In the coming days I will be receiving the proofs for my book, Shakespeare, Theatre, and Time, about to be published in early summer.  I am not making an attempt here at shameless self-promotion (ok, maybe a little), but the fact that a major project like this is nearing its end has me reflecting on how we do our work in higher education.  In particular, as the University enters its four-week Easter break, I am thinking about the amount of time we allow ourselves – staff and students – for genuine, productive reflection on the tasks we undertake.  It is no new news that we live in a culture that often demands multi-tasking and rapid movement from one set task/outcome to the next.  But it is equally important – especially in higher education, where we engage in study and in detailed interrogations of complex ideas and practices – to stretch and deepen our time as well.  We strive where we can to include as a significant part of our process focused reflection: a kind of ‘slow’ time wherein we can absorb, and thereby further, the learning that is associated with individual tasks. 

When classes resume in May, our Theatre students will be remarkably busy with a great deal of exciting work; they are preparing for major productions (the first years for a staging of Hamlet, the second years for a devised production of one-on-one theatre called 21 Tables), and undertaking the technical support for these and other shows in DFT.  They are also preparing for final presentations in academic modules, and the second-years in particular are working on plans for next year, be that a placement year or the progression through to the third year of the degree.  Both before and during this busy period, I encourage them to find some slow time, and to use it productively, and the same can, and should, be said for staff.  It is, after all, vital that while we move from achievement to achievement, we take such time to allow our activities to sink in, and become a part of us.  A great deal of learning takes place in such reflective processes, and while I’m immensely proud of all the work being done in Theatre this year, I’ll be even prouder, and happier, to see that work filled out with the fullness of considered, thoughtful reflection.

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