When I have finished attacking the large pile of paperwork sitting in a threatening heap on the edge of my desk, my week will close with storytelling at Yarm (a good way to stay young at heart), participation in the memorial service for Murray Guest at TAS and attendance at a couple of social events (yes, more celebrations!). In a new exhibit (‘Town with Gown’) at NERAM, the work of the artists selected to portray our past Chancellors and Vice Chancellors will open and the Boilerhouse Project is having a party to celebrate recent funding announcements.
Looking back the week has been busy (nothing new) and enlightening in a number of ways. I have referenced above the many events and functions which UNE has hosted, organised, sponsored and supported. All of this reflect both the role of the University on community and the amazing purposeful contributions of so many of our staff.
At a time when the UNE Conversation is about People and Culture, it is noteworthy that the rich, strong and engaging character of our community is so very much in evidence. Imagine then my disappointment that the commitment of so many to respectful and constructive engagement is not carried by forward by one and all. The majority of contributions to the UNE Conversation around People and Culture have been positive, constructive and engaged; sadly, a quick visit to the ‘conversation wall’ in the Armidale Library reminded me that there is still much to be done when derogatory, disrespectful contributions, in what might be regarded at quasi-bullying language, are penned in a public place. I found solace in the collegial voices of the majority who acknowledged that much work is still required to re-build trust and create an environment where all are confident of support, and feel valued – they made it clear they want to be fully signed up participants in that process and not critical bystanders.
At Trevenna the ‘snake alert’ is still in force, my rhubarb crowns are gamely struggling to show meaningful growth and the packing up, in advance of the move to the cottage, has started. Enjoy the weekend one and all.
Professor Brigid Heywood
Vice-Chancellor & CEO