Performing the University
When the university moved from the physical to the virtual, some of us in the academic side of proceedings slotted back into the work from home roles we’ve used over the years from our times in PhD studies through to those quiet “get away from the office” moments when we needed to mark, or research, or do our dayjob.
However, as the weeks rolled on, and the return to campus became less of a 2020 and more of 2022 scenario, we started to realised just how much more the university is than a space with an office. Whilst it was a relatively easy decision, given the alternatives, for us to move to “performing the university” from home, we started to recognise that operating in the same physical space without the signifiers of different roles was proving more of a challenge. Once we were over the first system shock of transferring to Emergency Remote Teaching, the next challenge was switching on our ‘at work’ when nothing functionally changed in the environment around us, and equally, switching off for the ‘at home’ experience in the same lounge room, kitchen or apartment space that was hosting the day job.
Drawing on our consumer behaviour knowledge, services marketing role theory and some match practice, we came to a collective conclusion that a key to ‘performing the university’ was to find a signifier, ritual or behaviour that could help us switch on and, equally, switch off the different facets of our life being performed at the same place, space and computer screen
I asked my students in MKTG7028 Digital Marketing Communications and MKTG2032 eMarketing to consider the question “What do you do to signify it’s ‘university time’?” as a means of sharing and understanding what it takes to “switch on” for going to university. Here now are our shared views of what makes the transition from home to work without moving that far across the living room table…