The basic questions

4 posts and some months later I return to reply to some basic questions. failure2

Here we go then:                              1. Why are you doing a PhD? Because I like writing, asking questions, researching and I do like Universities and students.

2. What is your PhD all about?                                           It’s all about specific Greek choreographers who during a period of sociopolitical crisis have engaged with alternative production and communication modes and with historical narratives in their works. I argue that they are trying to articulate a new discourse within a shifting context and on my behalf I try to outline these new possibilities being generated and their significance. (that is I guess my briefest description)

3. What is your methodology?                                                                                    That’s a really tricky question but for now I would say I combine theoretical approaches of arts and their sociopolitical context along with ethnographic fieldwork where I get to participate at and observe ongoing artistic practices, communication codes, relations that are being established, performances and whatever comes along.

4. Does anyone else really care?                                                                                Well, that’s for someone else to reply to, but I can always count on my dreadful supervisors, the artists participating, part of the academia, part of cultural policy makers (or they should at least), my colleagues and my friends (because they are my friends).

5. Where are you right now?                                                                                            I am on my second year of research and still haven’t produced any adequate written material but hopefully that will happen as well.

6. How much time do you invest?                                                                                Well, sometimes I work all day. Other times, I skip a day or two and have a break, but the real thing is that research never gets out of my mind. It’s like a constant, personal reminder of what I have to do, look at, examine, write, see, attend, participate etc. Never ending questions and anxiety come along with the PhD process, at least for me.

7. When will it be over?                                                                                                   It’s suppose to be 3 years, it eventually becomes 4 years but yet again I really don’t know. Fingers crossed for 4 years which means 2 and a half to go

8. What have you learned so far?                                                                                 Up til now, I’ve learned that doing a PhD you get to know more about yourself than anything else…

9. What comes after the PhD?                                                                                          For starters, a big celebration party, followed by some vacations and then who knows? I’ll tell you when I get there.

10. Any wishes?
To make it up to the end with no casualties and my sanity intact.

Maybe next year I’ll have different answers to the same questions since time moves in mysterious ways. Have a nice (sunny) weekend cause it’s Friday. TGIF!

It’s a whole new year!

Wishes for a very happy and creative new year everyone!

Here are some scattered thoughts on the first week of 2014 that I hope will be better shaped in the months to come. Starting with  new year’s anticipations, followed by my writing obligations and ending with the major problem of archiving. Maybe some of you have already been there and some will be. In any case I am open to suggestions and free advices!  2014                                                                                                                                   Is it just me or does this year seems a bit futuristic when written down? It looks like a film from the future, but I still don’t know whether it’s a comedy, drama, thriller, adventure or a strange combination. Hopefully, it will look more like a romantic comedy and a bit of adventure and less like a horror film, even though I am still haunted by an old graffiti in down town Athens wishing us all “a merry crisis and happy new fear”. Not very optimistic, I know, but yet it is there on a wall and inevitable to think about. For me, any new year is a combination of hope but also anxiety. Aims that are written down as a compass to guide me, along with the fear of any anticipation. As I was saying, it’s one thing to have a script and another to start shooting.

Writing                                                                                                                           Back to reality now, after endless dinner parties and glasses of wine, I have to work as everyone else I guess. Over the last month I have been trying to finish some kind of application where I need to explain in plain words the topic of my research, my main questions and hypothesis as well as my methodology and time schedule. Even though it seemed quite manageable at first, I realized once more that there is a distance between thinking of something and then writing about it. Something like “Mind the gap between thinking and writing” or you can easily get lost. This application is a process requested from my University and I am still working on it but what I really would like to share is the fact that these seemingly trivial and time-wasting procedures do have an importance and helped me delineate my research, but also to track down weaknesses and  gaps in my thought. It is scary sometimes but it is the only way to move on. I still struggle with my difficulty in methodological issues which in turn generates even greater doubts for my own research and its validity, but I try to think about it on one hand as part of the process and on the other as doubt being a motivation. What I mean to say, is that even though I find it hard to remain concentrated on my PhD and to imagine how it will evolve, I appreciate these difficulties as internal to a larger process that keeps me close to my own interests. The key word here being “my own”, since there is no PhD without personal interest to get you going.

Archiving                                                                                                                    Having been stuck with this application for now and trying to summarize what I have already done, I encountered one more major issue: that would be archiving my research. I wasted tones of energy and time to find my notes, especially those that were hand written and placed somewhere in my library. It is really frustrating to know that you have notes from a book or an article but not being able to find them. It means that you have to re-read the article and keep new notes all over again. I am trying to find a way of organizing everything but it seems that it only gets more complicated as time goes by and books as well as notes are being piled up. Until now I have tried Refworks but it only works out for bibliography, then I tried keeping an account through excel but it s not very handy. I have created folders in my notebook but then I don’t really remember which folder has what..So, what I really need to do is re-arrange my entire archive in a way that will be helpful in the long run but I don’t know yet how to. Any ideas are well accepted or I can always just look at my library waiting for a response.

Well, 8 days and counting 357 to go. I hope that by then I will have an archiving solution, I will move on from methodology inquiries to some writing and hopefully will manage to balance doubt and determination so as to keep going. Once more, I wish you a happy new year full of joy, dreams, good spirits and close friends.