Farewell, Mighty Desk
02/10/2012 5 Comments
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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