The Watkins Retreat

26 Aug 2014

Posted by naomi

In late August, the two project Co-Directors left the city and the distractions of day-to-day life to really focus on the project's needs and next steps. Before the semester started, we wanted to address such issues as clarifying our transcription policy (again!) and proofreading procedures. It turns out we agree on some of the things we were concerned were problematic (like when is a comma a comma?), and did not agree on some of the things we both thought were obvious (when is an add an add?). Ironing out these details was a big part of the retreat and will prove invaluable as the second round of proofreading draws near.

Now we have completed the transcribing of the diary, it seems the more taxing work is just beginning. We've had a strong start to the project with funding and support from our institutions, but keeping the momentum going is not easy. As our current grant ends and the second round of proofreading looms large, we have to look ahead to the final products and the path to them. With such a talented and enthusiastic team working on the diary, we need to be sure we draw on everyone's strengths to complete the project fully and carefully. As part of laying out the path to this goal, we used the time on our retreat to discuss our policies, funding applications, staff roles, blog posts (stay tuned for a way to follow this blog more efficiently), and our formal book proposal (forthcoming), amongst many other topics.

Although we only went to Long Island for three days, having the time in a space away from routine distractions meant we were able to achieve a huge amount in a relatively short space of time. And dare we say it? We had a lot of fun doing so!