This post started life as an interview. A writer from the US had approached me to talk about my #sadchairsofacademia project. This was in late 2016. The interview is still unpublished so I thought I’d rejuvenate it. Thank you to Drew Z. for getting the ball rolling.
What started the project?
I’ve worked in universities most of my adult life, and there’s a real contrast between the old and new faces of any institution. There’s the flagship multi-million dollar edifices that feature in all the university advertising and where international delegations are toured through, then there’s the solid, older work-horse buildings and rooms that carry the weight of the classes and staff offices.
The idea of the #sadchairsofacademia came to me when I was temporarily located in a section of a building that used to house academics who were now gone because of organisational restructuring. This process, always a traumatic one for those who go or stay, is never a clean one. The traces of the absent staff – their sticky-notes, stationery, old event flyers – were still in the offices, and the corridors had discarded furniture with piles of old books and journals stacked on them. This is the chair that brought the idea into being:
It wasn’t one of the first posted images because it was covered in old journals and books. I went back to that corridor about a year later and the poor thing was still there, without its carapace of unwanted journals and books. Continue reading “The why of #sadchairsofacademia”