I have just been appointed as a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle. Although this is an honorary position, and it has no regular duties attached, it gives me a good institutional base, and I am absolutely delighted to take it up. I look forward to meeting colleagues and at least some of the university's students, taking part in seminars, access to a proper academic library again ... and all the other things that are so important to the life of the mind, but so difficult to find outside of a university environment.
It also means that I'll be able to apply for research grants and to enter into research projects with colleagues at U. Newcastle and/or elsewhere (I'm looking at you, former colleagues at Monash).
I did my initial study, including, ahem, my first PhD, at the University of Newcastle, and I have very fond memories of the classes, the teachers, and the campus environment. I knew some of the great "characters" of the 1970s and 1980s very well - among them the late Norman Talbot, who supervised my doctoral dissertation on the supposed "return to myth" in modern fictional narratives. I'm sure the university has changed a lot (for a start it has grown from a small university with about 4000 students to a rather large one with about 30,000), but much about it is still very familiar.
This is a good move from my selfish point of view, but I hope it also means that I can give something back to an institution that was good to me, and which I loved and found liberating after the somewhat oppressive environment of high school.