1: What

This website is a partial archive of textual artefacts produced by Steve Sweeney-Turner. The collection includes formally published and previously-unpublished work whether polished, tarnished or rough. Most of the published texts have been, properly, distributed off-site (external links open new browser tabs), some of which are only available on a commercial basis (for which the author receives no remuneration), including some in hardcopy formats. The author cannot accept responsibility for either their availability nor their manner of publication. However, many of these texts are now made available as downloads hosted on this website, and all work published on-site is made available non-commercially on a free, open access basis, either as HTML pages integral to the website itself, or as self-contained file downloads (eg. PDF, KF8/MOBI, EPUB3, etc.). Nonetheless, the customary copyrights inhere in all work offered here and any commercial redistribution of this website's contents is strictly illegal unless permissions are formally granted by the author.

The site runs on relatively un-exotic W3C-compliant HTML5 & CSS3 but makes no concessions to backward-compatibility for older browsers. Javascript is applied sparingly, no cookies are served and no user-data is harvested. Since the site runs on static rather than dynamic code, no dedicated search facility, comments system, syndicated feeds or social media integration are provided, for which no apology is offered. No monetisation of any kind has been deployed — this is a joyously "loss-making" project. The overall spartan coding policy is a technological reflection of the site's minimalist design and function — in sum, simply an archive of artefacts.

2: Who

Steve Sweeney-Turner has worked variously as a scholar, lecturer, writer, editor, publisher, web-developer and prehistoric monument steward. From an initial education in Musicology and Post-Structuralist Critical Theory, fields of work have included the Scottish Enlightenment, Avant-Garde Modernism, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Ethnicity & National Identity and Digital Technology. Latterly, one particularly-engaging area of activity has been a nascent foray into the digital encoding of Ancient, Medieval & Renaissance texts.

Education was undertaken at the universities of Nottingham (BA: Music), Edinburgh (PhD: Critical Musicology) and Glasgow (PgDip: Information Technology). Research fellowships & lectureships were worked at University College Salford, The Open University, Portsmouth University, Leeds University and the University of the Highlands & Islands. Degree programmes lectured on included Music, Literature, Cultural Studies and Art History. Editorial positions were held at Critical Musicology Journal, Celtic Cultural Studies and Popular Musicology Online. Most journalistic writing, publishing and IT work was engaged as an independent or freelancer.

3: Why

Since my Cancer diagnosis in Autumn 2017, I've been thinking about how best to gather myself together in all sorts of ways. From the perspectives of three of my favourite things of thinking, writing and coding (and just doing something with my time that might even be of vague interest to others), some kind of blogthing seemed appropriate. The illness, however, would impose some obvious strictures on the project. In particular, I just wouldn't have the mental space for coding a lovely dynamic website, and especially not one "straight-out-of-the-box" with certain famous CMS's (which never really do come out of the box once you start tweaking the code to behave with anything remotely like simplicity, elegance or just plain common sense). So, I thought, why not indulge in a little techno-nostalgia and cobble together a mega-minimalist design running on barely more than good Olde Worlde Webbe static HTML…?

The difference these days, with all our whizz-banging post-Web-1.0 technologies, is that, thanks not least to the welcome administrations of W3C down the years, "static" now means upgraded to include HTML5, CSS3 and even a bunch of unimaginably-baroque client-side scripting if I could really be bothered to go that far — which I couldn't! Of course, the major drawback to all of this is that you don't get the usual modish box of pseudo-interactive user engagement to play with, but hey, I have rather bigger things to worry about these days.

So, what you see before you turned out to be pretty-much literally just HTML5+CSS3 (and a fairly pedestrian deployment of both, at that). It's been fun, trying to remember how we used to do that sort of thing, pre-Millennium (not least via a generous seasoning of quirky, non-reusable code). In the end, the whole thing was economically hand-crafted with a few flicks of the wrist in nothing more than Notepad++, my absolute favourite unpretentious coding toy.

The rationale behind this website is simple, and it's been something I've thought about doing for years. Basically, just a great big centralised dump of all kinds of texts I've produced down the years for a wide range of reasons in an equally-wide range of contexts. If there is a "curatorial" policy at all, it's to upload pretty-much everything including the kitchen sink. Somehow, along the way, I'd lost track of it all, as you do, I suppose, and kind of lost myself as a result. But, like a lot of folks, I've found that Cancer has a way of focussing your priorities. After a decade of various other illnesses increasingly getting in the way of the mental life (not to mention the social, professional & economic fallout), it turned out to be a totally unrelated, random Cancer hit that finally got my mind back on track. I guess I'm saying that Cancer helped me find myself again, and I actually owe it a wee nod for that unexpected rash of of haruspication.

Is this a vanity project? Certainly in the old sense of "vanity publishing" (if only some of it). But, after all, aren't all personal websites like that? And really, almost the whole web is anyhow. So, forgive me for finally joining the global self-indulgence party. I couldn't give less of a monkey's — it's been a hoot putting all of this together. If any of it's of passing distraction to others, though, that's even better.

yours aye,
dr. steve sweeney-turner

HTML5 CSS3 Notepad++