>I wasn’t planning on haunting the ARC website until closer to the stated “mid-October” release of grant outcomes for this year. So, JG (a cog in the Memes of Production) writing to congratulate me on the success of “Being Asian in Australia and the United States” confused me for much longer than I’m willing to admit. I thought maybe I’d published something and forgotten about it (cos this is so likely), or someone had quoted me, or a project was launched that I was involved in (that I didn’t know about…). The heads-up has saved me a couple of times today, so Facebook has served me well – again!
I’ve been ARC’d. There was much in-office squee about this. In academia, and especially in the Humanities, landing an ARC grant is a Big Deal (for those not in AcasVille: ARC = Australian Research Council; there’s an annual round of applications for Discovery project funds and the whole process is laborious and elongated). If one wants to contemplate a career as a research fellow, never having won an ARC is a big, smelly albatross around one’s neck. My albatross, finally, has seen fit to abandon me. The ARC project team consists of me, Jacqueline Lo (ANU, ACT) and Dean Chan (Edith Cowan U, WA). This was the 2nd time we’d submitted this project proposal. What made the ARC gods smile on this one when they seemed lukewarm on it last year is anyone’s guess. We’d refined it and tweaked terminology, updated it, etc, but the nuts and bolts are exactly the same. No, no, I’m not looking a gift-horse in the mouth. It’s just one of those things one can’t help wondering about.
The strangest thing about finally making it onto those congratulatory notices that Arts Faculties, nation-wide, love sending out is that it makes me feel legitimated here at my institution. It’s daft that it takes that to make me feel so, but an ARC award is a hard, shiny form of professional currency that lifts my profile in ways that I didn’t know it needed to be lifted. I’ve been working in Asian Australian Studies for nigh on a decade now, and while I think the field’s growing and wonderfully dynamic, it’s rare that the things I do in the area get a nod from my immediate managers. Scoring an ARC is a way for that work and my profile to be recognised. It feels good. And I say that with the full knowledge that the way ARCs are gained can, in many cases, be a bit of a lottery; there are so many hoops for the project (and its investigators) to jump through, including running the gamut of application reviewers (experts chosen using the keywords/field codes in your application) and the arcane rejoinder process. I’ve attended my fair share of pre-ARC workshops and seminars, mostly with a cynical and angsty heart. The cynicism remains, but the angst can disappear for the moment.
>> Next Anxiety of the Day: How will I get all these projects done?
Right now, I think I’ll have to celebrate somehow. My fellow investigators are scattered around Oz – one’s usually in Canberra (but is currently poncing around Denmark, as one does) and the other in Perth. We’ll have to have a delayed raising of glasses when we manage to coordinate and be in the same city again. Meanwhile, I’ve got myself a little something from the student union shop. Nothing says ‘celebration’ like a pig-shaped mooncake.