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March 20, 2012 / michaelsankey

My Values

I have been giving some thought to the types of values that I like to hold dear.  This will be a list that, i assume, will be added to over time, but to start with i would like to be a person who is:

  • Fun-loving
  • Reliable
  • Likeable
  • Passionate
  • Enthusiastic
  • Energetic
  • Authentic
  • Irreligious
  • Unpretentious
  • Unprejudiced
  • Decent
February 7, 2012 / michaelsankey

The path of least resistance

When recently in Canberra I visited the Australian National University (ANU) to meet  with a colleague and discuss the Moodle LMS upgrade we (USQ) are currently undertaking. Interesting though that was, albeit just run-of-the-mill stuff, one has to keep ones eyes open for the quirky stuff going on around you, for sometimes you come across a real gem (not always) and when you do it can bring some joy into what might otherwise be seen as mundane. At least it does for me 🙂

Shortcut at ANU

Take for example this picture. I took this while on the way to my appointment. We love to set out our preferred paths for people, the way we think life should be lived. The official path is logical and predictable and clearly conforms with someones plan, or blueprint, for how people should move around the campus. But in reality, this path is not necessarily practical. The students and probably the staff at ANU have found, over the years, that the path their forefathers had wanted them to follow (between the different buildings) was not the best path, not the most efficient or practical. So despite the possibility of getting ones shoes wet or dirty, people have preferred to exercise a level of discretion (some might suggest defiance) in creating for themselves another way of reaching the same goal.  Presumably, this would have driven the ground-staff mad over the years, but one suspects that they have probably come to terms with this by now, otherwise you would probably see barricades in place to try and stop people taking that shortcut.

So what should one make of this in terms of what we are establishing for others though and in our lives; particularly as lecturers and as academics? Are we stipulating the way things should be done because that is the most efficient way of doing it, or because it’s our preference. If the goal is ‘the end game’ does it matter which way we take to get there? A rhetorical question of course. The question should be rather, how do we capture the creative nature of this, particularly in relation to learning? The point is, we all have the power to create, to discover and to shape the world around us. We determine how we love people (or otherwise), how we respond to situations, rather than react. So the same drive that makes us want to buck the system and cut the corner can presumably also be used for good 🙂

January 25, 2012 / michaelsankey

Recent trip to Canberra

I recently spent a week in the National Capital, bumming around the galleries and sights. I had a great time. I accompanied Kim while she was attending a week long workshop at ANU. It was the third of three weeks of a well earned rest before facing a new job and new management structure at work.

Mother and Child

Admiring Bellini's Mother and Child

As my undergraduate degrees are in visual arts and photography I make it a point, when visiting Canberra, to visit  as many galleries and exhibitions as I can. On this particular occasion i was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Renaissance exhibition at the National Gallery. Although a bit under-whelming as compared to all the hype that was surrounding it, i nevertheless enjoyed the experience. i saw many of these works back in 1978 when visiting Italy, but those memories are probably more faded that the pictures themselves.

There is something enduring about work that is so vibrant and at the time so meaningful.  We look at these images in the light of history, but really this was the artists reality, they lived and breathed this stuff, not unlike those artists of today.

1st century

Book written in about 860 AD

I was also fortunate enough to see the Handwritten exhibition at the National Library. This exhibition featured handwritten works dating back to the first century AD up to the recent past. The works were by famous figures throughout history; scientists, philosophers, musicians and artists. a fascinating collection.

I did a lot of walking also while in Canberra, something that tends to give me a bit of an appetite for food that is probably a bit richer than i should be indulging in.

Yum

Blackberry Cheesecake

This particular delicacy was a bit excessive, but I think I exercised most of it off by the end of my trip 🙂

From there I went to the High Court. Last time I was in Canberra the court was closed so i was unable to visit. i must say i was taken by the internal dimensions of the building and the use of space. I was also taken by the sense of pomp and correctness.

High Court

The Australian High Court

Enough for now. Stay tuned for my second blog on my trip to Canberra.

December 13, 2011 / michaelsankey

The two of us

The two of us

In September, Kim and I went to Lord Howe Island for a week, over the time of our thirtieth wedding anniversary. it was just the best time ever. we walked, rode, swam and enjoyed everything we did. What joy to be there with the love of my life.