Showtime

We are coming to the end of the conventional academic year. Across most of the University, exams have been taken and marking is well underway. But that also means that – as the title of this blog indicates – it’s showtime.  In the Head Post Office, the Sheffield Institute of Art degree show is on,…

Book lists

I love books.  I always have two or three books on the go.  Always a novel, which tends to get read in bed.  I’ve just finished Melissa Harrison’s All Among the Barley, which opens as a pastoral idyll of England in the 1930s but darkens and deepens, with fascism more than in the background and a…

University Mental Health Day

How do you feel when you’re asked how you feel?  University Mental Health Day (UMHD) is this week – a national initiative on Thursday 7 March to focus attention on mental health: on the importance of good mental health and on the challenges – for all of us – of mental ill-health. Deborah Harry, our…

New Year, new blog

Traditionally, it’s the time of the year to look ahead and make predictions about what the New Year has in store for us.  But predictions are – mostly – a mug’s game. The New Yorker magazine had great fun a couple of weeks ago revisiting an article it published in 1968, in which it invited contributors…

Twelve Hallam Days of Christmas 2018

Most of us have our festive traditions – the family meal, the Boxing Day walk, the silly sweaters.  My definition of a tradition is that it begins when something happens two years in a row for the same reason.  And so, like last year (and looking forward to next) here are 2018’s twelve Hallam days…

Graduation 2018 – a view from the stage

We are just halfway through the University’s annual graduation ceremonies. I spent a good deal of last week, and will spend a good deal of this one, at City Hall, as participant—and, of course, observer—as another cohort of the University’s students complete their journey with us. You have an odd perspective from the stage: the…

One hundred years

The guns fell silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The time and date of the 1918 Armistice acquired significance quickly. The first Remembrance Day was just two years later.  On 8 November 1920, Brigadier General Louis Wyatt had arrived at a makeshift chapel at St Pol in northern…

Pernicious and undermining: essay mills

I was scammed a couple of weeks ago.  It began plausibly enough: an apparent LinkedIn message from a senior politician who I know a little.  It was soon clear, from the content of the torrent of messages that followed, that he’d been hacked and his connections were being targeted.  I clicked out of the conversation…

New beginnings 2018

It’s that time of year again.  Not necessarily Keats’s ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’: there’s the first hint of a chill in the morning; the evenings are beginning to draw in.  But it’s the start of a new academic year.  I love it.  I love the preparation and the busyness, the sense of potential,…

Here we go again

We went to the cinema twice over the summer. The first time, my wife and a couple of my daughters took me to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the new film featuring the music of Abba. If you’ve seen it, I can reassure you that we won’t be re-designing our graduation ceremonies. If…