On 26 Sept 2008, I was part of a panel (conceived of by Gilbert Caluya) at the University of Sydney Gender and Cultural Studies’ department research seminar series. The other speakers on the panel were Jane Park (USyd) and Olivia Khoo (Curtin U). Jane and Olivia are both film scholars so their presentations sparked off each other really well – Jane’s traced the trope of Orientalism in Hollywood movies and Olivia’s looked at the issue of CGI in contemporary Hong Kong films. My presentation was a double-headed beast that talked about the AASRN and my own fellowship research (Asian Australian heritage sites, focused on north Queensland). I was so magnificent that I’d forgotten my flash-drive (with my Powerpoint presentation) – it was sitting in a bag back at my hotel. The lovely seminar room in which we had the panel was outfitted with nifty gizmos, so I was able to hook up some internet sources to the presentation. The seminar audience was great! Wonderful turnout and many questions at the end that demonstrated how engaged people were. A couple of folks talked to me about the AASRN and signing up to it, I met someone who’s going to be in Melb later this year for the David Eng workshop, and I re-met a bunch of colleagues I hadn’t seen for years
. It was fantastic to meet Jane (with whom I’d only had email contact) and hang out with the GCS crew at the Manning Bar afterwards. Many thanks to Gilbert and Guy Redden for organising the panel (and extra thanks to Guy for guiding lost academics to the seminar room…).
The USyd experience made me realise how much I miss collegial drinks on a Friday afternoon. We used to have Staff Club drinks back at UQ when I was a postgrad, and I get rather nostalgic about them these days. There are many things I like about Monash, even the fact that I live only a short distance away from it, but the university’s position doesn’t lend itself to an active on-campus environment when classes are done. Everyone’s gone as soon as they can be. There doesn’t seem to be a culture of unwinding with peers at the end of the week…or maybe it’s just my corner of the institution? Whatever the reason, I wish it were different.
Another thing I realised I miss – and I feel guilty about this one – is gorgeous sandstone buildings. I was spoilt with them at UQ (being housed in the Michie Building for all my postgrad time there [it was part of the Great Court – you can see a panoramic view of the Great Court HERE]), and USyd’s a beautiful campus:
Photo courtesy of Wiki