May 2023

11 May 2023

Welcome to my May blog.

After some glorious days of autumn sunshine, it feels as though we are now already in the depths of winter with some of the lowest May temperatures on record. The footy is there as a consolation, of course, especially if you’re a Collingwood, Melbourne, or St Kilda fan. Personally, I’m following the slow but sure demise of my beloved Southampton FC (aka the Saints) in the English Premier League, who now seem certain of relegation to the Division below. I’m trying not to read too much into the fact that their tenure in the EPL will almost precisely match my time at La Trobe. We’ve both had a good run with plenty of ups and downs.

At the University, our students will soon be preparing for exams which start at the beginning of June. At the other end of the student lifecycle, we’ve been hosting graduations at the Melbourne campus this week, with Bendigo to follow in the week of 22 May. It was an honour to take part in the procession we held last month with Bendigo TAFE to mark 150 years of tertiary education in Bendigo since the opening of the School of Mines in 1873. It will be wonderful to see our newest Bendigo alumni join the ranks of the many people who have graduated in the city over the years.

As usual, I’d now like to share a few recent achievements from around the University.

Writers on writing

The 2023 Bendigo Writers Festival took place last weekend. Judging by the early online reviews, it was a huge success. Congratulations to Clare Wright for helping to put together such a successful program as guest curator. Clare also moderated some of the most popular sessions, including the Festival finale with Tom Keneally and Barry Jones.

Many La Trobe staff and alumni took part in the festival. Well done to everyone who moderated a discussion, spoke on a panel, or was involved in planning and working behind the scenes.

For those who missed out, some of the talks were recorded and will appear as La Trobe University podcasts, while others will be broadcast on Radio National.

Embracing diversity

Our PhD student and Project Manager of the University’s Neurodiversity program, Beth Radulski, was incredibly impressive during her interview as part of our all-staff webinar on 16 March. Beth has now been profiled in The Age about her work at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre. Beth is managing a unique program to create improvements in the way that workplaces support neurodiverse people.

Conversations online

Many of you will have heard of The Conversation website. It’s an excellent way for researchers to communicate their work to a wider audience. In 2022, 93 La Trobe academics published 130 articles through The Conversation which collectively found a readership of just over six million people, much of this through republication around the world.

Articles published by La Trobe authors had a wide reach, with 71 per cent of readers outside Australia. Publishing with The Conversation also led to follow-up TV, radio, and print interviews for more than half of the authors. 13 per cent of writers were invited to speak at conferences, and 14 per cent were approached by businesses about consulting work or collaboration.

The most read articles included Jenny Graves’ article on men losing their Y chromosome; an article co-authored by Caroline Baker about oral cancer; and an article by Sianan Healy, a Tracey Banivanua Mar Fellow, about involuntary childlessness.

If you’re interested in broadening your impact as a researcher, please consider The Conversation.

Good books

Our Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow Dennis Altman is known around the world for his ground-breaking writing on sexuality and politics. Since his first book, Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation, was published in 1971, Dennis has written seventeen books on a wide range of topics. Dennis has now turned his hand to fiction. His crime novel, Death in the Sauna, is being launched at Readings in Carlton on 23 May.

Upcoming events

The second Ideas and Society event for the year is on 23 May and will consider one of the most pressing issues currently facing Australia: the housing crisis. Peter Mares from the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership will facilitate an online discussion with affordable housing consultant Jennifer Kulas, Richard Dennis from the Australia Institute, and Julie Lawson from RMIT. This will be an important discussion about the structural causes of the housing crisis, the most vulnerable groups facing homelessness, and what can be done to increase the availability of affordable housing. You can book your spot here.

The Asian Studies in Focus seminar series being presented by La Trobe Asia is in full swing. The series highlights Asian Studies research and teaching at La Trobe. You can register now for upcoming seminars, including Ma Yifu and His Understanding of Confucianism with Chunmei Pan on 1 June.

In closing

That’s it for another month at La Trobe. I look forward to seeing you on campus as we work toward the end of Semester 1.

If you follow football, I hope your team is doing well this season!