Posts Tagged ‘Lancaster’

Handing the PhD in


That’s the instruction I usually have to give to others at the end of their Henley MBA exam, but today it’s something I have to tell myself (at least for a while) as I have just handed in my PhD Thesis to the Registrar at the University of Lancaster. Done. Dusted.

And what an odd feeling it is.

I am proud of the achievement, and thankful that I had time to make the thousands of small edits and still meet my own personal deadline of the end of February. Now I have to focus on being ready to defend my thesis to a panel of examiners in a viva examination in a few months The fact of the viva is both petrifying and  galvanising – something to occupy the mind, certainly. However, not feeling the need to sit in front of a screen for hours and hours a day with notes, papers and books trying to draft and craft a text is, well, weird.

I might even read a book for the fun of it (I brought two with me up to Lancaster – a Penguin paperback of science fiction short stories, and R G Collingwood’s autobiography. The latter title is cheating a bit, of course.)

Oh, but, you know, this feels good!!!


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I had what turned out to be a pre-upgrade PhD panel meeting in Lancaster this week. I had prepared a document for it and that was used as the basis for discussion with two Lancaster faculty. Not knowing quite what to expect was excuse enough not to be too nervous, although the previous evening’s read-through of my submission left me feeling dissatisfied. I had been working on that document for some time, and it was intended to “state my case” so far, and it appeared to follow convention in its structure and form. However, it also felt in part incomplete and, aside from a few passages at the beginning and when speaking of Bateson’s work, flat. By chance, whilst in the library on campus, I found listed the PhD thesis of someone called Noel Charlton, who had written his PhD on Bateson, and who has since published a book, Understanding Gregory Bateson, which I now must get hold of.

After an hour and a quarter of discussion, questioning, observation and critique, I came away feeling both daunted and excited. Daunted because I was being asked to “rewrite and resubmit”, and still excited because I was also being given the go-ahead to present my thinking in a manner congruent with my subject of investigation. In other words, in my own words. Because I wish to investigate pattern, form and relationship in a more narrative and nested format, I am now offered the chance to do so freed from slavishly following structured convention, and of the confines of the language of scientific reification.

I immediately knew where I wanted to start again, though it will not be an easy task. Bateson.

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