Well here I am back in the UK. I actually landed last week but have spent the last few days doing laundry and all the other delights. Plus catching up with friends, which has been great. I can’t believe this time last week I was on a plane, being driven to distraction by a child kicking the back of my seat.
I had the chance to interview two more academics before I left – both relocated Brits based in NZ. Now I have to work out how to get my recordings off the recorder and off to a transcriber. I have ideas in my head as to what I will write about – hopefully two papers at least – one on academic masculinities and a second on whiteness in academia. I have to decide on appropriate outlets. I have a couple of conferences coming up to help shape my ideas. I am also hoping to present my work at a conference in Australia which I think should be valuable. Unfortunately the semesters and teaching are at odds with the Australian conference season, but hopefully I can work something out.
The next thing is also to consider whether to broaden the study. Should I interview migrant academics in the US for example? Where would I get some funding from? I also have to consider the ongoing projects I have with colleagues which we need to conduct and write up.
I enjoyed my time in Australia and NZ and I miss them both already. The journey home was a bit dramatic, but the price I had to pay for the lovely month before. I am so lucky to get to do these things. I know many feel that academia is a struggle and filled with negativity. Undoubtedly there are unpleasant changes in the sector and we do work in a stressful occupation. Despite this, we get to think and travel. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do the work I do. In my talks around NZ I tried to emphasise the pleasures of our line of work and the choices we have to make over the best use of our time. I know not all agree with me, but I feel even more strongly that we work in a sector with considerable benefits, but which we need to remain protective of. The importance of union membership, solidarity with our colleagues and the protection of academic freedoms are key I believe.