Away for the first part of the strike on a skiing trip in the Rocky Mountains, my holiday reading included an article about Wallace Stegner and how he once thought of the American West as ‘the geography of hope’ (Stegner, cited in Sandford, 2016, p 107).
This phrase, and the article I was reading, prompted many thoughts about the environment and the contributions I make to its deterioration and preservation. However, the idea of a geography of hope also struck me as an apt description for the landscape of the my picketing colleagues, which I’d been glimpsing through images shared in Whatsapp and on this website.
These non-human images represent the physical and creative efforts of people standing up for an alternative, more hopeful future than the one that we have been presented with.
Of course, the humans that are not present in these images are the real geography of hope. Whilst we long to be at work, the silver lining of the strike is that it has given colleagues, students, alumni and supporters the opportunity to come together in solidarity and creativity. We have re-fused as a community to share values and ideas that go beyond our day-to-day work and re-imagine the University. Our refusal to work has led to a refocusing on the University as a community for education and equality.
Sandford, R. W. 2016. A sense of mountain place. In: Legault, S. 2016. Imagine this valley. Victoria: Rocky Mountain Books, pp. 97-118.