The meeting with my first and second supervisors was held face-to-face in Dundee, and had the following agenda items:

  1. Re-thinking Thesis Structure post Upgrade
  2. Update on Practice
  3. Journal Article publication
  4. Essentialising/Possibilising
  5. Spooky Action at a Distance
  6. Plans for Year 2

Since upgrade I had made some changes to my Draft Thesis Structure in accordance with guidance received in May/June.  The structure now looks like this:

Chapter 1 – Introduction (4,000)

Chapter 2 – Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology (7,000)

Chapter 3 – Contextual Review (20,000)

Chapter 4 – Object-Oriented Photography (20,000)

Chapter 5 – Conclusion (4,000)

After much reflection I had retained Chapter 2 – Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology.  The reason for doing this is that I believe there is a significant narrative to impart up front, which then forms the basis for all the practice conducted during my PhD.  However, my supervisors suggested that my practice should lead the research and that my thesis should explain how I gained my insights through my practice.  I should not give the impression that I knew all of what might appear in Chapter 2 before I started my PhD.  They proposed that I could front load the thesis by putting Chapter 4 at the beginning, which would emphasise to the examiners that my research is based on my practice and its development.  A longer practice chapter will also emphasise its importance to the examiners.

The format of the thesis should evidence what I have done in my practice.  My thesis could take the form of a series of experiments.  I need to think about the narrative of my research and how my practice is changing – different practice/different understanding.  I should ensure that I focus in the narrative on turning points/insights – how did it change the work I produced?  I suggested that I might map some of these changes through contact sheets of my photographic work – showing through images how my practice has changed.

We talked about Chapter 3 Contextual Review, and they asked whether rather than talking about key inspirations by focusing on particular people that I might thread these together by using a thematic approach – taking the reader through those that have influenced my work.  The insights should relate to the research questions.  This chapter needs to be an integrated piece of work.  I need to keep all versions of the Draft Thesis Structure and versions of my writing to demonstrate how my thinking has developed.

They reassured me that I am doing lots of practice, my work is changing and developing, and the tools are effective in thinking through my practice.  They emphasised that I had integrated my thinking in the Upgrade Document.  They suggested that I should give myself time to develop my practice and that the structure of the thesis will emerge and come together towards the end of my PhD.  I should not under-value my practice and should be clear about how I learn from it.  I should not let the theory limit my practice and make sure the practice leads the theory.  How does my practice critique, question, explore the theory?  For example, talk about Harman in the context of my video clips and consider and discuss why it is interesting and relevant to my practice.

My supervisors suggested I have a look at the Journal of Artistic Research – look at what they require.  How do I visualise my research and how do I make it readable?

Two actions emerged:  That I should contact the Librarian with regards to how I use the work that has been accepted for publication in the Philosophy of Photography – should it be included as an Appendix, or can I reproduce parts of it in the thesis itself?  Are there any issues in using my own words published in my blog, in the thesis?  My supervisor agreed to investigate whether there is formal feedback available from my Upgrade Meeting.

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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