A Stranger’s Notebook on Dublin

A Stranger’s Notebook on Dublin

This evening I came across this fascinating documentary on Dublin on the RTE Player. Made by a Polish producer in the 1960s, it opens combines footage of the city with quotes from James Joyce, and different Dubliners talking about the changing city. One of the most interesting parts is looking at the clothes market in the Iveagh Market building, something that I’ve been reading about in a Portraits of the Citya recent publication by Four Courts Press.


To the coming times…(30 December 2012)

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about what the coming year will bring, and the different goals that need to be working towards in that time. I’m really excited for the New Year, it’s going to be busy and potentially manic at times, particularly around April…

In no particular order, here are some of the tasks and goals I will be tackling in 2013…

1) Presenting a paper at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, April 2013.

*Gulp*. I’ve presented at conferences before, but this will be the first time that I will be presenting some of my PhD research, rather than the subject of my M.Phil (completed 2010). This time, the focus is on one painting from the National Gallery of Ireland (see it here http://bit.ly/TlB8As ), for a session titled ‘Ceremonial and the City’. The primary research is done, and I’m currently brushing up my knowledge on Daniel O’Connell, so the writing of the paper is high on my list of priorities. Luckily, this work is relevant to task number two…

2) Preparing for PhD Confirmation submission and interview, April/May 2012.

The second big task for April is the preparation of materials for assessment, and confirmation of my position on the research register. Assessment consists of a few different parts, but the chief component is the submission of an eight to ten thousand word chapter. This will also be based around the painting of the O’Connell Centenary Celebrations, and the more general topic of representations of ceremony/celebration in Dublin. There are quite a few paintings to be discussed in this chapter, including Joseph Patrick Haverty’s Triumphal Entry of George IV into Dublin (http://bit.ly/TmPb8L). A common theme running throughout my research is the urban landscape and its significance, looking at the symbolic changes of architecture and public sculpture/monuments.

3) Write,write,write…

In the past year or so, my writing has consisted of progress reports, bibliographies and literature reviews. All useful in their own way, but I’m keen to get stuck into some proper writing. I really enjoy writing, once I get into the flow of things, and I find that the more I do, the easier it becomes. I’m considering setting word goals/deadlines, working towards a specific amount every week/two weeks. I’ve never done it like this before though, so I would be interested to hear of anyone’s experiences or what has worked for them.

4) Starting teaching. 

My supervisor has asked me to become involved with the teaching side of things in the Department, and this is something I’m really excited about.

5) Run! 

In the spring/early summer of 2012 I starting going running every morning. Then I went on holidays. I just never got back into it, and I regret this. I was using a 5k runner app for iPhone, and found it really helpful and importantly for a reluctant runner, achievable.

All in all, I’m excited about the year ahead. There will be a lot to do and at times I’m sure I will be less than pleasant company, however I cannot help but remember how lucky I am to be working in TRIARC, a beautiful building with beautiful people inside it. Thanks to generous funding from TCD I can take the time to completely immerse myself in Dublin, the city itself and the pictures people have created of it. Unless things go even more terribly wrong in Ireland, I can stave off worries about employment, future prospects and paying the rent for another little while. And that, I think, is worth celebrating…


Getting here… #phdlife (28 December 2012)

In September 2012, I began the second year of my PhD. I am based in TRIARC, the Irish Art Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, and my research looks at representations of Dublin, c.1875-1945. When I initially applied for a PhD, my proposal was very different to what I am actually working on now. However, a year of reading, pondering and expert feedback has eventually scaled down my ideas into a more coherent, focused and in-depth study of the topic.

During the initial stages, the last thing I wanted to do was to share my confused thoughts in any public forum. At any kind of social occasion, academic or otherwise, someone would inevitably ask what my topic was leading to much squirming on my part. Often, it can be hard enough explaining why you’re researching Irish art history, let alone why you have decided to spend three years researching some obscure part of it, and hardest of all, why someone is paying you to do so.

Now that I have found form, so to speak, and have a focused plan for the remainder of my study I do feel a lot more comfortable talking about my research and sharing it with a wider audience. I’m hoping to use this feed to share a little of what I’m researching, and to share the bumps and eureka moments along the way. It will also be a nice change to write more informally about my research, as my day work now will be focused on writing and on-going research.