My Melbourne with Mike Flattley

September 13 / 120

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What’s your role at the University?

I am the Deputy Director of Cultural Development.

How long have you been at the University?

I’ve never graduated in one sense. It’s pretty much become my hometown. I started here in 1990 as a student and I’ve maintained some connection with the University throughout the intervening periods.

What does a the typical day at the University look like for you?

It’s usually concerned with a variety of projects that we have on the go at any given moment. So, moving from on meeting to another concerned with progressing those projects along and also working on policy and planning strategy around the cultural arena at the University. It’s an interesting day. The role is an interesting role and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.

What is the best part of working at the University?

It has to be the University community itself. It’s an amazing community. The University is a vibrant, active, intellectually engaging place to work. I love the meetings I’m in of course as they are largely around ideas generation, it’s around the possibilities and the ideals and principals that come with those possibilities as well. You have to allow yourself an enormous amount of time to get from one meeting to another because you will always run into two, three or four colleagues you are delighted to see who have five fantastic ideas they want to tell you about.

What sort of advice have you been given about working at the University?

Always get some distance from the emotion in a transaction before you choose to express yourself. If you need to get something off your chest, put it in an email and either send it to yourself or to someone you trust and ask for their feedback before you hit send to someone you may want to have words with.

What is something about yourself that no one at the University knows?

I’ve got an artistic background. That’s probably not a surprise in my current role but previous to this role, I’ve largely been in solid administrative roles. I also have a keen interest in politics and activism. I’ve found as I’ve got older, and as a gentleman of a certain age, that the whole paradigm of ‘think global, act local’ is something that resonates with me. As a younger person I was very frustrated that the experience of trying to enact global change was pretty much impossible as one little person in one little corner of the world. But you can make a difference to your immediate contexts as either an employee at a university, or as a resident in some little corner of Melbourne. So what some people may not know about me is that I’m fairly active in my community in helping my neighbours and my friends to help shape the way our community works and the landscape around us as well.

One of the projects you are currently working on is the Festival of Ideas 2013, which will be occurring in the next couple of weeks. Can you suggest to our readers some of the events that will be occurring?

It’s very hard to do because it is an enormous program this year. We have over a hundred speakers coming. Its just blinding how many people are coming. One thing I would like to draw people’s attention to is the complementary program, which is something I’m very proud of. It is not actually the output of the Festival secretariat, which I lead; it’s the output of the broader university community of students, staff and partners. Our core program is fabulous and everyone should come to it but could I recommend that everyone take a look at the complementary program and see what their colleagues, friends and students are doing which is remarkable.

For more information on the Festival of Ideas 2013:

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