This article adopts critical auto-ethnography to examine how Australian university unions and unionists have developed strategies for campus activism. The enablers and restraints on union activism in Australian higher education are discussed using the device of vignettes of a unionist active in the sector from the 1980’s onwards, and an agenda for the future raised.
I’m becoming. I’m becoming authentic. I’m becoming solid in the fact that I am good at my job, that I deserve to be in front of these students each day, just as much as any white, cishet male counterparts with degrees from way up North. I’m becoming solid in the understanding that by accepting my own identities (and the privileges and oppressions that come with them) I can clear space for my students to do the same.
I have found that academia can offer a lower-class West Virginian from a single-mother family the chance to live an illusion. I have been able to travel countries, gain audiences of affluent scholars, and been given a platform for my voice that I would not have received outside of academia.