Thursday, December 09, 2010

Random thoughts on VATE 2010

Arriving at Deakin Uni, my colleague, KD, and I headed straight into the keynote. No time for coffee. First, the inaugural Ian Maxwell address delivered by his grandson, Roland. Nicely nostalgic and anecdotal. And brief. Breathed a sigh of relief thinking this was it. But this was the Jubilee Conference; a self-congratulatory name-dropping conference, it seemed, when our revered speaker took the podium, striding out confidently in frock, blazer and high heels, despite the prodigious weight of her CV. Down hill from there. Aunty Doreen’s quasi-religious gumleafy earnest Welcome to Country had already given me a push. It’s just me. I’m irreverent.

The incredibly well-credentialed keynote speaker read, and misread, a tedious potted history of VATE. Her misreading and subsequent apologising was almost punctuation. Couldn’t see from my seat whether or not she was wearing reading glasses. If she wasn’t, she should be. If she was, time for an upgrade. Was a bit surprised that she seemed to have written in her speech “And now perhaps with my principal’s hat on”. Thought those remarks were off the cuff. Apparently not.

It was about this time that someone in the control booth turned on the massive slideshow so we had Deakin Uni spruiking its stuff behind her. Maybe she flicked a switch herself to wake us up. It was a bit hard to concentrate, even though I know it’s important that VATE has achieved all this stuff. At this point I opened my notebook and started focusing on the woman in front of me in her puff sleeved beige patterned shirt with a Christmas decoration pinning up her hair. Quite diverting watching her fumbling to get a rattly Eclipse mint from her little tin without making a noise. KD was playing with his iPhone and around me people were poking through the contents of their show bags.

The only way to proceed after this was up. I wasn't disappointed. More later, perhaps.

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