Moving on

I have used this blog to break news in the past. In the main my blog has been a forum for academic lawyering and related pontificating, but I have also dabbled in politics and other areas of interest, and even used the blog to share life-changing news and the related ongoing health challenges then the new normal that followed on from that. The blog has, in varying degrees, become a bit of an extension of my personality. As such, and despite a relative lull in my blogging output of late, it still felt kind of fitting to break some news over a basedrones post. So here goes.

After over eight years at the School of Law at the University of Aberdeen, I have accepted a post at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. I start there in a month’s time.

Okay, where do I start with this news? Naturally, I am excited about the move to my alma mater and the city of Glasgow, but I will start with the Aberdeen-side of things. First and foremost, this flit should not be taken as a sign that I am running away from a terrible institution or anything like that. Aberdeen has been good to me, and by “Aberdeen” I suppose I mean the University, the city, and – yes – sometimes even the football team. I have family connections in the north east too. Several people from my dad’s side of the family live in and around Aberdeen. Without hyperbole, it will be a wrench to leave.

On the academic side of things, had I not got the job at Strathclyde I could have merrily continued at the University of Aberdeen and I don’t think anyone would have noticed me being in a wantaway mindset or anything like that. I will always be grateful to those who took a punt on me by offering me my first academic job, and to the colleagues in the School of Law* (see below) and the rest of the University of Aberdeen who offered friendship and support since I came on board in March 2011.

Leaving the city of Aberdeen will also involve physical and mental upheaval. The extended uni community has been good to me, ranging from people in the local bookshop, barber, eateries, and indeed hostelries. Aberdeen Gaelic Choir has been a big part of my life for the past few years, and the unfortunate timing of my leaving the choir when it is in such good shape and indeed just after our first major prize in sixty years is really quite something. (Oh, by the way, we won the Puirt competition at the Mòd in Glasgow this month: yay!) The extended Aberdeen music scene (some members of which I know from actual folk music/piping circles, others I know from just hanging around the Blue Lamp too much) has been great to me too. Then there are a whole bunch of people I would really have preferred not to meet, although having met them I am happy to have them in my life. This sounds a bit opaque, but this refers to the medical team and extended support network I met after my cancer diagnosis in 2013: I wouldn’t exactly recommend cancer, but the cancer community (a strange form of words, I know) has been a strange bonus. As an example, I bumped into someone I now know from ARI at the Aberdeen Beach parkrun the other weekend (yet another bit of Aberdeen life that I will be moving on from). He was timekeeping and I was (sort of) running, and he shouted friendly encouragement as I neared the end. After the event I told him about my planned move and (without wishing to put words in anyone’s mouth) this person who I only got to know through one of my lowest ebbs seemed genuinely sorry to hear I will be leaving. In turn, I will be genuinely sorry to leave.

That being the case, I will indeed be leaving. Why? As noted already, Strathclyde is my alma mater. This is not just a nostalgic move though. I think it is one that can work personally and professionally. As regards the personal, my immediate family stay in Renfrewshire, so it will – mainly – be good to be nearer them. On the job front, I will be lecturing in Scots private law, and with Strathclyde’s established Diploma in Professional Legal Practice team this could involve me stepping back a bit from that side of professional legal education as compared to my current role at Aberdeen. That being said, Strathclyde do host the CLT team, offering CPD to lawyers, so I might be able to get involved with that side of professional education.

Also of particular interest, and admittedly with a spattering of nostalgia, this move to Strathclyde will give me a chance to get involved with a student law clinic that I was a founder member of. Of course, the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has been doing fine without me and (like the DPLP set-up) is suitably well-established, but this move will, I hope, revitalise my own involvement with pro bono; assuming they’ll have me. Working with students at Strathclyde could also double as an opportunity to drive forward with some of the property law things I have been doing (perhaps through the Scottish University Land Unit, or by deploying some of my landlord and tenant know-how, which, incidentally, was honed alongside Strathclyde’s Peter Robson).

What of where I am moving to? Yes, I am pretty excited to be moving back to Glasgow. As I said above, I reckon I could have continued at Aberdeen on a steady ship, and settling into a new routine in a new(ish) place will take some readjustment. They say a change is as good as a rest though, so I am hoping I can revitalise myself and my scholarship a bit, and whilst I am not wholeheartedly looking forward to the literal and metaphorical decluttering that a move necessitates I am optimistic I will be fresher for it in due course.

So there it is. I could go on (and if anyone feels the need for further explanation feel free to comment below and I’ll try my best to explain myself), but I will leave it at that for now. What I will note in conclusion is I can’t imagine I will be a stranger to Aberdeen. My academic tenure at the School of Law and my own Diploma in Legal Practice year a wee while ago, not to mention my various family visits over the years, mean I have spent the best part of a decade in Aberdeen, so I have plenty connections in Grampian and it would be a shame to lose touch completely. Meanwhile, Aberdonian visitors in Glasgow will be very welcome: bring butteries. Finally, for any Glaswegians or Kilbarchan Habbies who thought I had escaped, it turns out I’ll be back. I’ll let you be the judge of whether that is a good thing from your perspective.


* Except for Professor Roddy Paisley** – I look forward to continuing my grudge against him from the Central Belt.

** I don’t actually have a grudge against Roddy, by the way. He’s lovely. For some reason I thought setting up a mock academic rivalry would be funny though.


About basedrones

Bachelor of Laws. Scots academic lawyer. English law qualified. Took far too long to write this bio. Blogs on legal issues, with occasional veering into other purportedly intellectual stuff from time to time. Tweets about legal issues, education, law clinics, fitba, music, rogue cell division and not at all about politics at @MalcolmCombe.
This entry was posted in Aberdeen, Academia, Blogging, Culture, Strathclyde and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Moving on

  1. Pingback: My 2019 in review | basedrones

  2. Pingback: University of Aberdeen School of Law Blog | basedrones

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