Humans of ANU Law: Professor Stephen Bottomley FAAL
Stephen Bottomley

Stephen Bottomley FAAL is a Professor at ANU College of Law.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself including what brought you to ANU.

My family and I moved to Canberra from Sydney in 1988, when I took up a position as lecturer in what was then called the Faculty of Law. I’d taught for several years before then in the Legal Studies Department in a College of Advanced Education. The move was prompted by many factors including the quality of life in Canberra, a wish to escape some gruelling teaching hours, and my desire to be part of a community of research-minded scholars.

2. What is your favourite spot on campus?

When I head outside I usually head to the seats alongside Sullivans Creek, down behind the cricket practice nets on Fellows Oval

3. How do you relax away from university?

In many ways, but my favourite pastime is to grab my binoculars, a field guide, and go birdwatching – spending time in the bush, just observing and listening. It’s my form of meditation.

4. What was your dream job as a child?

At a very young age I wanted to be a dentist. I have no idea why. Then, at an older age, I realised that I wouldn’t really enjoy that job (mainly because I didn’t enjoy being a dental patient), so I shifted my aspiration to becoming a National Parks and Wildlife ranger. I’m not sure why that dream never came true.

5. If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?

When I first read this question I didn’t have my reading glasses on, and misread it as "one hysterical figure", prompting a brain-overload of possible answers. The actual question invites more sober reflection. I decided on Socrates, but it would be a short meeting: apart from "kalimera", I don't speak Greek.

6. Who’s your favourite fictional character?

Dr Who – but that raises the very tricky question of "which Dr"? I know that many of my colleagues are Dr Who fans, so in the interests of peace and harmony, I won’t nominate my personal favourite.

7. What’s a project or hobby you’re currently working on that motivates you?

Still working on the manuscript for a book about shareholders and responsibility. It has been with me for so long that it is beginning to move from "motivates you" to "challenges you".

8. What’s your favourite quote?

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” - Yogi Berra

9. What was the last book you read?

The Mobster’s Lament, by Ray Celestin (part 3 of a quartet of books that wonderfully blends crime fiction – my favourite genre, the history of jazz, and US social history)

10. What’s an underrated movie?

Pretty much every movie I like

11. What’s your favourite dish?

A good Margherita pizza

12. What’s your favourite place in Canberra to visit?

Namadgi National Park (OK, technically not "in Canberra"; if you want to be technical, Shepherd’s Lookout, over the Murrumbidgee River)

13. What’s your favourite song or playlist to work to?

Lots of tracks, but when I’m working it has to be instrumental, not vocal, otherwise I start singing along which is (a) distracting for me and (b) painful for anyone in hearing range

14. What’s a skill you’d like to learn?

I’d like to learn how to juggle – the real thing, not the metaphorical "time management/office triage" stuff we do every day

15. What advice would you give to others feeling uneasy during this time?

Talk. To other people (we are all confronting similar challenges). And to yourself, in a self-affirming way.

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