This has felt like a big week. Sandra has been in kick-ass mood, because the Vice-Chancellor (think 'the President') of her university announced a couple of weeks ago out of the blue that the nursing faculty was to lose its entire undergraduate load. Just like that! This was in response, one can only assume, to a federal government attempt to control the number of faculties in a single city offering the same program - there is another Uni with a nursing faculty just down the road. Of course both universities (and the three other universities in this city) have pretty much identical science programs and humanities programs and so on. That isn't seen to be a problem, but nursing, which in fact at her university has several unique programs, some of which bring in very large amounts of money from overseas, is. What's with that?
Partly it is because the government has put a cap on the fees that universities can charge for nursing and teaching courses, so universities would rather take any other kind of student. They are denying this, of course. Depending on your level of paranoia I'm sure that any amount of misogyny, prejudice and downright ignorance of what the faculty was doing and what nurses actually do in the 21st century could also enter the equation. But the point is that Sandra and her other senior colleagues, along with most of the nursing profession in the state, are fighting back. I'll let you know when there are developments.
My job is working out well. I had my first go on the helpdesk, answering the phones, and it went well. The questions I couldn't answer I just said I ring them back, and nobody minded. I think this is going to be a good job. It's just having to go in every day that I mind. And I'm still finished off the contract job I took on in the last week of my unemployment, cos I really need the cash. Hence the dearth of blogging.
And on Wednesday we went to a Knitting Event! Sandra had been visiting the Federal Minister for Education in Canberra that day, and she was tired. But she came anyway. It was a panel discussion at a city bookshop called Tea in the Library. The panel was made up of designers and Important Knitting People, and there were about 100 knitters there to hear them. The joint was jumping!
The panel was Sarah Bradberry; Liz Gemmell, a well-known local designer and knitting teacher; Jane Slicer-Smith; Janette Mana (aka Jewel) and Louise Loomes, the editor of Creative Knitting. And I'm sorry, but it's not until you get out among knitters of all stripes that you realise what you're up against, trying to establish knitting as a cool thing for intelligent people to do. I thought that Janette was going to be lynched when she said she was trying to source yarn from outside Australia. These people have clearly never seen what's available in the US or Europe! Many of the questions showed a distinct lack of imagination - one woman asked about knitting on airplanes, for heaven's sake! Another woman kept interrupting, trying to promote her new knitting venture. I'm sorry, honey, but you managed to put more people off than you attracted.
But as a bonus we got to see Prudence Mapstone in one of her amazing creations.
And, finally, I got this late birthday present in the mail the other day from Lauren in New Mexico, whom I know from the gay and lesbian knitting list. Isn't she wonderful? She's called Wild Knitting Woman, and I will wear her with pride. I love brooches (what you 'murricans call pins), and usually have at least one about my person, but this one is really special. Thanks Lauren.