In a return to one of the original motivations for keeping this blog, I'm going to talk about an ARC application. Not the Discovery grants that are due in now (sympathies to anyone in the final throes of this process), but the big national round for Centres of Excellence.
This is a highly competitive round that only comes up every couple of years. We think about 20 will be funded in the current round, and half of those will probably be renewals of successful existing centres. If you consider that all fields are eligible, you can see how tough it will be for research in the humanities to tick all the boxes of international collaboration and national interest, and to compete with disciplines with much longer histories of team research.
However, the clever medieval and early modern folk at the University of Western Australia, who developed the successful ARC Network for Early European Research, are putting together an application for a Centre of Excellence. It will be a Centre for the History of Emotion, spanning approximately 1100-1800. I'm glad to say I'm on the team as one of the potential Program Leaders. We heard recently that of the 230+* expressions of interest, about 50* have been encouraged to submit a full application in April; and we are one such, so we are madly scrambling to put ideas and plans together.
I love working with these people. They are models of enthusiastic interdisciplinary collaboration; and we are really enjoying thinking about how to make connections, both nationally and internationally, with other scholars of the medieval and early modern; with musicians, writers, galleries, etc. And I'm thinking about all the folk in Australia and other countries it'd be so cool to have funds to support visits from. But the project would also investigate the long history, or the afterlife, of early European emotional regimes as they are played out in Australian and colonial culture (this would be my wing of the project).
So, in addition to getting ready to teach two new subjects in twelve days' time, working on other research projects, and a bunch of other things, and making sure the English program as a whole is ready for the academic year, I need to write up a couple of prospective research projects. Not from scratch, obviously: there's stuff in my head, though I'm not going to disclose it all here. Instead, I want to express some of the excitement about this new venture. As we said with the Network, even if we don't get it, we will still develop some neat collaborative research ideas for smaller grants.
Oh, and the other academic in the household has also had his expression of interest go through to the next round, too. The family that applies for grants together...
And ... can I just say: I had lunch (grilled chilli calamari, and grilled semolina-dusted polenta) with Pavlov's Cat? And it was good. Very good. It had been way too long since I'd seen her (when she was last in Melbourne, I was in Perth); and she was looking terrific. We shared lunch with two other cronies; and it was just one of those lovely, relaxed occasions, with no ... edge, you know? What a shame I had to go and talk to a bunch of incoming students, as they were ordering another glass of crisp-looking white wine!
*Corrected figures: of 111 applications, 32 have been shortlisted. Our odds just got better!