Farewell, Mighty Desk

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been in the process of moving my workspace from one side of the university to the other.  While my previous digs were excellent, the space was due for reassignment and I now have a nice corner of a group office in the Film School (where I teach “Writing in the Digital Age”). I’ll just leave this photo of my old desk here as a rebuke to the senior academic who once told me that “the place of the postgraduate student is in the library and nowhere else”.


That might be well and good in the old boy’s head, but in actuality postgrads and part-time teachers (and there’s often a significant overlap between the two) need places to work. I was lucky enough to have had a space in the above room throughout my MA and PhD years, and then from 2009-2012 as a part-time lecturer and seminar leader (and now, as I say, am lucky enough to be accommodated elsewhere). Had I and my peers been denied an assigned, secure workspace such as this it would have made  the task of researching and writing a doctoral project much more difficult. And that’s before one gets to the preparation, administration, and grading  for many undergraduate and MA courses. I for one taught steadily throughout my PhD years, often working across several departments and with a teaching load equivalent to that of a full-time staff member.  If I had been consigned to “the library and nowhere else”, if I did not have access to the resources I needed as a professional, then it would have seriously constrained my ability to operate effectively as a third-level researcher and teacher.

Honestly, every time a senior academic suggests Hot-Desking as an appropriate system for postgraduates and part-time teachers I think to myself, “Let’s try that with your offices and see what happens…”


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5 Responses to Farewell, Mighty Desk

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » Farewell, Mighty Desk

  2. You really need to go paperless. This is… frightening….

    • Ha! There’s no substitute for the piece of paper in front of you and you know it! It’s always there when you need it, the technology never lets you down, you actually end up *reading* student essays instead of just skimming them on a screen…

  3. Siobhan Whyte says:

    Hmmmm, that’s a representation of me, my life and my head! I agree, there is nothing like seeing the words sidling across the paper – handwriting especially. You have to love the smell of the books (cliché but true). I actually Google’d you, looking for some details about your Poetry of Violence course that I took last year (I was a rambling weirdo, that never made sense – in case you hadn’t gathered that). I’ve lost the photocopies somewhere in my stacks of literature. I wasn’t just being creepy and Googling you. Ok, end comment. hope you’re well!!!!!! 🙂
    P.S. I have just ordered a poetry Anthology by writers with OCD, about their condition, I don’t know if it would interest you, it’s called “Check Mates” – thought it was an interesting concept but I haven’t read it yet.

  4. No worries, Siobhan! Nothing cliche about liking the physical text (at least I hope not!); the “digital natives” just don’t appreciate it.

    All good on this end, yes. As I hope it is with you. I should have the course outline for the Poetry of Violence module around here somewhere (or, in the picture above: second shelf, red box by the window) so let me know if you’d like me to email it on to you.

    Haven’t come across that “Check Mates” book myself, but it sounds interesting! Must keep an eye out for it 🙂

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