Another late post! Letting it all slip a bit as I get my head as far into writing as possible (not always easy…) I’ve now finished all three analysis chapters (wtf, I know, right?) in 3 months and am bashing away at my redraft literature review, then I’ll do my methodology, then intro / conclusion, then edit the whole thing, submit to supervisors to read, then edit one last time before submitting in November…!! So bloody close now. Can’t wait to see what’s around the bend as well! So here are some musings from last month.
I am actually onto my third analysis chapter now, but here is an old post about the second analysis chapter…oh how time flies!
The sun is positively BEATING down here in Glasgow, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ is blasting from the building site, and memories of loch swimming and 6Music Festival gigs are only recently fogging in my mind’s eye from the weekend…
It’s been a while since I’ve written and my brain is a little fuzzy today (turns out your natural alarm clock isn’t always the best thing to rely on…) so rather than wake up and ‘carry on writing my PhD’ I thought I’d have a bit of free-writing-esque on this here blog, let you know where I’m at, that sort of thing.
Hello! I know I know it’s been a while…I have a couple in the pipeline but I’ve been frantically finishing my interviews and coding the data and going here and there (long distance relationships are no mean feat) but here is an oooold one for you that I’ve dug out of the drafts box and dusted off. My flatmate has since started her PhD (hooray!) and I’ve moved into the third year of mine (more on that later). But here it is for you:
I was chatting through my research with my dear flatmate the other night. She is currently doing a Masters and is going on to do a PhD next year, and is great. Her research is about Islamophobia and racialisation, and we’re both drawing on similar thinkers to make sense of the work we are doing; Les Back and Stuart Hall are both making an appearance in our own work. Their work on the everyday, the complexities of identity and representation, and doing research as ethically as possible are both really important to our different subject matters.
So every now and then we will come together and talk about how our stuff is going, what we need to do, problems we’re having, that kind of thing. And we always come away with mind-maps scrawled on the back of envelopes-! (Thanks, Shiela’s Wheels – other insurance providers are available). It was a conversation about the news which kicked it off. She’d been away from the world at a festival for the weekend, and was saying that she looked at the news upon her return but then instantly regretted it, as the faces of the victims of the Orlando shooting spread across her screen.
So flying back from Menorca to a broken Britain was unpleasant to say the least. Although while I’d been away I’d created this image of carnage and chaos taking over the streets in my head, things are kind of just carrying on in people’s everyday as they were, just with the ever increasingly cold realisation that nothing will ever be the same again.
It’s fascinating because depending on who you ask, what you believe and what you are fighting for (or indeed against), you will have a completely different perspective on what Britain leaving the EU actually means. So here’s my two cents on how this creates a fascinating, and troubling backdrop to my research into the ways in which migrant, refugee and asylum seeking women make the city their home through the things they do in their everyday lives.
The seemingly politically condoned public racism which ensued following the referendum result has been vile to see. This post by Dr. Anna Matthews for the Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network blog talks about this, and similarly relates it to her own research, which I intend to do in this post.
Glasgow Welcomes Refugees March, June 2016 – photo taken by me
So in the last 3 weeks I’ve been in Leicester, Manchester, Menorca, Manchester, Leicester, Bradford until finally returning back to the flat in Glasgow.
Really detailed map illustrating my recent travels…
It’s been a rollercoaster ride of leaving things behind by accident, nearly missing trains, and being many multiple formations of myself in different places at different times. I’ve been a daughter, a girlfriend, an old best pal, an ex, an auntie, a cousin, a student, a new friend and an aquaintance, and it’s been fascinating to reflect on how I am me in those different spaces, all of which have been home for me at different times in my life.
Recently I was spending the afternoon with a Polish woman and her son who I met back in June. We went to an activities for kids in the church she goes to, and then strolled through the park to get some lunch, talking all the while about Poland, Glasgow, moving to a new place, Polish traditions and such.
Walking through the shopping centre (great places to spend time in Glasgow, particularly when it’s raining and for people watching), I came across one of the Open Museums’ travelling exhibits for the first time, pictured below.
I thought it was fascinating, unusual, and brilliant.
As I walk further down the track of this PhD through the dense woods of thoughts, theories and conversations, I have moved away from believing that although, yes, there should be some element of the researcher’s own experiences in the work (particularly in Anthropology), that it shouldn’t ring out a clear bias, presenting the data in one way or another, to quite a different ideology (this post is a bit of a stream of consciousness, so you’ll apparently have to wait until the end before I tell you what this ideology is-! Apologies on behalf of consciousness-streaming Ruth). As I have begun to research what I have identified as mainstream heritage representations in the city of Glasgow, I am increasingly frustrated by voices which are routinely excluded in these various mainstream places (museums, city marketing etc) which supposedly claim that they are telling ‘the’ story of ‘the’ people ‘of Glagsow’.
The city has a Black and Minority Ethnic population of around 12%, many of whom were born in the city and many of whom, I am sure, would say they feel they are ‘of’ Glasgow, and yet those voices are much quieter in mainstream representations of Glasgow’s heritage than the ‘indigenous’ white population (I’m obviously not saying their being ‘of’ the city is invalid by any means, although we are all immigrants at some point down the line…simply that the imbalance should be addressed).
Speaking from my own experience; my parents are from Birmingham. I was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire. As I have got older and moved away from my hometown and childhood home, my sense of being ‘of’ Bradford, or certainly Yorkshire, has strengthened, grown and those roots have dug themselves in deeper each year, and with every new person that I say should go to Yorkshire, and every time someone correctly identifies me as Northern (or incorrectly identifies me as Southern…). I’ve written a song about it and everything, called ‘home’.
‘This soaring, roaring wild land will always call me back up”
So I’m here.
Officially a resident of Glasgow. I’m not sure I entirely fit into the category of ‘New Glaswegian’ – a term that one of the people I met with in June used when talking about people who moved from outside of the UK to Glasgow. I like that.
It’s been a pretty mad week of trying to settle a little better into my nest. I love my flat, I’ve just been a little overfaced with the fact that I’ve just moved to a new – massive – city from what is a relatively small one. I’m feeling a lot better now, partly because of something that happened the other night…
“what happened the other night, Ruth?”
Well, dear reader, let me relay the tale.
I’m doing the opposite of what the sensible birds do, i.e. move somewhere warmer in winter. I’m moving somewhere colder. In summer.
I got an email from my supervisor the other day who is based in Glasgow telling me that my “wellies will need wellies and my jumpers will need jumpers”. Hmm. Well, I suppose it’s a good job that jumpers is the one thing I have in abundance. I should get in some sun before I leave though…Also, I like rain, I’m from Bradford, rain and grey skies are like a lovely comforting blanket. You wake up in the morning, and you always know what colour the sky will be. And there are lots of different shades of grey (the terrible book has muddied that phrase forever more…)
This post is going to be about the recent trip I made to Glasgow to talk to a vast array of brilliant, helpful, interesting, exciting and excited people. I had a blast, was very tired and a little ill at the end of it, but I came out of it with a couple of possible collaborations and a flat-! So not a day goes by where I don’t fantasise about my beautiful new house on the hill with its glorious view to the hills beyond the city. I love a view, I grew up with one so moving into a gorgeous home with a new view feels like coming home, but in a new city.
So. Let’s talk about Glasgow. I arrived after the obligatory 5 hour train journey from Leicester (bumachesville), travelled to the place that would be my base for the next week-and-a-bit. I have lots of friends who live in Glasgow which a) means I’m moving to an established network of ace folk which is GREAT and b) means there’s always been somewhere to lay my head whenever I’ve gone to visit. I was staying in the West End, which is a predominantly quite affluent part of the city, and at the subway was welcomed by this piece of public art: