The spirit of collegiality makes seeking wisdom possible – Greg Acciaioli, Philippa Maddern Award Recipient

Many thanks for this award. I am humbled and honoured to receive it. This award is a monument to Philippa’s leadership, but it is not the only one. The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions is another aspect of her legacy. The Centre is particularly important not only for its collaborative ethos, but also for a focus on a topic that truly requires more attention in our contemporary context. What is the emotional climate in our universities as they become leaner and even meaner in response to funding cuts and the neoliberal colossus of every increasing corporatisation? In many ways the parameters of this award thus converge with a prime focus of the centre. That focus has been a continuing concern of mine.

My first years of postgraduate education in the USA were funded by a Danforth Fellowship. This fellowship was primarily oriented to preparing, through workshops and other activities, educators who would teach in liberal arts colleges. That term educator has been a guiding one for me, as to me education should be the focus of not only liberal arts colleges, but universities as well. I have been appalled by the reorientation of the Australian tertiary sector toward training, the transmission of skill sets, even in terms of the very term used for many PhD scholarships – research training fellowships. To me education is a much more encompassing process oriented to the cultivation of critical and compassionate sensibilities. And in fostering those sensibilities the pastoral functions we perform as educators are paramount. While I agree that we must be professional in our workplace, much of how we foster those sensibilities must be through personal rather than just professional relationships. In many ways that has been my credo, however often I have come short in practice.

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