Writing to the dark

The questions weren’t interesting but I worked hard to find the interest in them Clem Bowles, Little Boxes I went dark because I didn’t know where I belonged or where I was going, and I had nowhere to direct the words. Bonnie Stewart, The long dark tea-time of the soul It’s been a week for noticing the stories that get told in higher education about satisfaction. How do students feel about the experience of being students, and how do they look…

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Subject outline

Above their heads, whether the visitors are sleeping, dreaming or making love, the laws keep watch. Jacques Derrida, Of Hospitality It’s that time of year when the deadline rears up for next year’s syllabus. Where I am, we call this a “subject outline”, and I’m momentarily stuck on all the ways we could take this. Who is the subject outlined here?  Whose subjectivity are we trying to confine? There’s a template, of course. It’s there to assure compliance with codes of…

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Connectedness and learning: an invitation

How much capacity for empathy do we have, for ideas and people whose worldviews are very different from our own? How much hospitality do we have in ourselves, beyond mere tolerance, for this kind of difference? Maha Bali,  ‘Whom do you listen to? And why I’m hoping to go the US this August“ At Mary Freer’s compassion lab last week I learned new things from systems researcher Fiona Kerr. Fiona advises large corporations on social neuroscience, and is a robust and articulate…

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In our own hands

To offer consolation is an act of generosity. Arthur Frank, The Renewal of Generosity ANZAC Day: dodging the memorialisation of war by gardening, trying to distribute worm casts without ripping handfuls of living worms to bits. I’m feeling the dirt packed under my fingernails, and suddenly hearing Thom Gunn’s poem that skids to a stop on the matter of our cellular form: when we die and fall into the earth, we become dirt, and there is no intention in this, it just is. This poem ends with…

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Circus skills

What gets you into it is a love of books and idealising wisdom. What keeps you there is exhaustion and rank fear. … The academy has become the circus. “annamac”, comment,  There Are No Academic Jobs and Getting a PhD Will Make You Into a Horrible Person, Slate magazine I’ve been thinking about what it feels like to be working in a university at the moment, particularly one that’s focused on change. Change is an easy project to pursue, and…

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