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.

20 Aug: PhD update

Has it really been a month since I added something to this blog for my PhD?  I seem to have been chained to the computer and have ended up with sore eyes, so I need to be a bit smarter as to how I manage my time.  Karen my supervisor, gave me some useful tips about time management as she was able to complete hers in four years and if nothing else save a year’s fees.  However, bearing in mind that she has youth on her side, I realised that as my work is not competing with anything else such as a job, there is no reason I cannot do it within the same time frame.  I also realised that I can’t keep slogging away every day, as apart from the fact I am getting more boring and self-centred than usual (!) I need to take at least one day off per week to rest and recharge and my brief holiday next month is something I’m really looking forward to for lots of reasons.

However, before then I’m busy right now trying to get most of my ‘Final Proposal’ completed as my first review will be around the beginning of November.  Although this seems a long way off, the weeks seem to be flying by and I don’t want to spend my week away thinking I should be at home working.  I also was lucky to find an old 1950s Rolleiflex twin lens reflex, medium format film camera, in a local camera shop for a really cheap price.  So I want to try it out on the holiday as I haven’t  used film for some time, and also want to see how the camera behaves!  I also realised that the chemicals I have in my darkroom are also long past their sell-by date, so need to be replenished if I’m going to resume film and processing etc. again.  Perhaps to have the distraction of occasionally being able to shut yourself away and develop and print would also be a good occasional distraction from computer work.

Other than that I was really pleased to see that blogs can have really positive results and have been contacted by Pippa, from a gallery in the north of England who is putting on an exhibition in October, featuring the lady who is the central focus of my research amongst others.  I have been somewhat reluctant to say much online about what I am doing but as Karen previously advised me, that even if I discovered that someone else was doing exactly what I am researching, they would never do it in exactly the same way or cover the same things that I intend to cover. So onward and upward as the saying goes and looking forward to the next weeks of my PhD journey!

PhD Update March 2017

Now that I am sitting down to write and update my blog again, I cannot see any good reason not to have done it sooner!  The year started off with a meeting with my supervisor Karen, having reminded my that as I am part-time, I don’t need to be in a rush and it is better to take things slowly, dig deep and conceptualize what I am looking at.

So since then I have cut down on the number of Research Development Programme meetings I have signed up for.  Although they have been extremely useful and have been an opportunity to find out about something I know nothing about but for some I realised they would not help me, so have taken up time I could have used better elsewhere.  Besides as they are repeated, as time goes on I will know better which will be of the most use to me.  Two recent meetings were about ‘Grounded Theory’ and I immediately realised that this was applicable and could be helpful in working with my subject matter.  These have since led to my reading as much as I can about it to see best how to use it in my work.

I have also been up to London for related events such as two Doctoral Open Days at the British Library.  The second of these (which looked at the 20th century) repeated several of the sessions held at the first one (newspapers and media) so was not felt to be so valuable.  However the sessions were extremely useful in providing links to online resources and providing information about the vast amount of information that is held within the library.

My most recent visit to London was to view some photographic prints and documents relating to focus of my research held at the Imperial War Museum.  It was exciting to see the actual objects ‘in the flesh’ and it particularly enabled me to decide which images  I could possibly include as illustrations in my thesis; especially as some were over exposed and of poor quality.  The only drawback was that if I had wanted to take any images on the day I would have had to purchase a £10 day permit.  So it may be that it is more  cost-effective to pay for downloadable copies to be sent to me, when I have narrowed down the selection.

Apart from that I have been reading as much as possible and also started writing!  Initially it was painful starting, but I soon realised that my previous practice of writing notes on paper rather than putting them on the computer was a very cumbersome way of working, and that it was much easier writing straight onto the computer.  My supervisor had suggested that I sent some writing to her prior to the April meeting, so this was a big motivation to begin.  However I realised that much was dependent on what was submitted.  If it was good then I could progress without undue worry, if it needed attention then this could be addressed, but if it was not up to scratch then I would seriously have to rethink my future steps.  So I ended up submitting around 8,000 words and spent an anxious few days waiting to hear from her.  Her reply was so helpful and encouraging and generally came out as good and at that I was writing at the required post-grad level.  She also provided feedback on areas that could be improved upon.  So this is the best motivation for the future I could have received right now 🙂

A time goes on I have also become more engrossed in the subject matter when possibly one could have maybe lost some interest, but I seem to keep uprooting things that I know nothing about and which provide areas to be investigated further. So I feel a bit like a female ‘Poirot’ right now.  Long may it continue.

1 Aug – 3 Oct PhD Preparation

STEPS TAKEN SO FAR:


Research

  1. My initial readings have shown up links with events in history at the time e.g. The Suffragette Movement.  In turn I requested copies of papers held in the Archives & Local History Department at Manchester Central Library.  The Fawcett Papers contains articles by Millicent Garrett Fawcett (President of The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies)  including one entitled ‘Women’s Work at the front’ (10.03.1915).  They also suggested that The Women’s Library at LSE could provide access to copy microfilms, so this will be investigated.   Through this I also discovered that her daughter Phillippa had made a great contribution to education at that time, and had given her name to the College of Education I attended from 1966-69.
  2. I have read and taken notes on all books produced by Florence Farmbrough and obtained copies of the original documents held by the Royal Geographical Society, following her being invited to become a member.  These also provided a family address which is a valuable contact for further in-depth information.

Preparatory Skills

  • I began by looking at various study guides which were helpful as background to what is involved and steps that will need to be taken from start to finish.
  • I reread ‘Critical Thinking Skills’ as I realised that I especially needed to improve my note-taking, so as to work more efficiently and effectively.
  • I obtained and read two self-help books in connection with public speaking as this is one area I also need to improve.

Next Steps

  • I now need to introduce an efficient filing system for information both physically and online, to enable ease of retrieval.  The study guides suggested various referencing systems which will now be investigated.
  • Once these have been instigated I need to take out membership of the Imperial War Museum and investigate (with visits) relevant information which is held in their archives.
  • Contact Florence Farmborough‘s family for background information particularly in connection with her photography work.
  • Renew contact with Dawn Cole in connection with Clarice Spratling to arrange, if possible to see the diary and find out about any photography connections.
  • Once all the initial induction sessions have taken place at Christ Church University I will be better placed to start my work as I will know who to see or contact for what and where to go.  The library (and the main campus)  I envisage to be extremely useful particularly as it is close to home, so I can make good use of all available facilities.