Ph.Ds, History Blogging, and Time

11 Dec

The History Blogging Project is chock full of useful advice on starting, positioning, and most importantly, maintaining a history-based blog. I myself have fallen into a number of the traps that various established bloggers warn against. In particular, I set out ages ago with good intentions about creating a blog to reflect my research interests and experiences. Since then, it has been All Quiet on the Western Front (or Eastern, given the location of Edinburgh.) Now that my research has advanced, I’ve moved into the second year of my Ph.D, and I feel more confident in talking about the subject matter, there is a feeling that I am in a better position regarding maintaining a worthwhile blog.

In terms of the Ph.D itself, it has been a challenging but positive year. Here at Edinburgh, we all have to go through the First Year Review process. It is something like a mini-viva, where you present your work to date to a panel made up of your supervisors and another member of the department. For me it was a very useful experience. I’m now firmly embedded into the primary sources, with a trip to the The National Archives at Kew scheduled for January and a longer trip to the USA in April/May, taking in the NARA facilites, the Jimmy Carter Library, and the Gerald R. Ford Library.

Speaking of the latter, I was delighted to receive notification last month from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation that they had awarded me a Research & Travel Grant to help fund my trip to the U.S. next spring. This, if nothing else, takes the pressure off what will be a rather expensive journey!

In addition to the financial aspect, finally have some ‘name’ funding on the CV is an undoubted boost when it comes to the job market at the end of the Ph.D. Finally, there’s also the psychological aspect, in that some funding body, somewhere, thinks that your project is worthy of support.

So, things are moving along very well at the moment. I am determined to make use of this blog at least once a week. Here’s hoping!

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