I just met some friends of my new neighbour who recently moved in upstairs. I’ve also just baked a cake by way of procrastination (it’s pretty darn tasty – vegan chocolate and cinnamon cake) so went out to offer it to them as they were sawing up some crates to make a bed, and got talking about my PhD.
“What’s it about?”
“Well…” I prepare for my usual spiel “I’m looking at everyday participation in Glasgow, how people spend their time, where they spend their time, that kind of thing.”
“Oh cool, so basically what it means to be human within the confines of Glasgow?”
When you put it like that….completely unintentionally, this very brief exchange of cake and conversation has served to remind me of how great an opportunity this really is. Not that I had really forgotten (though the cake was definitely a procrastination technique), but I think as I’ve been putting off more specific reading around my topic to read in preparation for my assignment on the Research Philosophy module I have been taking (interpretivism, innit), I’ve lost my way a little, my zeal is a little less bright – but this tiny comment has reminded me again why it’s such a great thing to be doing –
We are all humans trying to make place, forge identities, and generally get by in this world, moving around, staying put, making friends, learning, sharing, and this PhD is an opportunity for me to play around with getting to grips with what it means to be human – why everyday participation is so fundamental to expressing what we value, who we are, why we are here and what we think about where ‘here’ is.
From what I have read / thought so far, place is vital to ‘being human’, though there is no universal way that people make sense of it / inhabit it / perform within it, and how these narratives cross over / collide / are entangled with one another through everyday participation in place is going to be a fascinating journey for me as I begin my fieldwork next September.
Anyway, there is cake to be eaten (see below).