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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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I usually start my New Year’s resolutions on the 28th or 29th December. I do this because I don’t like the season of excess; I come out of it feeling unfit, bloated, unstructured etc. Last year’s resolutions went somewhat down the pan as the pandemic blew everything away.

This year, I have some personal goals:

  1. I put on 7kg during the pandemic. I want to lose this.
  2. I will achieve this by upping my exercise. I will cycle 6 hours per week. I will walk Toby every day. I will aim to get back to being able to do 100 sit-ups and 20 pull ups.
  3. I will cut back on my drinking. I had got to the point of drinking (too much) every night. I will limit my drinking to 3 nights per week.

In terms of academia, The Good Bits:

  1. I will begin work on my 10th book. There are a couple of articles on which I also wish to focus my efforts, but breaking the back of this will be the priority.
  2. I will make time for my research, every day. This will probably mean the early starts that I’ve done since September, but it’s going in my calendar as ‘research time’. It’s the bit of the job I really love. It calms me down. It makes it worthwhile.
  3. Teaching and postgraduate research supervision. I have enjoyed my MA teaching this year – even though it’s remote. Ph.D. supervision continues to be interesting, although also quite a lot of work.

I’ve realised that some parts of my job stress me to hell. I have various severe anxiety and panic problems, caused by a decade and a half of corticosteroid treatment for my autoimmune conditions, but I need to be less stressed by these parts:

  1. OLH. The Open Library of Humanities hovers around break-even every year at present. It has a surplus in the bank. But some of our suppliers are massively raising their prices, during a pandemic when we are worried about library renewals and new signups. I need to feel less stressed about this because so much of it is outside of my control. It is, though, the thing about which I lose the most sleep (literally). However, I will spend the first half of this year conducting a thorough review of our cost structures and doing all we can to reduce outgoings.
  2. COPIM. This is hard work. There are lots of complexities to negotiate and we need to get it right.
  3. The Strategic Digital Lead role. I am Birkbeck’s Strategic Lead for Digital Education. And wow, I did not foresee the way this would escalate. It looked as though we had a nice clear space in which to gradually introduce digital education around our existing framework.