘say thanks’ for her TB-themed baby-grow (which may have featured in a few of our conference presentations…).
Sadly, Suzie was busy in her Shiny New Lab as a newly installed Assistant Professor at University of Georgia, and not able to make it. She was however with us in spirit (and is represented in the photo by the venerable Mary Anning!).
We are hoping in the not too distant future to get all four of us in a room for the first time – can the world handle the collective energy from a 100% Team TrowelBlazers rendezvous? Only one way to find out!