Posts

PhD Month 1

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As I write this, I've completed the official 4th week of my PhD.  I haven't gotten much done on the actual thesis -- this month has been an endless parade of orientation and on-boarding events and workshops (mainly virtual, but I did get to meet my cohort-mates in person, which was very nice).  I do, however, have an office now -- a cozy one at the very top of the Art History building -- and am starting to think seriously about my chapter questions, so there is some movement.   I am also still exploring tools to use for my thesis.  I was hoping to use Scrivener for writing because of its corkboard and binder functions, however, it seems like its really not set up for any sort of reference and citation functions.  There are workarounds, but they all seem to take far longer than I'd like to spend, and I foresee deadline-doom and forgetting of references, etc. etc.  I think I will stick with Word for now while I explore other options. I have decided to use Mendeley as a refere

MScR Dissertation Submission

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  This week I finished and submitted my Art History dissertation for my MScR in Collections and Curating Practices, which was titled:  Elaines and Ophelias, Mothers and May Queens: Comparative Representations of Women in the Photography and Practice of Julia Margaret Cameron and Henry Peach Robinson I'm very happy with how it turned out.  There was a lot of restructuring towards the end as the dissertation evolved to become more about the photographers themselves, rather than simply their photographs as I had originally intended.  However, I came to a lot of conclusions that I am proud of regarding how Cameron and Robinson not only showed their different ideas about women's power dynamics in the domestic sphere and the impact of unrequited love on men and women as visible through interpretation of their images, but also how the photography practices and the signature  photography techniques of each photographer were gendered in themselves.   For example, in these two images of

1.4 Thematic Analysis 2: Presenting Books with Digital Display (Migrated NLS Project Blog Post)

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Our brief from the NLS states, “When we put books in cases, we are changing them from literature into exhibit, and in doing so saying something additional to the content of the item itself.”  However, in a simple traditional book display, the viewer is allowed access to only one spread – two pages of information from which to interpret the entire book.  In light of this, I want to consider the following question: can digital display help solve the problems traditionally associated with the display of books? In order to explore two avenues of answers to the above question, I will separate books into two categories: significant books (valued primarily for their contents), and beautiful books (valued primarily for their visual properties), and look at digital display in conjunction with an example of each type. While these are not mutually exclusive classifications, most books will fall more heavily into one category or the other. Loxley et al., state that “an emphasis on showing beautifu

1.1 Self Appraisal (Migrated NLS Project Blog Post)

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(1) Identify your key responsibilities and list the main areas of work you have been involved in. Briefly highlight the skills and competencies that are relevant to this project/work area. At the onset of this project it was my job to be the communicator with all contacts aside from Sheena.  We chose to do this on the advice of Shona Thomson, who recommended it as a way to maintain clarity.  However, as we moved into Semester 2 the volume of communications grew exponentially, and each of us took on communicating with our own relevant contacts.  This required the ability to remember the new contacts we were making weekly at the Library, and to gather and distill information back and forth for my group. It also required the ability to know when to redistribute this work load to avoid oversaturation. I was responsible for coordinating the Conversation Corner, a role which consisted of identification of and communication with suitable and diverse participants, and scheduling and drawing-up

1.5.6 The Octanorm Disaster (Migrated NLS Project Blog Post)

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In my entry of December 22 nd , I mentioned that we were planning to use a large x-shaped Octanorm structure in our exhibition.  In January, we received a list of the Library’s available Octanorm pieces, and owing to a lack of compatible parts with our initial design, had to re-design to a t-shaped structure. Due to a lack of communication from the Library’s usual Octanorm printer/assembler, we confirmed two other suppliers in late January: Mackinnon Slater for printing, and Old School Fabrications for assembly. Wednesday the 26th, 8 days before opening, we received an email from Scott at Old School Fabrications saying the pieces on the Library’s Octanorm parts list were not compatible with our design.  We calculated that we had about £1300 to spare in the budget to put towards fixing the situation, and I undertook the coordination of that. I first attempted to rent additional Octanorm pieces from a company, who instead offered to fully reprint and assemble on a non-Octanorm system for

1.5.5 Phoebe Anna Traquair's Illuminated Manuscript (Migrated NLS Project Blog Post)

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One of the questions posed to us at the January 17 th meeting was from curator Olive Geddes, who asked “How does the Phoebe Anna Traquair manuscript fit in […] the overall theme of ‘advice’?” I would like to address that here. In our meeting with NLS curators on October 4th, we were shown many hand-selected items from the collections which they thought may fit the theme of International Women’s Day, including Phoebe Anna Traquair’s illuminated manuscript of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese .  We had all been very taken with this piece, and thought it would make a perfect Big Ticket Item to attempt to draw visitors, considering her huge involvement in the Scottish Arts and Crafts movement. Barrett Browning and Traquair were both women working in artistic fields which were, at the time, predominantly populated by men, and we have been considering them as providing Advice by Example. Barrett Browning in particular challenged the societal roles of women at the time

1.3 Thematic Analysis 1: Defining Authenticity (Migrated NLS Project Blog Post)

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One of the points the National Library of Scotland wanted us to consider within the brief we were given at the beginning of our project is the question of authenticity as applied to digital material within their collection, asking: “is authenticity of the original format important?”  As we have been planning our exhibition, this has come up as a troublesome topic, both in whether or not to present this to our audience as a front-facing issue in the exhibition, and in how to gauge the differences in audience interaction with digital vs. physical objects to attempt to respond to this question. I want to delve into the specifics of the term “authenticity,” as it can have several meanings in the context of our project and in relation to any digital artefacts.  Firstly, how does the term authenticity concern the integrity of the material presented within artefacts, and secondly, how does the term authenticity relate to the value of interaction with artefacts? I’d later like to update this w