Reflections of a Visiting Scholar
Emeritus Professor Sue Clegg reflects on her time she spent visiting the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
One of the pleasures of being Emeritus is the time, both mental and physical, it affords for engaging with colleagues and their projects. The opportunity to engage with CEEHE has been stimulating and a privilege. It inspiring to be part of conversations which have a notion of the connections between critical social theory and practice for social justice purposes at their heart.
Colleagues have been generous with their time in exchanging ideas with me and in exploring commonalities across the many projects that CEEHE embraces. As visiting scholar I’ve tried to bring a generous set of ears to the table and aimed to listen to where ideas resonate with research, other contexts, and also with work in the broader local setting.
Things that are obvious, and sometimes tacit, for CEEHE colleagues are to me are intriguing and require elaboration and that process in itself is creative in discovering and revealing new links and connections.
We have been engaged in discussions about creative and critical approaches to evaluation and I have been able to offer some of my reflection on critical realist forms of evaluation as we have thought together about participatory methodologies.
These have not all been formal meetings – being around has encourage ‘door leaning’ and exchanges of the ‘I was just thinking about that last night and …’ while propping up someone’s office door.
We have made plans to continue collaborating into the future including collaborative writing.
In my experience these futures are made much more possible because of the face to face exchanges – informal email and other chat flows much more easily when real contacts have been made.
For a ‘pom’ the Newcastle sunshine has also enlivened my days after a particular dank and dark winter and I’ve fallen in love with Newcastle as a place and I’m on nodding terms with other early morning Ocean Pool bathers who are 'oldies' like me.
So thank you Penny and all CEEHE colleagues - it’s been a real joy and I am sure CEEHE will flourish into the future.