Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Pictures of universities

You can tell from my my recent half-written blog posts, introducing topics I promise to come back to and then forget, that I am in a highly fragmented research phase right now. I am trying to fill in the gaps of research done more systematically, period-by-period in the past, so I am in lots of decades and also in lots of different university archives.

I like visiting other universities. I think even just the feel of a campus gives away something of organisational culture. It might be my imagination, but I often think I can 'feel' something of the environment that led to the historical events I am researching. I certainly felt that way at Monash: though it was probably assisted by the fact they were in the middle of a student election when I visited.

I've started taking photos with my phone on campuses and here are two from our biggest universities in Sydney.

Firstly, UNSW: a sign letting us know this is THE quadrangle lawn, which should be respected by not playing ball games. From the angle here you can see the postmodern cloister and it looks kind of Quad-like.

But from the other side, the angle I first saw it from, it appears that it is a patch of lawn between buildings, making 'Quad' seem especially aspirational:

Somehow, both the aspirational Quadrangle, the fact it needed a sign to signal its existence and the need to request respect for it with no ball games seemed very UNSW.

Just as crazy in a totally different way is Sydney University, which rejoices in providing over-complicated systems, cryptic instructions and vague guidelines. Like this:

I'm waiting. Now what?

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