[Img: part of my living room – is it techy, arty, muso, or academic?]
It’s come to my notice recently that some ‘esteemed’ colleagues seem to be under the wildly inaccurate impression that technically minded people (whatever that means…) cannot be very academic. Maybe they think of them as slightly illiterate even. Certainly not the sort of people who are able to express themselves or think about philosophical concepts or have deep and meaningful discussions. Or quote references. Or read, you know, books. It beggars belief.
For starters, most technical people I know are also very artistic or musical, and a lot of us have first degrees or professional experience in the ‘arts’. Secondly, there’s that old nutshell: “well I’m not technical, but my excuse is that I read a lot of books” sort of argument. If you’re too thick for a computer, just say so. It doesn’t mean that people who are good with tech can’t do anything else, even though you’d love to think it so. No, usually we can all do lots of other things too, and very well.
For example, I’m immersed in writing a paper at the moment which in significant part (though not exclusively) references Ronald Barnett and ideas around interdisciplinarity and his infamous ‘supercomplexity’. I’m not over the top about how I discuss it as I believe in transparent non-dense language, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t deep. In fact, many academics might likely have a run for their money understanding some of it.
It has come to light that this is not what is expected of me. I am expected only to be ‘techy’ and a bit ‘rock and roll’ (whatever that means…). But not learned, knowledgeable or erudite. Which of course I am, in spades.
You know what? Some people need to learn the olde saying, don’t judge a book by its cover. Or that academics come in many shapes and sizes.