The Homer Half-Hour Podcast #5: An Interview with Professor Richard Baker

[UPDATE: This post’s header image was changed to include a couple of photos sent through to us by Richard—the first is from 1977, Richard’s first year of university, and the second is from 1989, with his first daughter. Glorious, right?]

We’ve done a whole series of ‘role model reading’ interviews on this website (you can find them all here, if you’re interested). They’re all about broadening the idea of what men might aspire to be, and behind everyone was a long, audio-recorded conversation. Well, one of the luxuries of our new podcast is that it allows us to bring you one of these interviews first-hand, saving us the trouble of transcribing the bloody thing.

In this episode, Ashley Thomson went to the office of Professor Richard Baker, a man who appeared in one of his university courses in 2016 and made a distinct impression. Baker was once a geographer, and though he now serves as the Australian National University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor of University Experience, it was his lectures on his time as a young man working in the Gulf of Carpentaria with the Yanyuwa people that compelled Ashley to contact him about how he got there.

What compels a man, he wondered, to spend years of his life in an unfamiliar environment, learning the stories and history of people with whom he had no pre-existing familiarity?

Baker mentions a couple of things in the episode which you may want to look up (although you’ll just have to take his word about the photos and books in his office that he mentions).

There’s a book edited by Fay Gale called We Are Bosses Ourselves, for one, and another by Henry Reynolds called The Other Side of the Frontier, and though Baker neglects to mention it, there’s his own book, Land is Life, which is on his work with the Yanyuwa people.

By the way, if you’ve noticed that the last three episodes of the podcast have all been to do with the Australian National University, don’t worry, that’s not permanent.

This podcast’s existence, y’see, owes a lot to a student leadership program run by the ANU, and Homer’s founding editor Ashley Thomson just graduated that program.

Since the podcast would never have existed were it not for the support of that leadership program, we thought we’d use some its first few episodes to explore issues that arose at the university. After this, though, we’ll be back to looking at issues well beyond our direct experience, let alone areas of expertise.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to hear us discuss, or if you have feedback on any of the episodes we’ve produced so far. Thanks for listening! (And if you’re an iTunes user, you can find the podcast on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-homer-half-hour/id1220677361.)

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