I today officially accepted a place on a PhD in American Studies at Nottingham University commencing October 2018.
Ever since I was awarded an M.A. in Fine Art in January 2014 I have been working towards this outcome.
It has been a bumpy four years and a lot of spilt milk and broken plans in between not to mention some life-changing events which only my close friends know about but which have had enormous impact.
It has also been a learning curve about modern academia and the role of funding (especially for people over 50) and I am hopeful that this part-time PhD will be partly funded by a scholarship which I have also applied for whereby I help students in return for a half-fee waiver.
The subject of the PhD is close to my heart i.e. Illustration/ Music/Politics and as such a near perfect fit after many different approaches and options.
I have been through three PhD interviews, been accepted twice before (Loughborough and UAL St Martins) and had my fair share of academic arrogance and sheer stupidity to deal with…BUT..I have made it through and slowly built a very good proposal from the ashes of those previous attempts.
I am especially grateful to Dr Ian Waites at Lincoln University for his encouragement and constant support. The very fine Thames based proposal we built together will now go forward in a entirely poetic form as a part of a TRACK project revolving around Thames/ Trent locations.
I also would like to thank Professor David Matless at N.U. for encouragement and helping write a very decent historical cultural geography proposal which again feeds into the TRACK poetry project.
I am also grateful to Dr Roger Sabin at St Martins for supporting the successful Scrapbook PhD which sadly I had to withdraw from last year before starting when events became to difficult to continue.
The process of creating that, in my opinion excellent idea, led directly to the concept behind the present PhD subject as I started looking at visual tropes and racial ‘stereotyping’ (ironically a word based on a print term!) as part of that proposal writing.
Indeed a part of that aborted PhD goes into the new proposal which can be read here:
Finally a word for Richard H. King , Dr Sharon Monteith, Graham Caveney and other members of the Department of American and Canadian Studies at Nottingham University who gave of their time for free to conduct an excellent series of lectures on Southern Gothic Writers at Nottingham Contemporary last autumn.
As I sat down at the first event to see my old poetry publisher John Harvey ( M.A. American and Canadian Studies) and listened to Professor Richard H. King I realised I was on the right path at last……the rest was easy and will probably involve listening to a lot of jazz which not a bad thing..just yesterday I found another David Stone Martin cover….
Lastly a big thank you to Fay Harding for her constant support in trying times and last and not least to Emma, my wife for being here and still being here despite everything…..
My struggles with academia are nothing compared to the struggle she has fought these past five years and hopefully she now coming through the dark days too….keep swinging kid 🙂
It ain’t worth a thing if it ain’t got that swing…