After nearly nine years of teaching at RMIT University Vietnam, with hope and some trepidation I prepare for another phase of my life. There have been many: soldier, labourer, and poet to name a few, and importantly - student and teacher. I’ve taught and lectured at many institutions throughout the world - this university singly been the longest, occupying almost a quarter of my life.
I have been both learner and learned. I knew my strongest contribution was in my direct interaction with my students and my weakest were as an administrator. I saw nearly 400 students graduate from our program and go on to conquer their own worlds. I think this photograph taken in 2008 encapsulates everything I want to say here. These things were passed on to me by one of my teachers, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, who once was a political exile from Zimbabwe who has since devoted his life to finding how design can affect change, notably in human rights activism. The poster of his design shown here reads “In whatever circle of hell we live, we are free to break it”. It’s a message to fight despair, a focus on the collectivity of ‘we’ and to resist and fight for what you hold to be right and true.
In the next several weeks I will be preparing for my departure, looking forward to becoming a learner once again, on my own terms. I will be working out of my studio seeing, feeling, reading and listening to all of those things I wanted to but hadn’t the time for. I hope to be transformed into a better student, a better artist, and a better human.
Thank you to all my students past and present, my fantastic colleagues and to the university for allowing me to grow.
Lastly, in this picture: I miss you most on this time.