Part of the problem with studying like this is the isolation. Perhaps it’s self-imposed to a certain extent. I mean, I could choose to go into the university library and work there but I’ve never liked working in libraries very much. I prefer to get what I need asap and get home again. But at the same time, I do need a certain amount of human interaction – which puts a fair bit of pressure on my partner to be nice when he comes home, and if he comes home all tired and grumpy (as last night) then I can rapidly wind up spiralling into a down mood.
After a weekend off, yesterday was spectacularly non-productive in studying terms (productive elsewhere though). Today has been a tad better; I proofread a really good introductory chapter for a fellow MA student, and then did some reading around the issue of communication support at conferences; this is a particularly hot topic at present given that the International Congress for the Education of Deaf People has, once again, not supplied deaf delegates with interpreters. You would think, 135 years after the 1880 Milan Conference that slammed the door shut on the use of sign language for educating deaf children, that nothing has changed. Well, perhaps it has – changes are afoot and that can only be a good thing, and I watch with interest.
I also signed up for an online discussion on the subject of public participation for researchers, they have a panel which they will ask a range of questions from the audience and which they are filming, all done through google’s hangouts. A sort of combination of TED and AMA. Very cool, all done through jobs.ac.uk. I contacted the organiser to ask about deaf access, she offered – at the very least, the transcript (which I was happy enough with) and, prompted by a new awareness, started digging into technological solutions that might help to improve access for deaf people. Makes me feel better about the academic world when I get a response like this – a ‘Can Do!’ rather than a ‘will not’.
I also did some thinking about how to address the question, which almost inevitably will be asked, in response to my PhD proposal, why should we fund this, given that there are already existing studies covering the same subject in different areas? What is different about yours? I realised that I can’t answer that in the sense of “its different because the results will show XYZ” – because, clearly, I can’t do 3 year’s research in several months. But what I can do is to examine the differences between the counties that the existing studies have focused on, and Herefordshire, and try to ascertain if there’s something special, unique about Herefordshire, that may allow me to reasonably argue that the outcome will be different. So. That’s another thing to add to the to-do list – bone up on Herefordshire, everything from the landscape to the underlying geology, economic structures, people, cities/towns…. and so on.
And now to collect my partner from the station and then come home and do dinner. Another day almost gone…!