I already have an online presence for myself at The Smart Casual, where I seek to unpack the myths and realities of being a long-term casual academic and casual worker based on my own experiences, so “Why am I here?” is a good question.
Being a casual academic is oftentimes a lonely and isolating experience. Without an office space or even common space to meet at, I tend to do all of my work from my home office out in the suburbs. Much of the interactions I have with my colleagues has been via backdoor channels: privately organised gatherings and social events, as opposed to being facilitated by the institutions at which I work. My communications with my colleagues are usually limited to brusque emails communicating facts, rather than the collegiate style communications which could help counter these feelings of isolation and fatigue I am coming to experience here in my eighth non-consecutive year of casual teaching. I am very much looking forward to collaborating and engaging with my colleagues in this space which welcomes such interaction and involvement.
This is a unique point in time. The casual unrest is growing, and doesn’t exist just in Australia but is a global movement. I started my own blog as an outlet for my own thoughts on my place within academia, probably not properly realising the vein of discontent I was tapping into. My own stories are the stories of my colleagues are the stories of my friends are the stories of dissatisfied adjuncts across the world. CASA can be a unified home for all of our stories.
Let’s open up the communication channels between casual workers, full-time employees, and university administration and direct discourse around this issue in a positive and proactive way. As research from Robyn May has proven, the long-term outlook for sessional academics is particularly grim, so we need to think about what we can do to improve the reality here and now. Let’s share our stories and take this opportunity to change the reality for casual and sessional workers across higher education.