Tuesday 27 March 2012

A note of thanks at the end of the PhD

I'm not sure if a PhD ever really ends.

There seems to be a lot of bits and pieces I'd like to revise and update. Research that I started as part of the project and I'd like to try to finish up for possible future papers.

I'm also hoping to be able to publish the thesis in book form as well which means I might have to revisit some of it for the 654th time.  

But in many other respects the PhD is finished.

I have a piece of paper saying I've passed and the library at King's College, London has a final copy (for a shelf somewhere which will increase the area available in the library for dust-gathering.)

This blog has always been much more of an online research diary and scrapbook than an outlet for my personal story, but I'd like to temporarily hijack it.

I'd be lying if I said the PhD was all a breeze, because with any PhD there are inevitably lows as well as highs. But I'm not somebody who is wondering what the point of it all was.

I've really enjoyed it and I believe it was worthwhile work. I've learnt masses and developed a variety of transferable skills along the way. I believe other people have benefited from the project and others will do so in the future. I've had some great opportunities to do all sorts of exciting things and meet lots of interesting people.

And I'm very grateful for all of that. Rather unfairly, the PhD has my name on the side of the cover, but I am just a small part of the story - the person who brought lots of different things and themes and thinking and hard work together in one place.

And I'd like to say thanks to all the people who made it possible.

In particular, I owe a great debt of gratitude to my family, my friends, my supervisor at the War Studies Department, the Frontline Club, everybody at the BBC who contributed to the project and the Arts and Humanities Research Council for funding me.

I've also benefited immensely from interactions with people online who have taken an interest in the project whether through comments on blog posts either here or at the Frontline Club or on Twitter.

In fact, I can't imagine doing a PhD without access to a 'virtual office' of ideas, information and support. (Although it's not quite as frightening as the prospect of writing one on a typewriter...but anyway).

Finally, I want to say that I dedicated the PhD to my grandparents, Donald and Iris Mead. They gave so much to me in so many ways, but sadly both passed away before I finished the project.

I also want to mention my friend Lineu Vargas - a man who not only took a keen intellectual interest in my work but who was also concerned with my welfare more generally. He was tragically killed in a car accident last year.

It's a comfort to me that the last time I saw him, I was able to celebrate submitting the first version of the PhD with him.

And I'm sure he'll be raising a glass of good red wine somewhere to join in future celebrations...


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