Deaf geographies, and other worlds.
OK, so here’s a bizarre proof of Utopian Theory if I ever saw one…
If you read this regularly, you’ll know that I finished my PhD in 2009 – right at the point when the bottom dropped out of the UK Higher Education job market – and have been eagerly looking for an academic position ever since.
In the meantime, I’ve made myself useful in IT Services at the University of Bristol where I have a secure job that I quite enjoy – and dipped into as much teaching and writing as I can afford.
It’s not academia though, so that’s still the eventual aim… except that getting into academia is almost impossible if you don’t have the required publications or funding – and I don’t, because my job hasn’t allowed me time to write, or apply.
Consequently, although I have the ‘potential’ to be a successful academic – all of the jobs that are advertised are out of my league, even though they are for ‘beginners’.
However, now, things are slowly changing.
In the last 6 months, my job has provided just enough space that I’ve been able to put together proposal ideas. I now find myself in a position to prepare occasional funding applications for others, and so – to fund myself into a position as an RA.
Progress is still laborious. Anything that I do on the funding is done around my existing job… so at lunchtimes and early mornings… 9 to 5 I’m still employed to do I.T.
However, should one of the applications come off, it would effectively ‘buy me out’ of IT Services and put me into a full time research position with no teaching, no admin and little to do but research, think and write – the Holy Grail of academic positions.
And so, I’ve been gradually plugging away at applications, dreaming of the 100% research career that awaits me when the golden goose of fortune drops that golden egg into my lap.
And then, out of the blue, there’s a position advertised that appears to cater for really early career academics, i.e.: those who have potential, but haven’t yet started.
And, bizarrely, I hesitate before applying with the thought that – if I take it – I won’t be able to devote myself entirely to research.
If there was ever a case to prove the effectiveness of Utopia as Method: the idea that a fictitious reality can become so ‘normal’ that when we snap back to reality, we see it through a different set of eyes, then I am living it.
The position is quite a distance away, and the work will be hard. But it’s a no brainer, surely?