On Monday, I officially received word that I have been granted a Keith and Dorothy Mackay Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship by the University. This means that I can afford to go to the International meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Auckland in July to present the paper I have had accepted in the Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts Unit. Actually, as I said to one of the members of the selection committee who greeted me yesterday with “so, you’re going to Auckland”, we would have found the money somehow to get me there, but this means my family won’t need to give up things so I can go swanning off overseas.
I don’t know who Keith and Dorothy Mackay were, but they made a very generous bequest to the university quite some time ago, the interest from which makes it possible to offer scholarships to students doing their honours year and to postgrads who have had papers accepted at international conferences or who have arranged for an attachment to a university overseas for research purposes. The honours scholarships make a huge difference to needy students. One recipient I know was so pleased that her “Keith and Dorothy” meant that she could afford to buy text books and some new shoes and jeans and pay her rent and eat.
The prospect of presenting is not a little daunting. I’ve presented papers at international conferences before, but they’ve been chaplaincy conferences. This is my first presentation of my doctoral work outside the university.