September 27, 2017

8.00 am: Correspondence and communion in union. 9.00 am: This would be a long and full-on kind of day. Today, the postgraduates came into focus. There was admin and a lunch to prepare to that end. But, first, I’d a pressing deadline to honour: the submission of a proposal in response to a call for papers. This needs to be with the conference convenors by the close of Friday. I want to make a presentation on the ‘I. Nothing Lack.’ project. The paper doesn’t fit their remit, but I’ve overcome that problem well enough in the past. ‘Cast your bread upon the waters’. I drafted ideas.

An aside. We would not walk through dark valleys voluntarily and solitary. This is why we’re led. You can’t see the landscape in the dark, so it’s easy to lose one’s bearings and veer from the path. But go through them we must, if we’re to reach the green pastures beyond. There’s no alternative route; no bypass. But there’re other roads to other places. We could walk instead, as Shakespeare put it, ‘the flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire’. It’s an axiom of life: the easy path leads inevitably to a dismal end; the hard course, to the ‘land of plenty’.

10.30 am: Off to School to help prepare the Postgraduate Lunch. ‘There was a great abundance of food’, as Dale Cooper once said, and of new students too. (I wish I could remember names better.) This year’s contingent (27 in all) is made up of a healthy balance of the mature and 21+s. The degree schemes are fuelled by a fusion of sagacity, experience, and vitality. It’s the students, not the scheme, not the resources, and not the teaching that contribute most to the ethos and success of the provision:

My name plaque has fallen of the office door. It’s a good job that I’m not superstitious:

Once staff introductions were delivered and the food consumed, we prepared for the formal process of induction. There is no predictable outcome for study at MA level. I’m aware that I present the ‘journey’ that they’re embarking upon in almost metaphysical terms. But from my experience the process of metamorphosis that they’ll undergo will exceed the boundaries of transformation that one might normally expect as a student interacts with an educational experience. It’s a privilege to behold.

4.00 pm: The Postgraduate Show opened officially. It gave the new MA intake a vision of what they could aspire to:

6.30 pm: At the end of a very long time without any respite, we held a Dementia Friendly workshop to inform and prepare for the task those who will be working, in collaboration with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, on the ‘Explore Your Archive: Memory Archive’ project, on November 22:

The talk was fascinating and fearful in equal measure. The thought of a person’s memories and history being gradually erased and corrupted, and unanchored from the emotions associated with them, fills me with horror. Our memories embody our identity, sense of self, and continuity with what has been; they’re the archive of our experiences, feelings, and past presence.

8.30 pm: Admin catch-up at home.

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