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How does one retire after four decades of university study?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 12:02pm

A question that has no doubt crossed the minds of many academics, and is the focus of the latest volume of The Arab World Geographer, featuring articles from two Otago University retired Geographers Blair Fitzharris and Peter Holland. The titles of the articles, Clearly I remain a geographer for life and Still Searching, give some suggestion that retirement doesn’t mean a complete removal from the academic world, with both making significant contributions to their field since retirement.

Emeritus Professor Blair Fitzharris

Blair Fitzharris took up a contract to be a Convening Lead Author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the first three years after he retired, whilst also starting a consultancy company.

It wasn’t until his wife suggested he was working a bit hard for a retired person that he considered reducing his workload.

Emeritus Professor Peter Holland

Peter Holland spent seven years after his retirement “closing down” a complicated career in teaching, research supervision and administration as well as publishing a book, a handful of book chapters and a dozen articles.

In fact he is showing no signs of slowing down, currently researching another book and three articles.

Articles in the Arab World Geographer

The articles were two of twenty-one, all giving a window into the everyday life of a retired geographer. The authors were invited to explore the understandings and projects that evolved once they had been freed from a formal university framework and give insight into how life can influence research.

This issue of Arab World Geographer was published for the 33rd International Geographical Congress to be held in Beijing China later this year, and can be found online.

Read Blair and Peter’s articles.