My guest this week is Fran Beaton, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education, who, like me, has been at the University of Kent since 2004. Fran also studied for her first degree at Kent in the 1970s in Modern Languages, and we talk about the differences between Kent now and then. We learn that Fran was brought up in East Anglia and that there was a strong Welsh dimension to her childhood, also. We talk about the extent to which childhood memories are composite in form and about the change of culture in 30 years around ‘stranger danger’.
Fran tells us why she didn’t keep a diary as a child and we discuss different styles of writing, such as creative and academic. We learn whether Fran is a Beatles or a Rolling Stones person, and she tells us about how she grew up around classical music, including Benjamin Britten operas which were performed in East Anglia, and we find out about Fran’s passion for going to the theatre, and the danger of things going wrong on stage.
Fran reveals how she ended up studying languages and talks about the amazing teachers she had at school, how she wanted to travel, and the various skills acquired at university. We learn that Fran trained to be a teacher and moved into becoming a teacher educator and we talk about the value of peer review and doing a PGCHE.
While Fran was a student there was the debate about leaving the EEC (a case of history repeating itself!) and we talk about the influence in her life of CND and about the role of politics in shaping our lives. Fran also discusses watching ‘Monty Python’ as a student – when everyone would gather around the Junior Common Room.
In the final part of the interview Fran unpacks some of the baggage around nostalgia and we talk about developing resilience. We learn what her 18 year old self was dead set against doing – and how she ended up doing just that! – and we find out whether Fran is a looking back or a looking forward type of person.
Please note: Opinions expressed are solely those of Chris Deacy and Fran Beaton and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of Kent.