Linden Wilkinson

Linden Wilkinson's(BEc '73, BTeach '05, M.Ed.(Res.) '08, PhD(Research) '14) education has straddled multiple areas of a study. A relative latecomer to teaching, Linden had already completed a Bachelor of Arts (Acting, NIDA) and a Bachelor of Economics before working extensively in the Australian film and television industry as an actor and writer. Deciding to change streams, she enrolled in a BTeach, graduating in 2005. This marked the beginning of a profound inquiry for Linden into the concept of learning – she has since completed a M.Ed (Research) in 2008 and a PhD (Research) in 2014.

1. Could you tell us about yourself, your background, and why you decided to become a teacher?

Linden Wilkinson: I had worked in the Arts as an actor, a writer and an occasional teacher before doing a teaching degree, so I was a very much a late-comer. Once at University after many years in ‘the industry’ I discovered higher learning and took to that like a duck to water. This was completely unexpected. So, really, I thought I was becoming a teacher but actually I evolved into a student instead. And then a researcher. And I think this long journey to teaching has been a fantastic adventure in learning.

2. Could you tell us a little bit about where you’re currently teaching?

Linden Wilkinson: I am currently teaching in secondary schools. However I still consider myself to be primarily a researcher and hopefully I bring that curiosity and that experience into the classroom.

3. What degree/s did you complete and was there something in particular that attracted you to these courses of study?

Linden Wilkinson: I have now completed five degrees, which is rather a surprise. My first degree was in Economics, which is a whole other surprise in retrospect. My second was a degree in Acting from NIDA and the next three all relate to Education: a Bachelor of Teaching, a Master of Education (Research) and a PhD. All degrees other than Economics are related to Drama: the teaching of it and the making of it. To me the thing that all degrees have in common reflects a desire to understand how the world works – at first I saw it as a force imposed from without; now I’m choosing to understand it as emanating from cultural forces within.

4. How do you think your degree has supported you in your professional life?

Linden Wilkinson: My degrees have supported a movement across professional activities, so that I have been able to continue generating ideas with performance outcomes across a range of projects from a variety of spheres including Education, Arts practice and Industry. The degrees have informed approaches to these different tasks, creating valuable theoretical frameworks through which to address a variety of challenges. And studying for so long has meant sharing ideas and experience with other colleagues also on research journeys, which has been and continues to be incredibly enriching.

5. What are your happiest memories from your time here as a student?

Linden Wilkinson: Highest on my list of happiest memories would be the friendship of other students and staff and of course, the satisfaction of completing particularly the Master’s degree and the Doctorate.

6. Who was your favourite Professor while you were studying? Why?

Linden Wilkinson: This is an impossible question to answer! Everyone I’ve worked closely with at any level has been fantastic: vocationally-driven, generous and unfailingly encouraging.

7. What is the mantra you live by and what drives you?

Linden Wilkinson: Depends on the day!

8. What advice would you give to students graduating from the University of Sydney?

Linden Wilkinson: Keep in touch. You’ll never know when you might want to return.

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