There is much that I have come to remember that I missed about university. Like learning – that feeling as though you are actually becoming smarter with each article read. Or that feeling of checking books out of the library as though you were becoming wiser for the exercise. Like the conversations that draw late into the night on the strings of ideas of the world as it could be. I’ve also come to remember exams – that periodic test of otherwise unshakable self-belief.
I’ve learned my hegemony and my ideology, my news values and my theories of democratic media. I’ve checked the past paper and gone to the learning groups. So, as any good student whose exam has not quite yet arrived (it’s on Friday afternoon if you’re curious), I have taken to procrastinating instead. The internet makes a fabulous collaborator in such crimes.
But in a fantasy, I can imagine a world one day where I can and do apply.
It was in the middle of such work avoidance tonight, that Katherine of blogless (and therefore unlinkable) fame sent me a link to a post on ReliefWeb advertising for a short stint as a photographer for the United Nations Development Programme in Juba, Southern Sudan.In a nutshell, because the link will likely expire into the ether in time, the UNDP was essentially looking for a photojournalist to go on assignment to cover their activities in and around Southern Sudan and create a portfolio that can be used for their advocacy work.
Reading over the details of the contract, it struck me that this, one day, is what I would dearly love to be able to do. This is precisely the kind of place whose stories need telling. Whose light should be captured and shared deeply with the rest of the world. For now, the timing is wrong. And I don’t have the skills or gear required. Not yet.
But in a fantasy, I can imagine a world one day where I can and do apply. Where I am a little more qualified, experienced and well equipped. Where I go for that fortnight and weave the most incredible stories of place and person, head and heart. It’ll happen one day, and remembering that reminds me why I came here. Why I must learn my hegemony and my ideology, my news values and my theories of democratic media.
They are the subtle thread that links Richard in Grahamstown to Richard who can tell the stories from the places we never see. And as far as my future self has value, so too does every inch of that thread.