How good is work?

Do we or do we not live in a world in which we assist each other? Judith Butler, Examined Life (Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor 2010), You Tube 1. We’re in the last few weeks of the class in which students use narrative methods to explore their experiences of working, along with those of their families, friends, workmates, managers and strangers. We’re thinking together about the fact that “the future of work” has a cultural history, and a vivid, anxious…

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Start somewhere

Indeed, my stronger point is simply this: no human creature survives or persists without depending on a sustaining environment, social forms of relationality, and economic forms that presume and structure interdependency. Judith Butler, ‘Can one lead a good life in a bad life’, 2012 We’ve had a burst of cold weather followed by a sudden warm wind and every living unplanned thing in the garden has sprung up. I’ve been weeding paths, and thinking about things I’ve planted or pruned…

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Scriveners in the attic

From the perspective of capital, what most of us see as tremendous ethical and even existential problems literally don’t count. Jason Hickel, ‘The Nobel Prize for Climate Catastrophe‘, foreignpolicy.com, December 2018 1. This year I’ve been reflecting on the many reasons that I find writing difficult, even when I’m apparently eager to write. I know from conversations I had at OER19 that others feel the same. This sense of being choked is spreading around a community of good writers I…

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Many hands

It isn’t like researching and writing so don’t think that I was physically working on it all that time, but thinking about it also occupied the sewing time. Also talking with fellow quilters to get problems solved quicker. Rebecca Albury, email to me 1. I’m steering an underinsured rental car around a parked truck in a back alley in Dublin, and Bon Stewart is peering at two different digital maps, offering advice. Driving in new country is always like this:…

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Not our dark

What is required, is quite simple. Professor Michael McDaniel, 2012 1 It’s 2013. I’m in the backroom of a small library in a town in western New South Wales, scrolling through a microfilm newspaper reader, scribbling notes with a pen I’ve found in the bottom of my bag. Next to me, my daughter’s looking through a book of war records. We’re all there, the five of us together, looking for a family history for which we only have two clues….

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Not my shoes

Disrupt your industries, if that is what you are in business to do, but do not disrupt the bonds that tie employees, however loose or unspoken they may be. Isabel Berwick, ‘Workplace communities matter–now more than ever“ 1. I’m standing in line, and someone sends me something to read. Distracted and unprepared I open an article about Annie Werner, who was in breast cancer treatment in 2014, like me. But there’s more. She’s an academic like me. Like me, she…

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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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Momentums

Sitting lets us just, first of all, recognize that we are this massive collection of thoughts and experiences and sensations that are moving at the speed of light and that we never get a chance to just be still and pause and look at them, just for what they are, and then slowly to sort out our own voice from the rest of the thoughts, emotions, the interpretations, the habits, the momentums that are just trying to overwhelm us at…

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Chop wood. Carry water.

I’ve been reared to go down to the well for a bucket of water, bring it back up, fill the black pot. … My baking is done on the hearth fire. I bake my own bread in my pot ovens. Perhaps it is long drawn out. But it’s all I’ve ever known. Margaret Gallagher, 1992, All I’ve Ever Known In 1992, Margaret Gallagher was turning 50. She landed her first job at 46, working as a local historian. Today she’s…

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The peacock and the fish

That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern. It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct. Solomon Asch, Opinions & Social Pressure, 1955 1. It’s been a week of sitting and thinking as the presentations slide by. University strategic planning is a bit like a lava lamp: ideas rise…

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