So, I have made it to Melbourne! The trip was fine, if long, and I was lucky enough to be met at the airport by a family friend, Deborah, who drove me to my temporary accommodation and handed me a very welcome care package of fruit and stuff. Helped when the jet-lag munchies hit in the middle of the night. Since then, the focus has been on sorting everything out at the university and finding somewhere to live. I’m enrolled in my courses for this semester and already have the assignments for the Critical and Creative Thinking course. My timetable will mean I am in seminars all day Tuesday and half of Friday. It’s going to be an adjustment after more than 20 years of getting up and going to work 5 days a week! At the moment it feels a bit like a holiday, but once the university stuff kicks in next week (Freshers Week! known as O-week here) I’m sure I’ll start getting my head round the fact that I am here for 18 months.
Twitter has proved its usefulness here as much as in the UK in connecting with interesting people. There seems to be a strong social media scene here, with people doing some real thinking about the issues around its use, including in a public sector context. Craig Thomler of Delib (whose UK arm managed our online debate for the Citizens’ Dialogue, as it happens) did this presentation on record-keeping of social media, an issue which I think generally needs more consideration in the digital age. What are future historians going to use as material for understanding the 21st century if everything is either locked away in defunct technology or lost in the ether? This image from Craig’s presentation says it all.
They also have a project where they highlight best practice from public bodies on Twitter: GreatOzGovTweet. Wonder what would get picked up if we did that in Europe?
By the way, if you’re interested in the more personal aspects of my time in Melbourne, then take a look at Euonym’s bits and pieces on Tumblr.
Thanks to matt.davis on Flickr for the feature photo, which is used under a Creative Commons license.
Well, the day is just about here when I load as much as I can into two suitcases and head to the airport to fly to Melbourne. It simultaneously feels like I’ve been planning this for ages and that it has come round very quickly.
I will try to blog a bit more than I have been doing recently, not least because things will be so different and interesting. And I will, for the first time in years, have time to really think about things and I can’t tell you how exciting that is.
The course I am doing is the Executive Master of Arts and one of the reasons I chose it was for the strong focus on communication. One of the core courses is Professional Communication and many of the possible electives have a communication focus, such as Mobility, Culture and Communication. So who knows where this will take me.
I also thought the move and change of emphasis (from a work blog to something more academic) justified a new look!
In advance of heading off to Australia, I’ve been rethinking my social media activities a little. Once I leave the Commission, I will use @euonymblog on Twitter for the things I use it for now and write about here – digital and tech, media and communication issues, EU stuff, education, social enterprise. I’ve also set up a Facebook page for those sorts of things, as Facebook is so big in Australia.
I will of course stop contributing to @EUlondonrep, which will be a bit of a wrench, as that was my very first Twitter account But it has outgrown me and its original purpose, which is very satisfying to see!
Hopefully whoever replaces me at the Rep will be as enthusiastic about the potential of digital tools to connect with people and understand better their hopes, aspirations and concerns with regards to the EU. And equally hopefully I will meet as many amazing people through using social media there as I have here in the UK!
Something very exciting is happening to me in a few month’s time. I will be packing up a couple of bags and moving to Melbourne for 18 months. I’ve decided to go back to university, and have been accepted on to the Executive Master of Arts at Melbourne, a leadership-type programme targeted at people in mid-career, and with a strong communication component, which I’m sure you can imagine appealed to me very strongly! I think a new perspective on the world, from a part of it that I don’t know very well, is just what I need at the moment.
I’ll definitely keep blogging, and hopefully will have more time and more space in my head to devote to it. I’m sure I’ll be interested in the same kind of issues on the other side of the world: tech, engagement with politics, use of social media especially for the public sector, EU stuff and foreign languages.
I’ve still got a few months in London, culminating in the Citizens’ Dialogue event on 10 February, so you’ll still be hearing from me here for a while yet.
Pour moi, une grande joie de ma vie à Londres, c’est d’habiter une ville multilingue. Juste ce matin, pendant mon voyage quotidien au bureau, j’ai entendu 5 ou 6 langues autre que l’anglais, dans le Tube et dans les rues. Les langues changent d’un quartier à l’autre – dans le sud-est de Londres, j’entendais beaucoup de langues africaines et il y a aussi des communautés chinoise et vietnamienne là-bas. A Chiswick, c’est plutôt des langues européens. Cette carte montre très clairement la diversité des langues à Londres et (ce que je trouve le plus intéressant) les regroupe par “famille”.
A partir de mars de l’année prochaine, je vais me retrouver dans une autre grande ville avec une diversité linguistique, c’est-à-dire Melbourne, Australie. C’est assez connu que Melbourne héberge des grandes populations d’origine grecque et italienne. Mais selon ces chiffres, presqu’un tiers de la population de la ville parle une langue autre que l’anglais chez eux. Certes c’est en grande mesure du aux étudiants étrangers, mais pour moi, c’est une grande avantage de Melbourne face aux autres villes australiennes. Vive la diversité linguistique!