When I went to an information session about Higher Degrees by Research towards the end of last year, one of the presenters (a current PhD student nearing completion) gave us a metaphor to show the differences between your honours year and taking on a PhD. He said,
“Honours is a sprint, but a PhD is a marathon.”
I liked his analogy but I guess it makes my running reference in the title a little inaccurate. Never mind, luckily my project has nothing to do with sporting analogies or metaphors.
So, what exactly am I planning for the next three years of my life (aside from a number of unscheduled panic attacks, eating too much chocolate and procrastinating by playing with our dogs or digging in the vegie garden)?
First of all, while I’m setting up intentions, I should make it clear that I do intend to get this done in three years. Just putting it out there, I did say this blog was about being accountable, didn’t I?
I’m going to be conducting Creative Practice Research which means that I’ll be working in my creative field (writing) in order to discover some truths and new ideas. My research is looking at women as the keepers of culture through recipes, cooking and stories. So, basically, I’ll be writing stories about food! Excellent. I’ll probably have to cook some too, just to really get that deeper understanding of my topic, of course.
I’ll be writing short stories set within a number of different cultural communities. I imagine about six different sets of stories/cultures. Nic (soon-to-be PhD widower) has taken to referring to my project as "the cookbook you're writing" but I guess we all have our fantasies.
The academic component of my thesis will then be an exegesis—a kind of explanatory/elucidatory piece of writing that places my creative work within some kind of theoretical framework and helps to explain its research value. Phew, that sounds… well, scary, quite frankly.
Officially my thesis topic is “Stirring the brew: the power of stories and food.” And my main research question is: How does investigation through the lens of practice-led research into the use of artefacts such as cookbooks bring us to new understandings regarding women & food & their role in maintaining culture?
I'm trying to figure out how to get that all down to 140 characters so that I can post it to the #TweetYrPhD hashtag on Twitter.
So that’s how it stands right now, let’s see where we go from here.