7th Nov

Research in Progress Presentation and Research/Fieldwork Update

UPDATE 8th Nov: Thanks to all our speakers Busra Sultana, Gemma Cobb, Ryan Burns, Holly Chard and Emilia Cheng.  The research updates really highlighted the range of experiences of different PhD students at different stages of their research.


Fieldwork presentation from Busra Sultana, who has recently returned from an extended fieldwork trip to Bangladesh.  Busra has conducted several interviews and collected hundreds of images of advertisements relating to her research which examines the gendered advertising of contraception in Bangladesh.

Fieldwork update from Ryan Burns, who has recently changed his methodological approach to investigate a range of case studies rather than focusing specifically on one.  Ryan discussed the fact that fieldwork can (most likely will!) throw up unexpected difficulties and challenges.  His advice was that staying calm and listening to the advice of your supervisor is the best way forward. Don’t panic!

Research update from Gemma Cobb on the subject of gender conformity in the pro-anorexia movement.  Gemma discussed the initial questions and problems that arise in the first stages of a research project, and described her focus on anorexia websites as a cultural phenomenon, rather than instances of anorexia as medical problems.

Research update from Holly Chard, who is writing a cultural studies history of the Hollywood family film.  Holly entertainingly used the following clip from National Lampoon’s Vacation to show how a PhD can throw unexpected problems at you.  When you’re having a really tough time, the motivation to carry on may simply be that you’ve worked too hard to throw it all away.  As well as this, faith in the quality of the work you’ve done or plan to do is a hugely important motivator when the going gets tough.

Research update from Emilia Cheng, researching representations of Chinese nationalism in film.  Emilia discussed how the writing up stage can crystalise the ideas that you’ve been working with for years.  In a funny way, it was during the writing of the introduction to her thesis that Emilia really tied her research themes together.


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