I won’t bury the lede, the second year of my PhD has ended with me being awarded a scholarship for my final 12 months. I’m chuffed.
Funding and scholarships in the humanities is sparse in Australia. Funding for research into television is also sparse, not to mention funding to research queer representations in television.
But I digress. At the end of another busy year, it is important to take some time to reflect, celebrate the wins, and learn from things that could have gone better.
I know I’m lucky that I get to share how interesting, fun and challenging (in a good way) my second year of my PhD experience has been.
Anyone who is working in research knows how easy it is to get stuck in the weeds and not step back to review just how much you’ve achieved. And so, as I am about to enter the third (and hopefully final) year of my PhD, researching the onscreen inclusion of queer stories in Australian scripted television, here are my reflections and achievements for Year 2 of my PhD.
Year 2 has primarily been about data collection, reading and writing, and building my researcher profile. For many researchers, data collection is also a time when we feel like our work slows down. I am no exception to the experience of data-collection-slow-down, and a lot of my focus this year has been on seeking out and approaching prospective interviewees, reading and preparing for interviews, interviewing, and then transcribing those interviews (so, so much transcribing).
Achievements in 2022
- So here is the all important list of things I achieved this year:
- Completed 18 interviews with Australian television industry professionals (including: writers, producers/executive producers, directors, commissioners and policy-makers)
- Transcribed more than 125,000 words of interviews
- Published four articles in The Conversation:
- Sole author of: Queer romcom Bros struggled at the box-office. Are mainstream audiences still not ready?
- Lead author with A/Professor Liam Burke: Peppa Pig has introduced a pair of lesbian polar bears, but Aussie kids’ TV has been leading the way in queer representation
- Second author with Dr Joanna McIntyre: Would Carlotta, Australia’s most celebrated drag queen, have made it on RuPaul’s Drag Race?
- Lead author with Dr Jessica Balanzategui and Dr Joanna McIntyre: The loss of Neighbours is a loss of career pathways for Australia’s emerging screen professionals
- A book chapter is accepted and going through peer review for an edited book, to be published in 2023.
- Presented some of my research finding at the Screen Studies Association of Australia, Aotearoa and New Zealand 2022 Conference
- Wrote more than 30,000 words towards the draft of my thesis, including first drafts of my introduction and two chapters.
Reflections and lessons for Year 2 of my PhD
In my review of the first year of my PhD, I shared that reading was almost always the solution to any problem I’ve found.
In my second year, with my focus so squarely on data collection, reading was the area to suffer most. While I continued to read journal articles, books and industry reports as often as I could, in many cases I targeted this work to what I was preparing or writing. Narrowing my reading focus was necessary to balance the work required for data collection, but I also lost some of that broader awareness I had built in my first year.
One goal for 2023 (in addition to writing my PhD), is to return to reading more, and reading more often. One of the best things I did in Year 1 of the PhD was to read one paper (journal article, book chapter or report) first thing every morning. In Year 3, I am kicking off with this goal renewed as I work towards my February 2024 submission.
Coming up next
I am hurtling towards my mid-candidature review in February 2023. I’m excited to get feedback from my panel and get stuck into data analysis and writing!
Wish me luck!
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