This article focuses on academic temporalities to consider the rhythms, repetitions and discontinuities of academic work. Using a photo-serial methodology which generated an archive of images taken at the same time of day for a fortnight, we take up material and affective theories to rethink academic work as assemblages or micro-worlds that emerge through happenstance at particular moments. Our nonrepresentational, new materialist approach shifts away from discursive analyses of accounts of academic labour, and from assumptions of visual methods as ‘documentary’ representations of the world. We adopt an emergent, processual and experimental mode of inquiry that works against linearity, and an analytical approach that attends to the ‘punctum’ of images through glimpses, tangents and elusive details. The contributions of this paper lie in its mobilization of images to think differently about the ubiquity and ‘throwntogetherness’ of academic labour, and its theoretical reframing of academic temporalities as composed of affective and material entanglements of events, relations, doings, objects, and spaces of all kinds.