New directions

I’m looking for a new career, building on my skills and experience in working with people, technology, data science, and artificial intelligence. At the moment, I’m wide open to ideas for what that might be, and in what domain. As most people who know me may be aware, I have very broad interests (everything is interesting!), which makes narrowing things down a challenge. But a good one!

This means that I’ll be leaving the Open University at the end of May, after 20 years. My plan is to leave academia too, after an even longer time.

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, viewed from Pollock Halls (CC)-BY-SA David Monniaux

Although it’s been nominally the same job, more or less, for two decades, it’s not felt like it. I’ve been lucky enough to do new and different things all the way through. I’ve worked on projects from tiny ones in the margins of my own time to huge multi-million pound international collaborations, and all sorts of things in between. I’ve worked in education, languages, health and social care, business, and all sorts of science. I’ve worked with so many wonderful people, including developers, statisticians, analysts, senior managers, technologists, project managers, event organisers, support staff, media specialists, editors, architects, building contractors, accountants, policymakers, librarians, and all sorts of researchers, scholars, teachers and learners. It’s been fantastic to learn from all of them.

I may write more later about the OU, but I will always have a special place in my heart for its mission, and for its amazing staff and students. I’m very sorry to leave all that – but it’s the right time for me to change direction. So when a voluntary severance scheme was announced, I leapt at the chance. Things have been quite rough for the OU over the last few years, but I do think things are starting to improve, and the future looks bright. I wish the Open University all the very best as I head off in a different direction.

Here’s to a new start!