PhD life re-visited

It’s getting a little late for new year’s posts, but so long as it’s still January I’m going for it anyway! I can’t believe it’s been over 12 months since last year’s reflections. Things have been quiet on the blog recently as I’ve been trying to knuckle down to writing up and making sense of the research I have done so far. I think I knew this would be a hard stage of the project for me, if I managed to survive the cold and sorting out logistics to do the research in the first place, and it is proving to be so at the moment, but I’m making some progress.

It’s easy to let time slip by quickly without realising how much you have been doing sometimes though, so here’s a quick flash back on some of the key things I’ve been up to in the past year.


Learning to shoot beforehand was a good idea. This Mauser packs a punch (Photo credit Stephen Saville).

Back last March I presented my thoughts so far on value and how I am making use of it as a concept which the PhD hangs on, on my home turf as part of the ‘Dialogues in Human Geography’ Seminar Series. This was a good mile-stone for forcing me to try and make sense of the theories I’d been grappling with. Missed that? Here’s the post I wrote afterwards.

Of course, a lot of the time was spent organising and preparing for the main field trip, which took place May – July. There are A LOT of blog posts in the archive through those months as I attempted to post a photo a day (which didn’t quite happen, but almost!), but here’s my coming home post for a summary!


Looking down on Longyearbyen, where I was based for most of May-July (Photo credit: Stephen Saville)

PictureThis way I don’t have to tidy the desk!

Since then I’ve alternated data analysis (largely cataloguing and transcribing interviews) with interpretation, preparing and presenting papers at conferences. My supervisor, Gareth Hoskins and I organised and presented in a session at the RGS on Locating Value. In November I gave a paper on coal mining in Svalbard at the Mining the Arctic Conference in Kirkenes.

Closer to home, October brought a gear-shift into the 3rd year of the PhD (alarm bells!), which on the up side meant I moved into my own (temporarily) little corner of the department and have plastered the walls with all things Svalbard. I’m hoping Mr Lime tree will get used to it, over the year I’ve harvested 6 limes and not all of them got lost in G n’ T !

So what’s on the cards this year? Mainly writing, writing and more writing. Gareth and I are working on collating an edited book following the Locating Values conference sessions, which is quite exciting. There are some interesting conferences coming up in the summer over in mainland Europe as well as the Gregynog PhD conference in March to look forward to. So, lot’s to keep busy with…

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