I was quite surprised today to be invited to apply for a place on a sandpit. It threw me a little as the last time I visited a sandpit I was about six and I had a bucket and spade. I looked into it further and found that in modern-day English a sandpit is a
" residential interactive workshop over 5 days involving 20-30 participants, the director and a number of independent stakeholders. An essential element of a sandpit is a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants taking part, some being active researchers and some being potential users of research outcomes, to drive lateral thinking and radical approaches to addressing particular research challenges."
Other features of a sandpit are that they
"are intensive events. For the well being of participants, the venues offer opportunities for relaxation, and the timetable includes informal networking activities as a break from the detailed technical discussions"
"Owing to the group dynamics and the continual evaluation it’s not possible to dip in and out of the process. Participants stay for the whole duration of the sandpit event"
Further reading suggests that
"Sandpits encourage the imaginations and creativity of children by providing the materials and space to build structures such as sandcastles; use toy trucks, shovels, and buckets to move the sand around; dig holes and bury things, etc. In other words, the sand provides a medium in which children can pretend to explore, construct, and destroy the world in three dimensions. This idea of being creative and experimentation is what the metaphorical uses of the word 'sandpit' or 'sandbox' were born out of."
God...!!! Things like this just confirm my increasingly held belief that I am too old, too jaded and too cynical to continue working in the public sector! I don't think I could physically or psychologically stomach even one day with a bunch of people talking in metaphor and acronym, totally up their own ar*es without any means of escape. It seems to be a cross between New Age boll*cks and and a reality TV show! It really is time to breed llamas! (And no, that is not a metaphor for some career move or life-stage or retirement but a genuine plan! See earlier posts!)