Research Radar – Gabrielle Machnik-Kekesi

Gabrielle Machnik-Kekesi is a Research Associate with the GMM Project. She has a BA (History) and MA (Individualized Program, Modern Irish History and Gender Studies) from Concordia University and a MISt (Archival Studies) from McGill University. She is currently enrolled in a Structured PhD in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Who is your favourite academic?

I couldn’t identify just one person, but lately, Claudia Kinmonth.  Her work on vernacular Irish furnishings is absolutely fascinating. 

What are you reading for work and/or for leisure these days?

For leisure (book club!), For the Love of Men ­– A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity, by fellow Montrealer and McGill graduate Liz Plank.

For work, Plants, People, and Places: The Roles of Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology in Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Canada and Beyond, edited by Nancy Turner.

What podcast do you recommend?

Rick Harp’s Media Indigena, The Blindboy Podcast, and the BBC HistoryExtra podcast.

What is your favourite archive or library?

The National Library of Ireland Reading Room.  Every moment spent there is pure joy.  I encourage you to Google search images and enjoy admiring the ceiling for a few minutes.

What book or movie changed your life?

Braiding Sweetgrass – Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.  I’ve recommended this book to my entire family, my friends, and my colleagues.  It was essential reading for me during lockdown.  It is generous, beautiful, and changed the way I see the world.

Do you play music while you work? If so, what?

Always.  I listen to *a lot* of soundtracks (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, various period dramas, etc.) for reading, and a lot of jazz (Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck are my faves) for writing.  Other than that and off the top of my head: Myrkur’s folk projects, Agnes Obel, and Weyes Blood. 

What is your favourite way to de-stress?

Embroidery, reading historical fiction, distance running, cooking with my partner (who happens to be an incredibly talented wine importer and a fabulous cook), and spending time with my family.

What are your essential research tools/supplies and why?

1. A pomodoro timer app; this completely transformed the way I work.  I am more productive and, as an added bonus, it encourages me to get up and stretch more regularly.

2. Pencil and paper.  For me, nothing beats lined paper, a pencil, and an eraser for list-making, brainstorming, drafting, planning, budgeting—basically anything.  If I can avoid doing it on the computer, I do.

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