25 July: Smallhythe Place, Kent

My husband and I managed to escape for a day out and visited the home of Victorian actress Ellen Terry, now a National Trust property.  It contained a great many artefacts and items of interest relating to her life and the people she met.  Unfortunately I left my glasses at home so couldn’t do these justice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above image of Siegfried Sassoon is of interest and ties in with my WW1 research.

It was an interesting building with lovely gardens and tearooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 May: Bristol Cathedral Exhibition

Now we are at the end of the summer I realised that I have been very lax and not written my blog for some time but perhaps quality is better than quantity.  I have also spent long periods of PhD research and writing at home,  and producing nothing of great interest to anyone reading this blog.  So the next entries will being everything up to date.

Back in May my PhD research subject ‘Florence Farmborough’ was featured in a national WW1 touring exhibition ‘No Man’s Land’, which opened in the early part of the year in Bradford.   Alongside Farmborough it also featured images and artefacts by Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, Olive Edis, Clarice Spratling and Dawn Cole, Chloe Dewe Mathews and Alison Baskerville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the cathedral was a wonderful building having been to the private view and the opening in Bradford, I felt this exhibition worked better within a gallery setting. The cathedral exhibits were not sited together so the visitor had to search in different locations which I felt led to a loss of continuity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Bristol the exhibition was moving to Leigh and later Bishop Auckland. It was good to be able to see some of these images again. The recent images by Alison Baskerville and Chloe Dewe Mathews are certainly worth further investigation.

 

 

3 May: PhD update

The last few weeks have been challenging so I have to keep reminding myself of things that my main supervisor Karen has told me such as, that as I am part-time it need not take over my life!  It had begun to feel like that so it was time to stand back a bit.  I also reminded myself of three things:

  1. That there will be an end in sight one day not that far off.
  2. Not to get bogged down with too much information, articles etc. to wade through, as at the end of the day they are to supplement my ideas and provide evidence of my conclusions etc. and I do not need to include everything only the best bits.
  3. If I did not carry on I would be wasting all the money I had invested in this so far and would very much regret it later.

So I am back on track but not making as fast progress as I had hoped by now in view of having to submit some more writing by end of June.

However every now and then a little gem appears. I was asked by Sarah from the University of Hertfordshire who I met at the Kathe  Buchler Conference recently, to write a piece on my research for their ‘Everyday Lives in War’ website.  Whilst for those who have had lots already published this is not a major deal but for me it is a first. It has also helped in that long battle to regenerate my self-confidence!

The link to the site is https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/?p=4259S

So onwards and forwards and hopefully next time I update this I will have made great strides.

 

 

24 Mar: Witnessing War Workshop

A really interesting day at the University of Hertfordshire, in Hatfield. It was a good networking opportunity and chance to see the WW1 photographs of Kathe Buchler which have not been seen much outside of Germany and received little attention.  The speakers ranged from Jenny Matthews author of ‘Women and War’ to PhD candidates like Jo Young, talking about their research in connected areas of interest through to Jason Crowley from Manchester Metropolitans University .  During the day there was a meeting to discuss the exhibition being held until 5 May of Buchler’s work.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also managed to locate a copy of her book but unfortunately only produced in German which will be a challenge.  Still I have a German dictionary!

 

March: PhD Update

I guess I’m not going to get any brownie points for keeping my blog up to date!  However I do feel that unless there is something useful to pass on then it is not necessary to just write for the sake of it. Since my last update and meeting with my supervisor in January I have just buried myself away to research and write.  In a moment of madness I said I’d send her a big chunk of writing and it was only when I started that I realised how much I’d taken on, especially as some aspects had not been looked at before 🙁  However I felt that if I sent her my Introduction, Methodology and skeleton Literature Review then this would form a good basis for building on especially during the summer months.  For me, I need to be well organised or the amount of sources feel as if they are taking over at times.  So it is very much a day at a time and staying on track, not getting side-lined and digging deep.

I eventually submitted 14,000 words so although it was a bit rough round the edges in places and felt a bit rushed towards the end it can now be fine tuned.  It showed also the importance of having a critical friend who can point out even minor errors that you may not have spotted.  Still I am only in Year 2 so have time hopefully to make big improvements.

Some of the sources I have consulted have been more than challenging.  This rare book is worth a mention as the captions with the images are problematic in many cases but as a source of images can provide interesting information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following my supervisor’s meeting last week I now need to submit a rough plan  of action and beginnings of Chapter 2 ready for July.  If anyone says this is a big undertaking was making an understatement as I’m sure I’m not alone in continually questioning my ability to do this.  Still I’ve survived so far so that’s a positive!

 

 

 

 

31 Dec: Updates and The New Year

Is it just me or do others find New Year’s eve a real conflict of emotions? Do we always ponder over what has happened during the last year – its ups and downs and then try to at least think positively about the coming year?

PHD

This has taken over more than I ever anticipated, but being part-time I mistakenly thought that if I pulled out all the stops I could perhaps finish early and save a few pennies in the process!   Although I have the time to do it I need to find a better work / life balance so as to keep up the momentum but have some fun at the same time.  I had my first Review in November which seemed to go well, but since then I have had a major rethink about the structure of the thesis and am hoping that when I see my supervisor in a couple of weeks time she will agree that this would be a big improvement.

During the year I made great progress by firstly interviewing John Jolliffe in Mells Somerset.  He was instrumental in Florence’s diary being published and was able to fill in many pieces of the jigsaw.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst I have not been very active using social media it was through using Facebook that I was able to make contact with Florence’s great-nephew Mark and in turn her nephew (now 95) and his wife (93)!.  This led to my meeting them for lunch near Guildford and talking about Florence.  I came away feeling that I had made new close friends who were so interested in what I was doing.  So this was a very good way to finish the year.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before Christmas I went to London to see the Dali / Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy.  At last I was able to see a painting that has been on my ‘must see’ list.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had been told many years ago was told that this very powerful painting by Dali was usually hung at the end of a long room in the art gallery in Glasgow, so it was the first thing the visitor saw when they entered the room. So to see it locally was one visit not to miss.  However its position in the Royal Academy was not so impressive as it was on a wall with other paintings, so rather lost.

Turner Contemporary Research Group 

I have found that towards the end of the year my role documenting the meetings has seemed to be less needed.  If it was a meeting to merely discuss progress and did not present many photographic opportunities, then I have not offered my services unless asked.  I also found that on some occasions there was another photographer there so this meant that taking images was problematic as we were competing for floor space.  I also would spend time editing etc. after the event and sending off to interested parties only to often find that I sometimes did not even receive an acknowledgment that they had been received.

As the intended exhibition is due to take place early 2018 I am not sorry to be losing this demand on my time, as at the end of the day my PhD is more important.  It has also shown that whilst it has been an interesting experience and I have enjoyed meeting some great people in the process working with a large gallery can be challenging at times!

The New Year

Apart from working to ensure that the first draft of chapters 1 and 2 of my PhD are finished by the summer then the pressure will hopefully diminish considerably.

The TSE Research Group exhibition will be held soon so it will be good all the efforts of the group over the last two years come to fruition.  Luckily I am still working with the Walking Group and there are a couple of anticipated walks due to take place both locally and in London during the year, so another photographic opportunity.

Now that Uni has given me a small expensed fund I will be able to travel and do more research in original archives.  The first proposed trip will be up to Edinburgh in the spring (when it is warmer) to visit the National Library of Scotland to look at the work of Mairi Chisholm, so something to look forward to.

Apart from taking images for the Turner Research Group I have rather neglected my own photography so have very much missed taking myself off and just taking pictures.  I bought an old Rolleiflex TLR camera earlier in the year and have yet to give it a try out.  So that is a must together with resurrecting my darkroom and doing more analogue work.

There may be a few flying pigs around here but perhaps my writing would improve from not spending so much time chained to the PC! I hope the year will continue to bring good health and to be able to see more of friends and family.  A very happy new year to whoever may take the time to read this 🙂

 

 

 

 

6-7 Oct: Bradford

My contact Pippa Oldfield, the curator at Impressions Gallery, Bradford had notified me previously that they were holding a national touring exhibition entitled, ‘No Man’s Land: Women’s Photography and the First World War’ with the private view and launch on 6 October and the artists in conversation on 7 October.  The exhibition funded by amongst others  the National Lottery and Arts Council England will got later go to Bristol  Cathedral April – July 2018, The Turnpike, Leigh November – January 209 and Bishop Auckland Town Hall February – April 2019. the content It has been put together by a group of local young people called, The new Focus Group.

The following images were taken at the private view:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It comprises work by Olive Edis, Mairi Chisholm and Florence Famborough together with contemporary work produced by Alison Baskerville, Dawn Cole and Chloe Dewe Mathews.  It was exciting to be part of the launch and to see larger versions of 15 of Farmborough’s images although they are prints and not original copies.   The exhibition as a whole is most interesting and thought provoking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Pippa Oldfield with Alison Baskerville, Dawn Cole and Chloe Dewe Mathews.

October: PhD Update

I do not know where the summer break went, as it seems to have gone in a flash and a new academic year is now starting.  While is it good to be back, I soon realised that things were progressing at breakneck speed.

I have spent a long period of time working on my Final Proposal, so all other research has been put to one side momentarily.  I received notification of my First Review date mid November, so whilst I keep telling myself that I am on track and know the people involved well, it is still rather daunting and another hurdle to be jumped.  Once I have the feedback from this then I can pull out all the stops and get immersed back into my work again.

I had also hoped to ease up on the Research Development Programme sessions as I attended 14 last year, and so unless I felt the need to repeat some there were not many I had not been to that seemed relevant.  However, it soon became apparent that Uni feels it necessary and that I become fully engaged with the programme again, although I do wonder how much of it is a box ticking exercise!  Anyway, I have dutifully signed up for some and fortunately some are being held online so does not involve having to go into Uni just for that.

One exciting recent development in my work has been being able to make contact with two of Farmborough’s living relatives through my contact Pippa at the Impressions Gallery, Bradford and my next post will cover the trip up to Bradford.  The living relatives seem most enthusiastic about what I am doing and pleased that someone has shown an interest in her work.  So it will be interesting to see how this can be developed in the future.

22 July: PhD update and thoughts

Looking back over this past academic year as a part-time student has been challenging but I have survived and am looking forward to the next one.  It is useful now to reassess everything and hopefully move forward more efficiently and effectively!

I went along to everything that was initially on offer for new PhD students,  which was really useful especially as it enabled me to meet other students and to try to establish a peer network.  However,  before too long everyone seemed to bury themselves away to work, but I guess that is the nature of the PhD.  I thought it would be useful to say, meet up once a month if they could escape to exchange ideas, moans etc. and if nothing else to provide mutual support.  So it has ended up just catching up at any meetings so far.

I also signed up for more than the recommended five RDP (research Development Programme) sessions as I felt that there were sessions covering subjects I knew little about.  However, in hindsight perhaps this was not such a good idea as apart from  it taking up time when I could have been working on other things, some of the sessions were more valuable than others .  Next year at least I can repeat any that may be particularly useful and just attend any others I missed this year.

One thing that has shone through everything, is the fact that I feel so fortunate to have got so far and not been written off as seems to be the case in some other universities.  To have my supervisor Karen, has been a light shining through initial teething problems and enabled me to keep on track.  To also be able to discuss anything even if I felt it was at a basic level has been a great help.  A couple of days ago there was a TV report about  a lady of 86 who had just received her doctorate at the University of Bristol, so it is good to hear that I will not be the oldest by the time I finish!