Blog post image by Gemma Wearing –  Film Teaser 6, October 2019

At my last Thesis Monitoring Committee (TMC), it was suggested I have a short meeting with DJCAD’s Professor of Interdisciplinary Writing.  It was extremely helpful to hear her perspective on the writing I have produced in my Upgrade Document and in blog posts.  I have summarised some of the key points here as an aide memoire.

Blog posts

  • Consider blog posts being combined into the thesis rather than as a separate output (such as a newspaper).  Blog is experiential description and demonstration of research methods and outputs.  A real time reflection of the research process.  Will need to edit down to main points and moments of insight – use as case studies.  Could put the blog posts between the chapters.  I am currently using images as illustration rather than as a piece of work.
  • Main observation is that the blog is written in the past tense.  I am not describing what I am experiencing.  It is happening in REAL TIME so it needs to be written in real time so write in the present tense.  Suggest going back to a couple of recent blogs and rewrite accordingly.  Reader should then get a sense of immediacy.  Take out the reflection as this would necessarily need more time to happen?  Suggest I record in the field with a phone rather than writing.  This should free me up to continue with my practice.  Talking while making images.  Transcribe immediately but don’t edit until the end of the week.  Still process images immediately.  Then perhaps try leaving writing and images until end of week.  In field writing does not have to be a poised description.
  • Keep a note saying “Present Tense Only”  on my desk!  There is not currently enough control among tenses.  My sense data is based on what I see – should practice recording only what I hear, smell or taste on a particular day.  Each element provides different information.  I don’t need to duplicate my words with the images – only need one or the other.

Thesis and its Structure

  • Key questions that will be asked by the examiners:
  • Why is this a PhD?
  • What is the contribution to knowledge?  – How does the work extend the discourse of knowledge?
  • Consider extended Introduction to include methods then 3 photographers/theorists and do deep dive into their work and mine. X artist with x theorist.  More specific the better. Include reason for the construction of the thesis in the Intro.  Introduction section in practice-based PhD needs to be super clear.  This is the shop front.
  • Is my ontology a research method?
  • The evidence in my research is an attempt – it doesn’t have to be successful.  Should demonstrate an attempt at the research questions.
  • Be clear about the distinction between research method and research output.
  • Suggest that I set out structure and then it can be changed.  Work to around 45,000-50,000.  Do not want to fall into the trap of it being too long.  Reducing chapters would be major corrections.  Should be 70% practice/30% theory.  Check minimum and maximum word counts in University regulations.

Upgrade Document

  • Upgrade bibliography is all men with one exception.  Consider the balance.  Ensure key writers in the field that should be in the bibliography.  Eg Donna Harraway – sense of working methods in the Chthulucene.  Need to include very obvious references.



Donna Haraway

Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

Annie Dillard

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Lisa Robertson

The Weather

Francis Ponge

Ode to Mud

Manuel de Landa

A Thousand Years of Non-Linear History

Environmental Humanities


network at Edinburgh:

approaches to writing:

Bull, M. & Back, L. (Eds.). (2003). The Auditory Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg


Classen, C. (Eds.). (2005). The Book of Touch. Oxford: Berg


Gregg, M. & Seigworth, G.J. (Eds.). (2010). The Affect Theory Reader. Durham. Duke University Press


Howes, D. (Ed.). (2004). Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg




Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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