Almost a year ago to the day, I asked the question “Where were you?” in my blog. That was after the talks given by last year’s Honorary Doctors, which were very interesting but sadly not as well attended as I’d hoped. It got me thinking about where we come together to meet and how we can create relevant meeting places for academic discussion.
The Honorary Doctors’ presentations on 26 May are the perfect opportunity to meet, and this year I strongly encourage you to attend in order to be inspired, get new ideas and meet colleagues across the departmental divides. Come along and listen to LTH’s Honorary Doctors, Takehiko Kitamori, Keith Trigwell and Heike Riel – talk about their research on Thursday 26 May.
I am convinced that it is important for us academics to meet more often, and in slighly unexpected groupings, but how do we go about doing it?
These unplanned meetings are all about gaining new perspectives and generating new ideas. The odd thing is that we talk more and more about transcending subject area and organisational divides, and yet we are becoming increasingly isolated and have fewer opportunities to meet. We often say it’s because we don’t have the time, but I am sure it’s largely a question of priorities. We tend to prioritise emergent tasks over those that have long-term gain. How often do we not find ourselves thinking “I should do this more often” following attendance at an “unnecessary” but interestingly titled seminar? Many of us are bad at going to events and talks that fall outside our own areas, and this results in fewer good ideas being generated. When we choose to go to seminars on topics we already know a lot about, we may have our existing knowledge confirmed, but perhaps we’re not being challenged?
Creative environments are about enabling people to meet. Each and every one of us can help create places to meet by changing our mindsets and making the effort to come together for important meetings.
Personally, I have committed to making LTH into a sustainable campus, and one important reason behind that is to create a living campus where we have more opportunities to meet.Next year I would like to put on concerts on our campus, and invite the public to enjoy our lovely park. That can create some interesting meetings!
But first I hope to see you all at the Honorary Doctors’ presentations on 26 May. I’ll be there!
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH
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