This is the blog of Elizabeth van Wessem (neé Round) – although I answer to Liz on a day-to-day basis! I graduated with a first class BA in History from the University of Leicester, in the summer of 2014, and have just completed an MA in English Local and Family History degree in the Centre for English Local History at the University. I have just started a PhD studying clergy-lay relationships in seventeenth century Herefordshire; still with the University of Leicester but this is funded by Midlands3Cities and the AHRC. If you’d like to know more about my PhD, then I created this poster that might be of use. I am also profoundly deaf. If you’re interested to know more about that, then there’s a sort of FAQ on that.
The original plan for this blog was to share ‘dispatches from the past’ (the original tagline). Sometimes when doing research, I stumble across little stories, which I want to share. Stories that touch me, stories that make me think. Stories that remind me why I love what I do. And I wanted to share those stories… hence this blog. It’s since evolved… as things things are wont to do!
One thing that has become very clear in my reading of how-to-do-a-PhD is that regular writing is absolutely key. Not so much writing for assignments, although that needs to be done as well, but just exploration of thoughts on the reading that you’re doing. Not only is it a key part of the development process (in writing, you are essentially exploring and explaining to yourself as well as everyone else) but it is also practice, the development of wordcraft that is a key part of an academic’s life.
My original aim was also to track my progress throughout the early days of the project – most people start this when they start the PhD itself. I wanted to start mine earlier, at the very beginning, before the PhD proposal was even written. That has now largely been achieved and I want to continue to write here, periodically, throughout my PhD.
For this reason this blog will be adapting somewhat to reflect this changing need; blogging on a regular basis, possibly even daily for a while, but at other times, long stretches may go by where I say very little. I am by no means the first to do this, but it is the process that is important to me, regardless of whether others read here.
I also use twitter; facebook I maintain on a more private basis.
[It should be obvious, but I think it is important to add – all opinions expressed here are totally mine, and not claiming to be, in any way, representative of the University of Leicester, Midlands3Cities or AHRC.]
Feel free to comment/reply on any of my posts, but bear in mind my studies take precedence so replies may take a while.