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Showing posts from October, 2013

Virtual PhD

I read another PhD related blog the other day about the importance of social media to PhD students in combating loneliness. (here: the conversation ) which resonated all to clearly with me.

For me the social media aspect and the loneliness of the PhD are things I relate to. I had come from four years of a busy job in which I was interacting with people all day, the last year of which teaching in a Secondary school is about as far away from the isolation of sitting at home with a PhD as you can get.  I'm also part of a very small research community in my University, and an even smaller one within my department. And while I get on well with the other people in the School it's hard not having the shared language of the same subject area. Particularly when the disciplines and approach of the people I shared space with were so different. Luckily I've managed to make friends with other PhD students from nearby Universities.

Because the thing is no matter how understanding your f…

The National Theatre...50 years young?

So the National Theatre is 50 years old today.

The National is an important theatre to me. All theatres are important so this one is maybe 'special'. I've spent the last three years researching a production that took place there, I've written conference papers on performances there and all but absorbed the entire history in the process. And it's also given me some great theatrical memories.

I first set foot in the National for, fittingly Caroline or Change Tony Kushner's musical in 2006. As a latecomer to theatre in general (that's for another blog) this was still fairly formative in my theatre going life. My time living in London was spent at several productions, platforms and other events. I even got to sit in on a rehearsal or two with my MA course. (seven years later and a crush on Rory Kinnear later, I curse my 22 year old self for not taking more mental notes in one of those...) And several years down the line, the National has woven itself into my th…

Running away from Men in Roath...and other dating adventures...

So in a possibly misguided burst of enthusiasm a friend and I declared Autumn 'Dating Season' in which we would put more (read, any at all) effort into dating. Another friend was roped in and we thought we had a genius idea.

Yesterday I found myself running from a farmer's market to avoid a man.

So far, not so great then?

I would have thought that online dating was in fact perfect for me. I spend way too much time working at my computer, and way too much time looking for distractions so it seems too good to be true. Sadly it is. Aside from managing to briefly date a member of a well known male voice choir, which felt more like a therapy session than a date,  my online dalliances have been unsuccessful. Earlier in the year I logged onto a dating website, more for the purposes of procrastination than actual intention (and who doesn't window shop a little on every now and then?) the third person down was my old boss. I closed the window and ran (metaphorically)…

Review: The Fifth Estate

It's rare I review a film...actually it's rare I actually make it to a film in the cinema, so 'The Fifth Estate' must have made an impression.
Several people walked out of this film last night. Not that I'm judging, but I don't think it was because of the controversial or potentially upsetting subject matter (they actually left long before the clip of the Afghanistan war footage was even shown) but because the film requires brain power. Now I'm not judging (well ok I'm judging) I'm not being holier than thou about not wanting a film that requires brain power (one glance at my DVD collection will tell you that) but it perhaps should have been obvious from the title/description this film would take a little work.
Though maybe they were there for the Cumberbatch and were disappointed. Because Cumberbatch is essentially gone in this film, replaced by an eerily accurate Assange (Assangebatch if you will) Now obviously as an actor it's expected to in…

"Just get a job"

"Just get a job"

If I had a pound for every time I've heard that in the past 3 years I well, I wouldn't need a job.

There are several strands to this attitude that irritates me as a PhD student.

Firstly that the PhD is in some way an indulgent waste of time, a hobby or a means to delay the 'real' world. Now I can't speak for all PhD students obviously and for some this may indeed be the case. But for myself I've always viewed the PhD as the direct and only route into the work I want to do. I view it as an apprenticeship into the world of academia, a training ground as much as a qualification. So much more so than my previous degrees, in doing the PhD I am gaining the skills and experience to do the job I want to do.

And in my case, just for the record. I took time off between studying, I had professional jobs. I'm a trained teacher, I've taught at University level for several years and I also work with disabled people. It's not that I'…

Feminism (part one)

So a while back I started writing a blog about feminism and what it means to me. I shelved it because it's the kind of thing you want to get right. That one was a more general, and at times light hearted (because it's ok to be light hearted and feminist too)

However something happened this week that made me want to write a more serious version of it, and one that touches on a couple of more serious issues. This is not a personal attack on anyone who was involved in the discussion that elicited this blog, rather see this blog as my 'right of reply' maybe.

This week I heard Feminism equated with anti-abortion and I said quite simply 'That is not feminism as I understand it' Feminism respects the right of an individual to be anti-abortion in their personal life, for whatever reasons they feel. Feminism would not however advocate anti-abortion as a general stance as this removes a woman's right to choose and is as much oppression as men telling women they canno…