Listen to this post
Finally got them all to Crystal Palace Park #dinosaurs pic.twitter.com/sps9rKwB8o
— Dr. Donna Lanclos (@DonnaLanclos) June 17, 2018
Around this time last year my family and I were getting ready to move ourselves to the UK for the year. We have, since end of July 2017, been physically based in Kingston-on-Thames, just southish from central London.
It’s been great.
It’s been hectic.
It’s been challenging.
I am so glad we did this.
Over the course of this year I have facilitated workshops, delivered talks, keynoted at conferences, conducted research, and spent a lot of time on UK (and occasionally other) trains going from place to place. I have published two book chapters, and two articles in the 2017-18 academic year.
I have worked in, visited, or otherwise found myself in: Oxford, Edinburgh, Leicester, Cambridge, Belfast, Lancaster, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Warwick, Milton Keynes, Middlesbrough, Manchester, Galway, Coventry, and London London London. Oh and there was also that detour in the Fall where I had the great good pleasure of visiting New Zealand, far too briefly. I have given presentations to the following organizations: the International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries, ALT-C, Lianza, UCISA Digital Capabilities Group, CPD25, and the Forum for Interlending. I have worked and talked with people at UEL, UWL, Kingston University, the LSE, UAL, Goldsmiths, King’s, UCL, and that’s just in London. I have been working closely with colleagues at Jisc on their Digital Leadership Course as well as on a year-long project about teaching practices, and have done other small research projects here and there that have helped me think in constructive ways about how people approach academic work, especially but not exclusively in terms of digital tools, places, and platforms.
If I’ve lost track of you I’m sorry I will remember I know I will. I believe my point is: I have been busy, people have been generous, I have been invited, and I am grateful for the work I’ve gotten to do this year.
So, what do I do now?
We have to go back. There is work to be done in the US that has nothing to do with HE, FE, digital leadership, or libraries.
I have quit my job in the library at UNC Charlotte. It is time for new things, and I am also not entirely sure what they will be now.
I had wanted to write a sort of “I’m hanging out my shingle” post here, something where I plant a flag or wave my hands and say “I’m here and I’d love to work with you.” Maybe that’s what I am doing, but I am profoundly aware that I don’t actually know what is going to happen next.
I have worked so much this year. Will anyone want me to work with or for them next year?
What will my network in the UK look like when I am no longer a relatively easy train ride away? How will my US network respond to my being back?
What can I build, now that I have done what I have done this year?
With whom can I build whatever it will be?
I don’t know. I have some ideas but I don’t really know.
In the meantime, I will be back in Charlotte NC but also already making plans to be back in the UK in the autumn.
It is hard to have hope. I will try to hope anyway.
And I hope to see you all again soon.
When it’s not hard to have hope the stakes are usually too low to give a damn. My favorite quote which has become my mantra for this year and probably more years to come is, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.” I love that you don’t know what you’re going to build yet or what you’re going to create/make. You’ve already set in motion going back in the fall to where you haven’t even left yet and I think it’s wonderful that no limits have been set by knowing what to do next. It’s terribly exciting! And though it goes without saying I must say it for sheer pleasure, I am so very very proud of you. You make my heart brim up with glee. Know that I am reaching out to squeeze your hand and whisper, “Don’t worry, Donna. You got this!”
thank you sweetheart, you mean the world to me