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How did I get here? Well I haven’t been here forever. I failed all my exams at school and so became a worker at Blidworth Colliery in Nottinghamshire (Soap Box… you know, before Thatcher wiped out a whole working community of a couple of hundred thousand in one stroke. Yes people unemployed are always acceptable as long as it’s all done in the name of a free market, tell that to the Nuclear Industry, even if the European market, in fact all markets aren’t truly free!). But while loads of people liked it I didn’t, so I took some courses and got myself onto a degree program. And hey-presto here I am!
It took about 4 years of part-time study (while working) to get to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). From there it took a total of 4 years for my B.Eng. and M.Eng. and I worked the vacations in the Technology for Disabled People Unit. Then another year for my M.Phil. while working for the Software Engineering Group at UMIST. I then moved to Manchester Computing to work on distance learning including WebCT and Blackboard as well as some other bespoke solutions. At the same time I signed up for a Part-Time PhD at the University of Manchester in Computer Science looking at Visual Impairment, Mobility, and the Web. It took two and a half years. After a break of about 6 months to sail the Mediterranean, a bit of poetic licence here, after many disasters including a dis-masting I ended up sailing in UK waters for most of the time… Oh the dream… (did I tell you have a 7 metre yacht? Not flash but quite fast for it’s size and it took my 5 years of eating beans to buy it) I ‘re-upped’ with the Department of Computer Science at Manchester as a Research Associate without portfolio. This actually meant that I taught my professors modules and advised her students while pursuing my own research. Well that about brings us up to date, just to say that I was made a Fellow as of October 2004, I was awarded a Career Development Fellowship by the University, in September 2005, was made a lecturer in January 2006, and a senior lecturer in August 2010.
I live happily in Manchester (UK) with my artistic Armenian fiancee. I’m an active supporter of many charities, among them Greenpeace, Amnesty, MSF, and Oxfam. I’ve travelled solo through Europe, Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East – and most other places on research related activities. I’m a qualified yachtsman and an avid kayaker and sub-aqua diver. And I like nothing better than a good curry and a good beer; in fact I’m an all around gastronome and Bon viveur!
Who Pays Me?
The University of Manchester are my main employer and I do some additional technical work for the Journal of Web Semantics. I’m also paid a small amount for collaborations with Fujitsu from Manchester Informatics Ltd. All is bound up with the University of Manchester and so becomes indivisible. This is all; I receive no other payments.
What are my Politics?
I vote Labour, I’m reasonably ethical, global warming due to Greenhouse gases IS OCCURRING, all politicians are self serving and power hungry – just deal with it – we therefore have lots of control. Make changes to your own life don’t complain about the things that governments aren’t doing and then forget about it. You should take control of your own life.
Am I in a Union?
Yes, I’m a member of the University and College Union (UCU). The UCU trade union represents lecturers, professors and researchers, as well as administrative, library and computing staff in universities across the UK. We represent around 110, 000 academic and academic related staff in Further and Higher Education. I’m not particularly active in the union however I tend to be quite hard line (it’s my NUM upbringing) in voting and industrial actions.