I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, August 03, 2009

The clink of beans

Not so long ago, I was blogging here, here, here and here about an essay I was writing on stained glass windows in medievalist film. Thanks again to everyone who chimed in with comments and suggestions: many of them found their way into the final essay, which has now been refereed and given the thumbs up by the two readers. That was very quick, wasn't it?

I guess I can now reveal the journal is Screening the Past. I have to get the final version back to the editor by mid-September, and I think they are still planning to publish this special issue on medievalism this year. That's a very fast turnaround. In the final version I'll be adding in a couple of acknowledgements to readers, so do let me know if you would prefer me not to use the name you used when you signed in to my comments box, ok? The final title is "Transparent Walls: Stained Glass and Cinematic Medievalism." I'll post a link when the essay finally appears.

It's always lovely to see one's work published. And in addition to the intellectual and social satisfaction of finding people think one's work is worthy of an audience, there's also the satisfying clink of another bean falling into the jar for one's annual appraisal.

I just had my interview with head of school last week to discuss my performance in 2008 (it had been delayed while I was on leave, and away, and all). Our previous, somewhat impressionistic system has now been replaced by a detailed schema of things you have to do to climb above "satisfactory" and be classed as good, very good or outstanding (in both teaching and research). It's also graded according to where you sit in the hierarchy. It's so detailed you can practically assess yourself.

At my level, I have to keep producing an average of two articles a year over five years to be graded satisfactory, then in a given year, produce more such, plus have a grant, plus a higher degree completion, plus a senior editorship, or win a Nobel prize or something, to reach "outstanding." Which I did.

There is also a little discussion of one's future career plans, etc. — and it's a nice chance to sit down with one's Head and talk, in any case. But there's no doubt it's become as regimented as this to make sure everyone really is producing enough publications to keep them research active. And as we saw last year in my Faculty, if you don't keep those beans falling into the jar, things can become very unpleasant indeed.

Given that the university has now announced there'll be more job cuts across a range of faculties, and given a contentious review of the school of historical studies, and the full-page spread in the Age today on the arts faculty, and Friday night's Stateline coverage, too, my workplace is still pretty much in crisis mode. Sigh. I'm now on long service leave, though, so I'm hardly going in to the office. And no. While I'm going to have a bit of a holiday soon, my days are pretty much the same as when I was on study leave. Lucky I enjoy my research!

Anyway, this will be my third essay to appear this year, which puts me safely over the line in terms of my productivity. Did I mention my other two essays for this year? I don't believe I did.

An essay in antiTHESIS, our wonderful fully refereed postgraduate journal (special issue on Exhibitionism): "Medievalism, the Queen and the Dandy" — Garter stuff, Annie Liebovitz's encounter with the Queen and her Garter robes, and Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson.

An essay written with Tom Prendergast, "The Negative Erotics of Medievalism" in The Post-Historical Middle Ages, edited by Liz Scala and Sylvia Federico.

Of course, what I really want to do is finish this book. Back to it tomorrow. Now, I must hang out the washing, go to the gym (!), go to the Medieval Round Table, then cook dinner and do Italian homework.

1 comment:

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

You know, you'd be a lot more productive if you didn't do so much laundry, stopped exercising, didn't eat dinner, and ceased learning extra languages. You could have five beans in your can. Five beans are better than dinner, right?