Monthly Archives: November 2012


After October being a hectic month, November has been a little less frantic. It has been mostly waiting for results and news. During the waiting I was lucky enough to go to a lecture by Bettany Hughes on Helen of Troy.

After having watched quite a lot of her television programmes, I have to admit that I wasn’t enamoured with her presenting style on tv. However, in person, she is engaging and lively. There is an element of Horrible Histories to her style which, not only provides interesting facts, it also makes it all the more memorable.

All the news came at the same time in the end, I went to a teaching event for my MRes and was sent all the results and approvals required to get on with things. My essay result wasn’t disappointing either. I knew I wasn’t going to get another distinction this time. I struggled to engage with the subject matter (quantitative methods are not as exciting as qualitative ones) but did manage to produce a piece of work of merit standard. Reading around the subject always helps, I tried to look at it from the most interesting viewpoint possible. I also got news that my dissertation proposal had been approved.

I had a meeting with my supervisor today and now have somewhere to get started. We talked about the scope of my research and it has now grown. I initially anticipated focusing on one museum, but now I am looking at a national, local authority and privately run museums. My first challenge is to find a national museum and privately run museum who will allow me to give family groups cameras during their visit. Then I need to think about logistics of carrying this out, but I think I might be able to manage it. I do have a year to do this. These are relatively minor issues compared to the seemingly mammoth task of the literature review.

The literature review was a common theme at the teaching event. It seems to be the thing that people panic about. We discussed how you write it and by the end of your research you have to re-write it. During my meeting today, we talked about approach and that detailed notes and plans will be enough until it is time to write it up. This is going to reduce the amount of re-writing later, but I think it could be more work in the meantime. I need to know everything about my subject matter. I am looking forward to this!

I now have a plan again, and a rough schedule. Time to get back to the studying!


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So October was busy! It all started on 30th September (I know, this isn’t October). I volunteered to help at the opening of the Big Draw Campaign at the V&A. I couldn’t resist, my pseudo sister-in-law had volunteered and when I expressed my jealousy she called me out and just told me to volunteer. I took her advice and had an amazing day. I didn’t realise that The Big Draw was happening before that, or that it was such a big draw (hahaha!). I spent my morning standing in the front entrance of the V&A handing out paper, pencils and information and my afternoon encouraging people to add their doodles to one of the large templates of the museum. I met some wonderful people and will definitely be looking at what we can do in Leicester next year and how I can get involved again.
That was just one day though, I also had a deadline for my final MRes essay on quantitative methodology. I cannot say that I found this topic easy. I also had the distinction for my previous essay hanging over me. I needed to make sure this essay was as good. Looking back I am not sure it is at all; I tried to read around the subject, look at it from different angles and make sure I was finding some good case studies. I am not even sure I can say that I did my best as the subject matter was dry and formulaic. I kept being draw to how exciting some of the qualitative methods had been and how interesting the case studies were. I just have to hope that I got the point of it all and managed to explain it clearly and concisely. I don’t want a fail on my record!
Along with that, I had a blog post to write, not for here, but somewhere else. If it gets published I will link it all in. I have had my first experience of having something sent back for amendments. Luckily I had been prepared for this by some of my colleagues, so it wasn’t a shock and I didn’t see it as a sign of weakness! I hope that this will help me get more things published in the future. It all helps towards that PhD goal.
Along with these things I had organised an event for the end of the month. This year has not been easy events-wise and it was needed to sort a few things out on going. I think it was enjoyed by all the participants.
That’s my quick October update. I have since written and submitted my research proposal for my MRes dissertation. I am fully expecting some questions about this. My ideas seemed amazing earlier in the year, but putting fingers to keyboard to get it on paper seemed so difficult! Again I hope I managed to explain my question, methods and objectives sufficiently to get approval and get going. Or at least get some feedback on how to improve on it! Since that has been submitted, I am now “study-free” until 23rd November, barring any emails about submitted work.
As I am not able to switch off at the best of times I have learnt about American Revolutionary history (through the medium of Assassin Creed 3), more about the Tudors (by reading Winter King) and more about Raphael (by going to a lecture hosted by the University). I am feeling quite full of facts at the moment!

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