Working as a freelancer at my age is a strange combination. At times, you wonder if you will be called upon in the months ahead, or whether you at last will get some spare time to all the negligence waiting to be dealt with; wife, grandchildren, friends, unread books laying on the book shelf etc. Then suddenly you are contacted from the most unexpected corners and find yourself struggling with overlapping obligations and impossible deadlines.
My 2015 has been such a year. I had a relatively peaceful spring allowing me to revisit one of my old academic fields, development aid, combining it with the ongoing international discussion on how the large international NGOs should accommodate to a changing economic and political environment (see the preliminary result >> here). Due to the long pipeline of academic publishing, the other items from this year on the list of publications in English (see >> here), mostly in the field of media, derives from the work of previous years. Parallel to that I continued my engagement with the Nordic Council of Ministers on establishing a joint Nordic Cultural Knowledge Center and began the work in the Public Service (Media) Commission set up by the Danish Minister of Culture to develop and present a number of scenarios for the future of Public Service Media.
Then in the early summer, unexpected things began to happen. During a trekking holiday in the snowy mountains of northern Norway, I got a text message asking me to contribute to a British webpage discussing the upcoming BBC charter renewal (see >> here). In November I participated in a very interesting seminar at London School of Economics on the future BBC governance, which (for me) illustrated how the fundamental media-political disagreements on the future role of the BBC are spilling over and turned into technicalities of its governmental setup. Later I was asked to write a chapter to a book on ‘press freedom’ to be published in 2016. Without any relation to that, I was invited to discuss the influence of digitization on ‘media freedom' at OSCE regional conferences in Georgia and Tajikistan. A variety of other obligations brought me to the Poland, Austria, Ghana and USA.
In November, I participated in a very successful CARE International Board meeting in Ecuador, combined with a ‘field visit’ to CARE projects in the northern part of the country. Reducing the detrimental effects of climate change on the most exposed poor people in the southern hemisphere is one of CAREs top priorities. So it was good news to learn of the final COP 21 declaration from Paris, where the CARE delegation together with other NGO’s has done a marvelous job.
With some apprehension, I have to admit, that wife, grandchildren, friends and books once again will have to wait to next year. But I promise……