2023 was a year of finding a new space to heal and thrive. I don't think I will be able to achieve my accomplishments without my care cicle. I am extremely grateful for the support and love of my family, my partner, and friends in Australia, in the Philippines, and elsewhere. In this blog entry, I reflect on my 2023 and what's in store for 2024.
My 2023 started with a bang. I started my funded project from the University of the Philippines Centre for Women and Gender Studies. I started my fieldwork to interview older Filipina-Australians in Victoria, Australia on the ways they use modern communication technologies and online channels to perform care. I collaborated with Ash Presto for the funded project and our collab article is already under review for publication. On top of this, I published several publications in the Australian Outlook and Melbourne Asia Review.
In February, I was interviewed for and offered a job. My wish for 2023 was granted! I moved to Monash University as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Media, Film and Journalism. I also moved my DECRA funding to Monash. After several months, the funding was officially transferred and I commenced my project in July 2023. I have three years to do the fellowship.
I am extremely delighted to be back at Monash. I completed my PhD in MFJ and also taught for a year in the same School before moving elsewhere. Now that I am back, apart from having my own office (I decorated with books and Lego!), I am grateful to be working with brilliant scholars.
At Monash, I joined the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre (MMIC), a very supportive research environment. I enjoy conversing with Professor Paul Long, the Director of MMIC. He's also supportive of my research plans. I also co-convene the Migration and Mobility Research Network (MMRN) with my dear friend Dr Sylvia Ang. I am looking forward to mentoring and supporting scholars working on migration and mobility research. In fact, we held the first meeting for MMRN this year and I was moved by the passion of the participants.
In November 2023, I was invited to attend a workshop on mobility and migration at Monash Malaysia. Flying to Malaysia was my first international and last international travel in 2023. It was a great experience to connect with scholars at Monash Malaysia. With this, we’re planning another collaborative event for 2024 and a publication.
I spent my first few months at Monash on familiarising myself with the system. I also worked on my funded project from UP CWGS. The first few months of my DECRA was spent on reading literature review, developing networking and capacity building, setting up the project, and also drafting publications on tangential projects. Best of all, I produced my ethics application for my DECRA, which was approved in November.
For my DECRA. I recruited a Research Assistant (RA) who has been helping me with logistics and literature review search. Best of all, I finally recruited a PhD student who will be joining the research team in February 2024. In 2024, I will be hiring a new RA as my current RA is finishing her PhD and moving to the UK. More information on RA work soon.
On top of my DECRA, I obtained funding for my project on brokering migration in the digital age. An RA helped me with some basic literature review search, building on what I already developed since 2022. I also submitted a paper on TikTok and Migration, which is currently under review for a Special Issue. In 2024, I am applying for a SEED funding to do the pilot study of the project and eventually apply for a larger research grant. Watch this space.
Being a migrant academic is challenging. But challenges are manageable with the support of other scholars. Hence, I am grateful to my collaborators. Thank you for the support and intellectual exchanges. Thank you to Prof Larissa Hjorth, Professor Cheryll Soriano, A/Prof Koen Leurs, Dr Tanja Ahlin, and many more. I am also proud to collaborate with ECRs. For 2024, I will have new collaborators that I am excited to work with.
In 2023, I signed a contract to produce the first Handbook of Filipino Diaspora. I am co-edited the handbook with Dr Kristine Aquino and A/Prof Valerie Francisco-Mechavez. I am looking forward to working with Filipino scholars across the globe!
In terms of publication, I published a Special Issue on “(Im)mobile entanglements” with my dear friend A/Prof Koen Leurs. The SI was composed of ten excellent articles interrogating the (im)mobile consequences of increased digitalisation among the lives of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
I was productive in 2023. Writing kept me grounded and inspired. I produced eight written outputs, including journal articles, book chapters, op eds, and so forth. These outputs were written in 2022 and came out in 2023. For 2024, I have five forthcoming publications, including a journal article and four book chapters. Looking forward to writing and sharing the findings of my DECRA too! Building on my project, I aim to develop more collaborations with stakeholders and organisations for migrant organisations. The goal is to develop projects that examine digital inclusion in a migration context. Feel free to connect with me in this space, whether you are in Australia or overseas.
Meanwhile, I stepped down as the Social Media Editor of the Asian Journal of Communication. But I have been very busy for my editorial role in various journals, including International Journal of Cultural Studies, Convergence and Journal of Global Ageing. In the Philippines, I joined the member of the Philippine Communication Society (PCS) Review Advisory Board (2023- 2026). As the book review editor, I enjoy mentoring PhD students and ECRs who critically review books for Mobile Media and Communication. In 2024, I will be hiring an editorial assistant for Mobile Media and Communication. More of this soon!
2023 will always be a special year. My dad visited Australia. He spent for a month with me and my partner. We also visited Sydney. He's a tough cookie given the walking we did in Sydney! It's so great to see him healthy especially after what he went through. I did enjoy spending time with my dad, especially the dining out and chatting. Guy and I were also lucky to enjoy the Bicol Express, a spicy Filipino dish!
I am pretty sure that 2024 will be an equally busy year. But I am excited. I will continue my fieldwork in Victoria, Australia and in the Philippines. The fieldwork is part of my ARC DECRA Fellowship.
I expect lots of moving around in 2024, locally and internationally. Locally, I am open to invited talks or presentations. Internationally, I am already booked for two Visiting Fellowships. I will be in the Toronto Metropolitan University in Canada for a Global Exchange Fellowship (date is being arranged). As part of my fieldwork in the Philippines, I will be a Visiting Research Associate at the Institute of Philippine Culture in Ateneo De Manila University (depending on fieldwork).
In the end of 2023, I started developing collaborations that will kick off in 2024. The collaboration will focus on digital ageing and on digital brokering. More of this soon. I am also looking forward to mentoring PhD students and ECRs. I would be happy to share my experiences of navigating academia as a migrant academic. YouTube? TikTok? Why not.
Personally, I’d like to continue enjoying a healthy lifestyle. I exercise almost everyday and this has been helping me to deal with the challenges that come with work and other related matters.
2023 was the year I tested positive to COVID-19, and I don’t want to get this again. Hence, mask on. I also had my wisdom too extracted. Thank goodness for Halo-Halo for helping me recover!
On relationships and friendships. I noticed that some remain strong. But some just wane. But that's fine. People change, and so our priorities in life. For those who choose to stay and care, thank you!
I wish a bountiful 2024, like lots of money, money and money! Haha! Win grants? Yes please. Buy a house? Why not. Develop a research agency? Not a bad idea. But who knows. For sure, I'll let my creative self out in 2024.
I say, I claim, 2024 is a year to shine, like a supernova.
Be in it to win it!
Happy New Year everyone!