I went along to the excellent Lunchtime Seminar yesterday. A wide ranging panel tackled the concept of vocation from different perspectives: Iain Mackenzie looked at the vocation of teaching, Stefan Rossbach considered the religious vocation, Abdulrazak Gurnah the artistic or writer’s vocation, and Farzin Deravi the academic. There was a refreshing disagreement amongst the panellists on how vocation should be understood, and the audience engaged and challenged them. Issues of excellence, professionalism, commitment, sacrifice, responsibility and visibility were raised, and these were interrogated and questioned to see if they were integral or irrelevant to vocation.
Talking to people afterwards, I got the sense that the discussion had energised and inspired people, but that it had also raised awareness of people and ideas outside of their immediate disciplines. It was what I’d always wanted the series to be: a chance to take an hour out of the academic routine to look beyond your own School and find out what’s happening elsewhere on campus, and potentially be stimulated by alternative disciplinary viewpoints.
There are two Seminars left this year: ‘Reworking Work’ on 6 April, and ‘Violent and Non-violent Protest’ on 11 May. Do come along if you are able.