entries tagged ‘dissertation’

i’m busy

I know I’m sporadic in my posting anyway, but I have a genuine reason at the moment. I’m down to the final three weeks before I have to hand in my MRes dissertation. Yeah, so I’m posting this instead of writing it, but it could be worse – I could be scanning negatives or cloning away dust.

So unless I have a complete meltdown between now and the 17th of September, there will be nothing to see here. I will likely be doing the majority of my procrastination over at twitter, if you find you’re suffering from separation anxiety.

In the meantime, look, some pictures!

all © catherine buca 2007-2010

titles, again, and good news x 2

I finally decided on a title for my dissertation. I know there are lots and lots of you sitting eagerly on the edges of your seats, desperate to know, intrigued and awed by my titling prowess, so I won’t make you suffer any longer. The title is: Travels In The ‘Austerian’: Writing and the (Self-) Surveillance of Paul Auster. Pretty catchy, eh?

The more eagle-eyed of you are no doubt driving yourselves to despair trying to work out how the picture here relates to that. Well it doesn’t. It relates to my good news. I want to do a Masters degree. In fact, it’s the only reason I decided to do this undergraduate degree, so at this point, after three years of financial and emotional sacrifice it’s less ‘want’ and more ‘need’ to do it. The problem is the fees. I’m getting on a bit, so doing the Masters part-time, so I can work more to pay them myself, isn’t really feasible. That leaves the daunting prospect of scholarship funding.

The research council responsible for funding in my field are the AHRC, and, as you can imagine, competition is fierce. They have recently changed how applications are made, splitting it into two stages of elimination, the first internal to the student’s prospective institution. This meant I had to submit a personal statement/research proposal last week to my supervisor, who then officially ‘nominated’ me as a candidate. Out of these nominations, only eight go forward to be allowed to apply to the AHRC. This is from students across the entire university, not just my discipline, and includes both Masters and PhD hopefuls.

The panel met yesterday afternoon to go through the proposals and handpick their choice eight. I made it. I’m overjoyed. I know this is only the first hurdle, and now I have to compete against those eight, plus other candidates from the universities within our division for a lump of the cash. I don’t know what my chances are, but I’m feeling a hell of a lot more confident about it all today than I was yesterday.

My second piece of good news arrived in the form of last semester’s assessment results. I got firsts across the board. I honestly thought I had managed to scupper my chances of a first in at least one of the modules in the exam after Christmas. However, it would seem not, and I got strong firsts for them all. The bouncing that began with my AHRC news has resumed with this news. Thankfully this time I’m on my own at home and not in the university’s computer lab, with everyone sat staring at me like I’m a mildly deranged lunatic having an epileptic fit.

All I need to do now to complete my credentials as the best person in the whole entire world is take some photos. The deeper I’m getting into this final year the less inclination I have to pick up a camera. I must try to though; all genii need to exhibit multifaceted excellence.


Travels in the ScriptoriumI have serious problems choosing titles. For my photographs, for my blog posts, and, most importantly at the moment, for my dissertation.

By the end of next week I have to submit my final title to my supervisor. I find that a more daunting prospect than writing the actual paper. My titles usually sound far too poncy.  The little gem I came up with as a place-holder, of sorts, for my dissertation when submitting my proposal was, “Paul Auster’s Travels in the Scriptorium And Problems With The ‘Austerian’”. Not too far up my own arse with that one, eh?

I came up with it in a fit of blind panic, needing to choose something, fast. It doesn’t really get to the heart of what I want to look at, which, in essence, will be a Bourdieusian analysis of the book and its place within whatever this strange thing called the ‘Austerian’ is.

I expect that when it comes down to it, once I have jotted down my expectations and ideas, I’ll be able to come up with something that doesn’t sound like I’m aiming to submit to the  leading ‘look at me I’m really pretentious’ journal. I’ll save that for my PhD. Although I know I’ll find the right title for this work, it won’t change my crippling inability to pick them for photos, or blog posts (this one excepted, of course). I go for “untitled” far too often. I’ve tried flowery, enigmatic ones before, like, “she stepped through the bushes to see her dreams unfolding”, or comedy titles such as, “the problem with faddy eating (only tall food need apply)”. More often than not I settle for the tried-and-tested vanilla descriptive titles, like, “seven brushes in a jar”. Or I won’t title them at all (because “untitled” is, afterall, a title).

It is, actually, a source of a great deal of conflict and stress. It might not seem that big a deal, picking a title, but those words represent an authorial stamp, something that sets out your intent before you’ve even started. It’s a crucial part of how we choose and consume our entertainment; get it wrong in the publishing or film business and your multi-million dollar investment might go right down the pan. Is it really that important for my wee blog though? Or the photos I take but only 7 people look at? Probably not. I suspect, however, that agonising over my inconsequential titles now can only set me in good stead for academic titling in the future.

I just need to be wary of naming my journal submissions, “An Essay (With Four Sub-Sections And An Appendix)”.