After a hugely helpful Supervision Meeting and my first Thesis Monitoring Committee a couple of weeks ago, I had set aside some time to reflect on my journey so far and the challenges of the next few months.  I had planned to:

  1. Review the draft structure of my thesis after considering my supervisors comments and determine the core material, don’t know yet, and cul-de-sac (interesting but probably not part of the PhD
  2. Review the photographic images I have taken since starting my PhD
  3. Consider what I might produce, in terms of written and other outputs, for my Upgrade in September
  4. Think about and make some decision about research methods
  5. Spend time in the landscape, without my camera, looking, listening and attending to nature and writing
  6. Write some case studies about some of my images in detail

In practice, I have allowed events to take over.  Not least, the on-going building works on the house that require my attention and sap my energy.  After nearly five months, it is coming together but next week requires me to camp in my own home while a new kitchen is installed.  I do not like disruption, and whereas until this point, the constant noise and commotion outside has troubled me, I have managed to get the work done.

This disruption, combined with a sudden realisation that I need to produce an assignment for New Materialisms and Realisms, (a philosophy module I am auditing) by 11 June has added to the pressure.  It is not compulsory for me to write an assignment however I want to take the opportunity to get some formative feedback on the philosophical and ontological basis for my photographic work.  So, I have a produced a second draft version in a couple of days, based on a piece of work I have submitted to the Philosophy of Photography Journal, in collaboration with another author.  I do not like rushing, and although much of the work has already been done, I would prefer to take a more considered approach.

As a qualified coach supporting senior managers in higher education, I need to take some of my own advice about taking a break and being realistic about what I can and cannot achieve over the next week.  I have a Project Management course to attend and a philosophy lecture but otherwise I plan to do what I can, or what interests me, and then return to full concentration and attention the following week.  I will also take a break, a day off, which is not something I normally do.  I tend to let the PhD take over my life, and every day involves me working in some shape or form.

I am looking forward to the day, sometime soon, when I can engage in what Cal Newport calls Deep Work . . .

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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