Name: Dave Darwent
What do you do at the university?
I teach on the Post 16 & F.E. PGCE programme, and also do a lot of liaison and training work with our partner settings. I’m also engaged in some research in the field of Education and I’m working in collaboration with other colleagues setting up MOOCs for Mentor Training. I am liaising with LEAD over work that I may also do with them on staff development.
What have you worked on within Signal?
I try to attend as many SIGNAL meetings as I can and I have hosted the LGBTea summer tea party. I have represented SIGNAL at staff induction events and will continue to do this. I have not yet helped at external events such as PRIDE but do plant to do a lot more of this in the future.
How has being a member of Signal benefited you?
Networking and feeling that I am part of a positive and forward-thinking group of colleagues working for a highly supportive employer are the main benefits to date. Although I’ve been very out and very proud (and often quite loud!) since I was 18, being a member of SIGNAL has increased my confidence in being openly out at work to a degree which surprised me, so that is clearly a very big benefit. SIGNAL membership has also raised my awareness of some issues in the wider community.
If I was rich I’d be called eccentric, but as I’m not I’m just the “mad baker”: my four main hobbies are baking, which includes devising a good number of new and novel cakes such as my English Garden Cake and Brussels Sprout & Avocado Cake; gardening – I open my garden for the National Gardens Scheme up to ten times per year; walking, which includes plotting, testing & photographing new routes for publication by WalkingWorld, and collecting & restoring vintage domestic appliances – it’s quite likely that I’m the only person you will meet who still uses a 1938 Hoover Junior for my daily cleaning and a 1983 washing machine for my laundry, but with another 15 or so vacuums to choose from I’ll never have an excuse for not cleaning! (But I’m delighted to say that I have friends with over 400 vacuums and 95 fully operational washing machines, so I’m not all that mad really … honest). There’s actually quite a sizeable community of vintage appliance collectors and almost all of us are LGBT, so maybe there is a research project there somewhere?