To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the professional and academic staff who make our College a world-leading insitution for research and teaching on Asia and the Pacific.
In this piece, we chat to Dr Kirsten Farrel, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at the School of Culture, History and Language.
What inspired you to get into area of work?
I was looking for a job after my PhD at the School of Art and saw the job advertised. I’d done my undergraduate studies in Japanese here, which opened so many opportunities for me so it seemed like a good fit. I was not prepared for the adventure that awaited me: I love working at CHL. There is always something new to learn here and the place is full of creative and passionate researchers.
Who is a woman you look up to and why?
There are so many, but I’d have to say one of the women who changed my life was my high school Bahasa Indonesia teacher, Lindy Fitzgerald. I went to Bomaderry High on the South Coast of NSW, she showed so many students how enriching knowing another culture and language could be. I worked on my parents’ milk run to save up to go on our school trip to Java. That experience led me to a student exchange in Japan after year 10 and then to the ANU to do Japanese. That led to doing Year in Asia at Kansai University and ultimately to the School of Art where I was again lucky enough to do a semester at Kyoto Seika University.
What motivates you?
Curiosity and finding connections between people.
What are you most proud of?
Managing to finish my PhD while being a mother, and also keeping my art practice going for the last 18 years.
What’s your advice to your younger self about choosing the right path and juggling life’s different demands?
Trust yourself and don't settle for less than your best.