It is a chapter I grappled with, both in terms of struggling to find the time to give it proper attention (i.e. to write it!) and in angsting about whether I should even publish something like it. In essence, I say that I have found a way to have a happy balance while working in academia, but the price is my pace of career progression and the risk of being thought ‘less’ because of this. The feedback I’ve had from colleagues has been very positive and empathetic, with many commenting that they related to much of it. Continue reading →
It has been good to be in a stepped-down space (for those who don’t know, I’m no longer convenor of the AASRN).
The best thing about stepping down is doing so and knowing that the network is in excellent hands. Hands that are much more enthusiastic about developing the network in fresh ways, and have new networks of their own with which to strengthen the groups already there.
It’s not that I didn’t want to grow possibilities, but I had been there so long that the continuous work of managing the network, other projects, and the brain-space it took up made me feel tired towards it. Instead of looking for opportunities and taking risks with new connections, I looked at what was manageable and efficient.
It’s a role I’ve had ever since the research network was formally established in 2006. Before that, I was functioning more or less as the convenor when the network was an informal group that came together after the original Asian Australian Identities conference in Canberra in 1999.
That’s about 18 years at the helm. That’s a long time.
In that time, I’ve moved through six different jobs, four universities, shifted states, had two kids, and trudged through countless angstful episodes about career direction and professional identity. Continue reading →
It would be fair to say that Australia is in a hyper-nationalist phase. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is back in the Federal Parliament, extremist anti-migration micro-parties have gained a foothold, and recent proposals for migrant entry echo the days of the White Australia dictation tests, which was once used to exclude those who were considered ‘undesirable’.
Yet, our national population is more diverse than ever, particularly when it comes to those of Asian Australian heritage. Just how diverse is something we need to examine more closely if we are to develop a more inclusive, welcoming society. Continue reading →
I’ve been scarred by November 2016. It was a nightmare of overlapping major convening commitments. There was one week where I convened 4 full days of researcher intensives (ran 3, handed 1 day over), attended an evening AASRN 10th birthday gig (that I didn’t have to organise, thank goodness – all power to Audrey Yue and her RUPC team at the University of Melbourne!), and attended/chaired at the Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH) 2-day symposium. A teleporter would have come in handy; I didn’t have a teleporter.
This mad-cap week was embedded in a few months where I worked with the fabulous editorial team at Peril magazine to solicit and edit the 10 x 10 collection (Peril special issue 26), prepped for the month-long program of #LTUacwrimo, and organised the programming for those researcher intensives.
It was a fantastic whirlwind on many levels and each event was really satisfying, AND I was thoroughly done in.
So, I told myself, this next year was going to be different. It’s going to be a ‘down’ year, a quieter year, a recuperative and consolidating year. Continue reading →
Just recently, the lovely Katherine Firth (@katrinafee on Twitter) asked what I’d suggest if she wanted to read more from Asian voices in Australia on various sociopolitical issues.
Specifically, she outlined the genres of text she was interested in as “Sociology/ reportage / special editions journals / activist polemic”.
I started crafting a few tweets in my head, and thought of several links and articles straight away, then realised that it was probably much more useful – and user-friendly – if I just blogged it!
At first, when I thought about what Katherine had asked for, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t think of what might be the best places to get started or which articles to read. I’d been immersed in Asian Australian Studies perspectives on everything for so long, I had to take a deliberate step back to see how a (savvy, highly intelligent, research-oriented) newcomer might most usefully find a way into the diverse and multi-voiced material that’s out there.
It has been a long time coming but I’ve finally, FINALLY set up a photo account where I can share my images.
I’ve made them all Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).
When I wrote this post on Finding the perfect image for the RED Alert blog, I was itching to get my own images online and spread the love.
My friend Jonathan O’Donnell had encouraged me to take my own photos to use for my blogging, and I have been doing precisely that for around 5 years now.
In that RED Alert post, I said:
I take more photos than I did before, and I get to exercise my artistic eye. I don’t necessarily know if they’ll be used on a blogpost but I have my own archive to choose from now. I’ll be putting them up somewhere so other people can use them, too, when I get some time (!). It’s my form of giving back to the online community that has given me so many excellent, free things to use.
So, on annual leave, I have made the time to start building the collection I’ve been wanting to share.
I hope that you’ll make use of them, play with them, use them on events and invitations and other projects. I know they’re not the best images in the entire world, but I’ve had a lot of fun and it has given me another way to take in what’s around me.
I was at an event at the Immigration Museum recently.
There was a savvy panel of Asian Australian intellectuals and creatives from Peril magazine and Asian Australian Democracy Caucus.
They generated a fantastic critical race conversation and covered big, exciting territory about nation-state identities, exclusionary processes, dispossession, and everyday racisms and their consequences for senses of community.
Most of the people in the room were activist inclined and on board with the debates – not always in agreement, but willing to take on the issues and talk about them.
There were several white audience members – mostly older and male – who were deeply uncomfortable, if not openly hostile, to the presentations taking place in front of them. Continue reading →
The way #whispercon works: each of the five key participants get to invite four people to the gig.
I have used two of my invites and wanted to gift the other two to my broader network of Twitter peeps.
I want to do this for a few reasons. The main one is that, even though I am a big cynic about many things, one thing Twitter has taught me is that there are many potential collaborators and #circleofniceness members out there I may not have had the chance to get to know better.
I love the friends who’ll be getting together in Canberra, and I recognise that growing this wise, positive, supportive bunch serves all of our interests.
My bias is towards those with interests in researcher development, digital communities, and effective, savvy ways for researchers to build non-academic organisational collaborations for the longer-term.
So, if you’re interested in being considered for one of my #whispercon invites, please:
Know that the event is in Canberra + we offer no funding.
Email me (email@example.com) for a link to a short questionnaire. And, yes, I’m deliberately putting an extra step in there.
Expressions of interest welcome till MON 18 April 2016.
My final decision will be based on entirely opaque personal preferences. I’ll let people know within a week of the closing date.
EDITED TO ADD: We’ll be welcoming four wonderful people to #whispercon in 2016 – 2 from my open invites, and another 2 from two of my colleagues each making one of their invites open.
Thanks for your interest and excellent enthusiasm for #whispercon, Kath Albury, Roanna Gonsalves, Linda Kirkman, and Sharon McDonough. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming you to the event in August.
I’ve just returned from a brilliant trip to WA – to Perth and Edith Cowan University. ECU – Joondalup, to be precise.
I was invited to ECU by Con Wiebrands (ECU’s University Librarian), to give a presentation to her Library staff and Research Office people, too. It was the first time I’d been invited to give a presentation to an audience that was not higher degree researchers or early career researchers.
It felt like a challenge, and my presentation on “What ECRs want” aimed to generate intra-university connection and collaboration to create an enabling ECR research environment.
There were several notable things about this gig, which came about because of The Thesis Whisperer’s advocacy and my work on The Research Whisperer with Jonathan O’Donnell.
One of things I realise repeatedly and gratefully since about mid-2012, is that RW is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We have had so many lovely opportunities to meet with excellent colleagues and try out new audiences, and to be able to share the experiences and wisdom of so many researchers.
Knowing how much rides on invited speakers, it’s always an honour to be approached as an event guest. We often find ourselves giving talks and workshops at society conferences, as part of professional development programs, and within ‘research week’ activities.
For 2015, Jonathan and I have been invited to present across many topics, around Australia. Here’s our speaking trail: RW live!
As well as being invited presenters at others’ events, Jonathan convened the first Whispercon, hosted by RMIT, in August this year. If you want to have a peek at what went on, here’s the Storify from Whispercon, and a post that Jonathan wrote afterwards, How the Whisper workshop works. The 2nd Whispercon is planned for Canberra in 2016.
The second thing that was notable about this WA trip is I got to meet Con face to face. Continue reading →