9.00 am. Emails drip into my inbox with greater frequency, like a leaking tap the washer of which is deteriorating by the day. I’m deleting non-essential communications such as spam, advertisements for dull seminars on HE government initiatives that only someone with more time than sense would attend, and Amazonian enticements based upon my last purchase (the midges of incoming mail), as soon they land. Squish! Squish!
Having made plans for a trip away related to teaching responsibilities, I soldiered on with the current Art/Sound lecture (which may, now, not be the last on the curriculum schedule), and continued to process files for Matt.20.19. (I’ll not miss this task when the project is complete.):
I’m covering for two other members of staff who are away on university business this week. The incipient signs of multiple personality disorder are beginning to emerge; the administrative staff are calling me by their names.
I stood in for our representative at an administrative meeting on campus after lunch. No one else was in the meeting room (which has executive boardroom pretensions) when I arrived. This has been my consistent experience with regard to the venue. I enjoy it in its state of vacuity:
The meeting was conducted bilingually. A somewhat surreal experience for the uninitiated. It’s like watching a foreign film while hearing simultaneous voice over, rather than reading subtitles, in another language. The translator, who performs his service very professionally, sat at my left whispering English into a microphone while the monoglots listened intently through swish but desperately uncomfortable earphones. (I was distracted by thoughts of a strange type of ventriloquism):
The many and unfathomable acronyms resisted conversion into Welsh. It’s hard to watch earnest, intelligent people confront fatuous mandates and policies that are either foisted upon the HE sector by the government or, worse, arise from within. Common sense and sound judgement prevailed this afternoon.
Back at the School (and to reality), I served as a sounding board for several of the completing MA students who are hanging their final exhibition in the galleries. By this point in the process, for reasons that are entirely understandable, are so exhausted and close to the work that they cannot see any longer discern the its merit. At which point, an external, a dispassionate, and a sympathetic eye is indispensable.
In the evening session I exorcised my frustrations — in as polite and restrained a manner as I could muster — through a volley of emails designed to correct a misunderstanding and that is emerging somewhere between two levels and two models of management at the university. After responding to several postgraduate chapter submissions, Matt. 20.19 was mixed down and launched: