In todays seminar we conducted a free writing exercise, which I found particularly useful for collecting my thoughts on a couple of subjects. One example was of how to write a first draft chapter from your notes.
Using the same techniques I decided to set myself the task of in just 7 minutes describing what my PhD is about, without referencing my notes or any other materials – this is the result.
7-minute free writing exercise.
What is your PhD about?
My PhD investigates the relationship between collective memory and the memories of people going to the cinema. In particular I am looking at the relationship between dementia patients and their experience of visiting the cinema. Why dementia sufferers? Because they by definition, because of their short-term memory loss live in the past and their memories of going to the cinema are also in the past. To cater for this there are cinemas across the UK that offer special film screenings specifically for the experience of dementia sufferers. The films screened are from a previous era but to a dementia patient they believe it is in the current time and so they experience it in this way. In addition, there is an article that mentions that dementia sufferers experience something positive when exposed to sound and light which of course is what we all experience when we attend the cinema as the cinema is a sound and light experience. With this in mind it will be useful to consider whether the film shown is relevant or whether it is just the experience of the sound and light coming from the screen that engages the audience. Coming back to the collective memory it is important to consider how people remember the cinema going experience, do they experience it as individuals or is it a collective memory experience?
The guidelines to this exercise are to write continuously without concerns for grammar, punctuation or spelling. In this example I have retrospectively corrected some spelling and punctuation but I haven’t added or deleted any words, so what you see is effectively what I wrote in 7 minutes.
How does this help? well I think most of what I have written is how I subconsciously feel about my PhD and recently acquired knowledge, however to be really useful I would need to go through the text and add citations particularly regarding the sound and light reference as that came directly from a recent newspaper article.
October 21st to 25th
Untangling Alzheimer’s – watched this short documentary (2013) by Roberto Verdecchia. Discovered that Alzheimer’s sufferers in addition to short term memory loss also experience impaired vision and hearing with some experiencing pain in extremities. There was indications in the film that diet, and whether you are a diabetes sufferer may be factors in getting Alzheimer’s due to insulin being blocked to the brain. Another finding revealed in the documentary was of electrical stimulation to the brain can alleviate the condition and may improve the condition. These are points that I can explore in my film with health professionals, although these are experimental and so be unknown here in the UK.
Regarding the documentary itself I didn’t feel it had a planned flow as it appeared to divert from subject to subject and return back to a story later in the timeline although there was this good link back to a family member a sufferer of Alzheimer’s throughout the film and I would of liked to have seen more of this because of the emotional response it invoked surprisingly in myself.
FASS508 seminar and workshops on Quantitive data analysis and collection, which I decided to attend to see how this type of approach may work with my project but it does seem to be inappropriate and Qualitative research approach seems to be a better fit.
FASS510 Literature Review and Qualitative Research. I felt this was where the QR and Literature Review started to come together, while still more relevant for non practice based PhD’s I did take on board much that was relevant in order to start to put together an action plan of not only where to start but some idea of what I want to achieve . At the same time I realised how much work this was going to be but at the same time it’s a subject of real interest so while a challenge hopefully an enjoyable one. But the idea that the typical PhD thesis may have a Bibliography in excess of 300 entries (300 Books, Journals etc.) shows how much reading is required. Caveat, of course the time spent reading each varies with importance and relevance some books essential reading you could spend a few weeks to read but some journals may have only a few relevant paragraphs so only a few hours spent on these.
FASS516 1&2 this was a double session today on Thesis Writing for 1st year PhD students. Lots to take in for these sessions and while the content seems to be most relevant to non practice based PhD’s there was still a lot of useful information to take away from this particularly on the Literary Review. Looking forward to tomorrows double session. The group workshops were of particular assistance imparting an excellent range of ideas and discussing my project with other practice students is helpful as is sharing experiences as I can believe the PhD could easily become a lonely path without shared experiences. Some PhD’s seemingly shut themselves away in their rooms, appearing to work constantly on their Literary Review and project, without embracing the extra curriculum benefits of being a student.
FASS516 3 & 4 this was a double session today on Thesis Writing for 1st year PhD students. This is session 3 and 4 and they follow on directly from the previous sessions. Today we looked at PhD thesis examples and analysed the writing and perceived audiences for each thesis across different faculties. We also conducted a variety of exercise in particular free writing exercises, which found particularly useful. I set myself a similar exercise after the seminars to see if this could help to describe my PhD to a general public audience. Use the link to view.
7 minute free writing exercise