Hello all! A quick post to share some long-anticipated news: after five years I’ve finally graduated from the University of Strathclyde with my doctorate!
As I’ve shared on this blog before, my PhD focused on authenticity in contemporary UK spoken word poetry. Specifically, I examined the ways in which poets may project authenticity (honesty, originality, realness, spontaneity, etc.) through their performances and how the conventions of the genre encourage audiences to perceive this poetry as authentic. I used a variety of methodologies in order to gather information, most notably qualitative data collection through interviewing figures in the UK spoken word scene. As spoken word is a multidisciplinary genre, I also relied on many critical frameworks, including performance studies, audience studies, and sociological theories of identity performance and perception. If you’re interested in this research, you can read the abstract for the thesis here.
Currently the thesis is embargoed until late 2021 as I work out my next steps in regards to journal and manuscript publication. I’m also currently finalising the public archive of the interviews I conducted with figures in the UK spoken word scene so that my data is accessible to other researchers. This is very important to me, as I want to encourage more folks to research our scene and don’t want to keep all of the important information shared with me to myself! This archive will be housed at the Scottish Oral History Centre as an accessible digital resource (with full transcripts) and should be available at some point mid-2021.
Throughout the PhD I’ve been keeping notes on practices that helped me through; and, conversely, what didn’t work so well. Soon I’m planning to post this guidance in the hopes of helping other doctoral researchers in their journeys. PhDs are long, challenging endeavours with as many setbacks as achievements, and I’m very grateful to the community of fellow researchers who supported me through mine.
If I tried to thank everyone who’d gotten me through this PhD in a single blog post I’d still be writing it next year, but I’m particularly thankful for the support of my advisors Eleanor Bell and David Kinloch at the University of Strathclyde, and to all of the poets and other creative folks who shared their experiences and ideas with me through interviews in 2017. I’m also deeply indebted to the other researchers and producers currently developing the critical discourse concerning UK spoken word poetry through creating new scholarship, producing podcasts and other interview series documenting our scene, and curating new work. It’s an exciting time to be researching this field!
More updates soon! Thank you for reading, and all my best for a happy new year. -K