I'm Matt Finch - normally tweeting at @drmattfinch. I write and make fun things to do in public places - currently I'm Creative in Residence at the State Library of Queensland, Australia.
I got to this point via a slightly wayward academic career that embraced linguistics, Spanish, travel writing, and the history of Central Europe before culminating in a doctoral thesis about the ways in which emigres, exiles, and refugees from the Nazis made new lives for themselves in the UK.
Focussing on the art historians associated with the Warburg Library, it involved ferreting around in people's attics for correspondence, a trip to a working mental hospital in Germany, and learning a fair bit about visual communication too. I also spent a long time wrestling with the question of how we understand the ways people experienced and represented their emotions in the past -- even the recent past.
Since then I've been a travel writer, a schoolteacher, and worked with museums, galleries, and libraries to create fun things in public places. I realised it was important to me to venture out into the big wide world and so I left the university campus, but I've never stopped exploring the borders between lived experience and the histories, facts, and fictions we find in the written record.
These days you're as likely to find me running a burlesque festival, a live-action zombie siege, or a citywide time-travel heritage event - but I've never lost sight of the initial contact between stories and lived experience, and my doctorate has turned out to be useful in many surprising ways.
This week you'll find me talking about history, memory, Fun Palaces, the borderline between fantasy and reality, community outreach, public engagement, postcolonialism, comics, and visual communication - but, of course, the conversation will lead us where it will!
I get to meet a lot of amazing scholars on my travels so hopefully I'll cross timezones and introduce you to some wonderful people who might not yet be on your radar. I'll also aim to showcase a lot of the awesome things that the State Library of Queensland does for its community.