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Zbigniew A Pelczynski 1925 - 2021

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Zbigniew Pelczynski, "100% Polish, 100% English - 200% Man"

My later father-in-law was an inspiration. I did not know him as a student - I didn't study Philosophy at Oxford. I got to know the family through his children a few years after graduating - and then married his eldest daughter.

His death on 22nd June has had us reflecting on life now that 'we' are now the oldest in the family. It is our turn. I see life now as nothing more prosaic then the conveyor-belt from 'The Generation Game' with a series of events and people passing you by. At some point there is nothing left, you lean in to see what's coming next and in turn you are gathered up and dropped over the edge.

If I life as long as Zbyszek (also known as ZAP) then I have close to 26 years to go - 27 years if I live as long as my maternal grandfather, 3 years my paternal grandfather, 12 years my later father ... we'll see.

ZAP remained busy despite being blind and wearing a hearing aid - he had his son as carer, Alexa and a rotation of young Polish helpers with whom he spent the last years and months corresponding with former students from Oxford and the School for Leaders, Warsaw or posting content on his website pelczynski.org. His books and papers are going to a couple of academic libraries. 

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Design Museum

The inaugural lecture of Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011, 10:16

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Making polite conversation before the event I found myself speaking to her son and daughter, one at university the other recently graduated. I asked what it was like to have a parent as an academic.  

I also find myself talking to John Traxler and the Director of the IET.

I'm getting used to the idea that I neither get out an autograph book or talk shop (even if this lecture will feed into my ECA).  

In the introduction we learn that Agnes was born in Poland then 'dropped' into Scotland  

She has even more then in common with my Polish academic father-in-law.

Clearly her early interests in languages and computing have brought her where she is today. For opinion and insight we were spoilt; I'll offer it in due course. Are we not all the product of our earlier interests? Where we put down deeper, longer lasting routes?

I used to be nicknamed 'Video Vernon' which perhaps explains how I spent my university days.

You can or will be able to view it all for yourselves.

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Getting away from it ... not quite

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:55

A journey across the country to visit family. I find my 85 year old father-in-law translating some Polish to complete a voice over for YouTube clip the Warsaw uprising. This his son tells me is recorded onto his Nebook and edited using Audacity.

For the next hour we discuss how leadership migh be taught online.

He is 85 today. My wife and celebrate 17 years of marriage. I reflect on knowing the family for 26 years, a younger sister introducing me to her older brother being introdcued to the parents and then some years later discovering there was another sister with whom it turns out I deveoloped a soft spot.

After dinner I sit with my sister-in-law's partner, who lectures/tutors fine art, art history and philosophy. It is well after midnight before we tire. I had thought of pressing the record button on the digital recorded I have with me; tomorrow. I recall that their use of technology so far includes little more than tutorials by mobile phone; which has its conveniences.

He put the kibosh on my thinking regarding the commercialisation of education which I conclude is fine for corporations where you are an employee and the company is the client, but not for the freedom to think what you please, indeed without the scope to innovate how would be progress.

Or something like that.

I suppose had I recorded the lengthy discussion I could at least quote him correctly.

But wouldn't recording such a discussion have sullied it?

 

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