7 minute free writing exercise

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.