In March through April Maria Quvang Harck Vestergaard had a stay at mCenter at Drexel University, Philadelphia, and here is a short report of her stay:
In May 2011 Professor Sheller visited Aalborg University and I got a chance to discuss my project about “Mobilities in Peripheral Areas in Denmark” with her. The feedback I got then was so good that I just wanted more. This was one of my reasons to try to have a visit with the mCenter, another reason was to experience and discuss mobility in another research environment than my home environment at Center for Mobility and Urban Studies. When I discovered an interesting conference (Local and mobile) coming up “over there” it was just obvious for me to try to combine these things. Luckily the mCenter agreed to host me for a month stay.
My aim with the stay was to develop my conference paper from the Local and Mobile conference even further and gain knowledge about tourism mobilities, which matched very well the program that professor Sheller suggested including among other things a reading group with herself, two local Ph.D.’s and another visiting scholar, Andrea Cuman, from Italy. Within the reading group we read and discussed the newly published book “Digital Divide in Philadelphia” and we all presented our project where we all but one was working with tourism mobilities in different ways.
Sitting here in my office one week after getting back to Denmark I still have troubles putting into words all the things that I gained from my stay. Things like new perspectives on my projects and a changed mind-set are difficult to phrase more precisely than that. The time to read and to be immersed into the field and especially the discussions with the others in the reading group, with Professor Sheller at other meetings and with Andrea at all times contributed to my theoretical knowledge and gave me new ideas for my methodologies. More specifically the discussion about the use of different terms has been very valuable for me as a none-native speaker of the language. Thank you to you all for giving me new perspectives, ideas, knowledge and insight it has improved my project and it has matured me as a researcher. Also a thank you to various employees at the Culture and Communication Department for welcoming me and introducing me to Philadelphia and the American culture. I have truly enjoyed my stay.