Sunday, 12 August 2012


Who he?

I am no stickler over details, nor overly fussed over identity, status or public reputation. As Mária Hári used to say, such things are an indifference. Well, almost.

If anything I was therefore amused rather than offended when I saw myself announced amongst the experts to a keynote address at the seventh world Conductive Education Congress, to be held in Munich next year:

Not by the actual announcement, I hasten to add, but about how I am credentialled there:

Dr. Andrew Sutton
School of Health and Population Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham

A quick on-line check tells me –

In 2004 Andrew spent one year at Imperial College as a Research Assistant in the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour, before returning to the Health Protection Agency in 2005 to resume his previous role.
In May 2007 Andrew left the Health Protection Agency and moved to the University of Warwick to take a Research Fellow role which focused on research into the transmission dynamics of Theileria Annulata an often fatal tick-borne disease of cattle.
In August 2010, Andrew joined the Health Economics Unit at the University of Birmingham

This link reveals that my namesake follows a respectable academic career in medical research, far more wissenschaftlische than I could ever have managed – just the sort of level of scientific research that CE aspires to, albeit not in a field of immediate relevance.

Saying 'Sorry'

I have written to my namesake to apologise. I hope that he has not started receiving funny emails from around the world, asking him unanswerable questions

The name 'Andrew Sutton' is dirt-common in the English-speaking world. It could be fun to be mistaken for the celebrity chef at Disneyland in Napa Rose, or the dance-teacher known as 'Smooth Savoy' who specialises in something called Swing Dance. But it has never happened. Maybe another time.

I have also written to KIT, the conference organisers working on WC 8, to reassure them that I am not in the least offended by this understandable error. Another quick internet search suggests that KIT is a considerable, classy and slick operation:

KIT can  work only with the information that it finds. I expect that I come in under its radar.

Kafkaesque, Orwellian?

This question of identity presents a bit of a problem. This is a world where who you are is defined very much in terms of what you are, and 'what' here means what you do for a job, and where you do it.

I have no job, so how do I credential myself to fit among those keynote speakers announced for WC 8?

Various suggestions have been made: retired, pensioner, unemployed, amateur, dilletante, gentleman, dabbler... I am honestly at a loss for words.

Kafka? Orwell? Neither really. Kurt Vonnegut, however, points a way to an answer. through the moral to Mother Night

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful 
about what we pretend to be.

So, I have invented a job and this is what I shall pretend to be: General Editor, Conductive Education Press. Maybe by the time of the Congress next year it will be true.

I shall have to be careful...

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