Friday, 17 February 2012

An academic's work is never done

Open Day today - lots of (hopefully) eager young tykes keen to press their noses up against our institutional windows to see what their futures might be.

I really hope the university's viability doesn't rely on today's events: I'm giving the English talk. It's always a difficult one - balancing some inspirational and exciting stuff with the need to explain how the course works and the stuff the parents are here for, i.e. will little Johnny/Joanna be unemployed afterwards?

I've gone for a mix of the two: a brief tour d'horizon (not a phrase I'll be employing in the lecture) of how English can completely defamiliarise the world in a creative way - the world as narrative and the English graduate as interpreter, followed by a run through the exciting specialisms of my colleagues.

The other thing about Open Days is that they make us become marketing executives, which I don't particularly like. It's not like the old days when universities chose the students: they're choosing us. Consequently I feel under scrutiny - choosing today's clothes was a struggle. I tried to balance neatness with approachability - which means cherry-red DMs, black jeans, open-necked shirt and a black v-neck (pretty much my dress-up style since 1993, heavily influenced by Modern Life Is Rubbish-era Blur).

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