So the interview yesterday was at a 60s campus Uni up north, a place I'd never been before and rather, ahem, different from Oxford in both style and appearance. The town is small and pleasant if provincial, the campus is ugly but functional and nicely laid out. The faculty is quite impressive, they've some interesting scholars there, and everyone was very friendly. They interviewed 7 of us, all aged 28-36ish, with at most 6 years and at least 2 months of post-doctoral experience. The other candidates worked on Albania, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, French Algeria & France. Between them there were some very interesting people with some great research projects there, all working either directly or tangentially on nationalism, identity and their respective constructions.
In the morning we each had to give a 15 minute presentation on our research, both what we'd done in the past & where we were hoping to go with it next, followed by 5 minutes of questions. This I thought went quite well, I can talk fluently and with enthusiasm about my research and people seemed interested and asked good questions. Though of course we didn't see one another's presentations, having chatted with the other candidates I was pretty confident about the quality and scope of my work relative to theirs.
In the afternoon there was the actual interview, 35 minutes with a panel of 5, which was ok in the parts where I discussed my research, more or less, but pretty grim in the teaching sections. They didn't like the course proposal I'd sent and as good as told me it looked boring, and they asked me a few things which threw me into a mild wobble. I think I need to work on my interview terchnique a bit, really. But I was also acutely conscious of having no experience of teaching in this kind of university, and that the Oxbridge system is in some respects a poor preparation for teaching in a regular uni. I suspect that some of the other candidates would have been much better prepared and qualified in that regard.
Anyway I should hear in the next 48 hours or so. I don't expect to get it but I enjoyed the experience and it made me think more about what I want out of my career. I could see myself getting on ok there. But long-term I wouldn't want to be there I don't think. And more than ever it makes me wonder if actually it's what I want to do, at least in the next year or two. sigh. decisions. I kind of feel that taking at least a year out of the system, getting this book contract keep thinking about and bashing that out whilst I do a couple of articles and some translation to live by might not be what I most want to do. The question is, can I make a living like that? Who knows.