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Emma, where have you been?

July 8, 2018    News Blog

Finding balance as a PhD student is hard, as if we didn’t all already know this.

This blog has gone without updates for well over a year, and while I’m not sure it has a regular enough readership for anyone to wonder where I’ve been, in the interests of completeness, I thought I’d update you (you, unspecified reader) anyway.

  • I’ve found my work turning a little more towards online gatherings of ukulele players as well as the offline fields where my research began.
  • I published my first academic article, a piece on the nightcore online music microsubculture.
  • I passed my upgrade viva (on my birthday!). I’m now officially a ‘PhD candidate’ rather than a ‘PhD student’. Make of that what you will.
  • I released my first full-length album as Deerful…
  • …as well as various contributions to compilations, and some commercial music (a world I fell into via my thesis research).
  • I taught a Masters course, which was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and was both utterly humbling and the greatest imaginable confidence boost.
  • I made some significant progress in terms of understanding my health and how my brain works.

Strange though it sounds, given the range of my work in the last year, the thing I’d like to increase is the small creative projects that don’t immediately make sense to others in the context of my thesis (but are all related really). A little while ago, I wrote in this blog about the importance of play and social connection, and how I’d found those things both in the world of ukulele players, and in the Twitter bot community. Working on a project as large and as solitary as a PhD thesis makes those elements even more important, but it’s also easy to overlook them. I’ve slowly begun to spend my evenings and weekends dabbling in creative development and performance projects again - among other things, I plan to resume development of the Graphic Score Bot, which I still consider a work in progress and would love to perform from again - and am hoping to regain the sense of ‘unseriousness’ (in the words of my first thesis chapter) which acted as such an inspiring foil to my work earlier in the project.