3 is the magic number…

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.



Chapter 2 – People

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.

And now you’re back (from outer space…)


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.

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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.

Love Hawk – In Praise of Here

A blog post to come (I know it’s been a while) but I’ve just been on Mull for a weekend for a research retreat and I got back to this email, which I feel really resonates with the weekend and the work I’m doing on the whole. I love this guy; David Hale aka Love Hawk , he’s such a beautiful artist and I want to get a tattoo by him before I leave this world behind me. He’s in the God Squad, which I’m not, but I take from it what resonates with me, as lots of his work does.


I’ll leave you with his words for now though.

– here –

This place is woven with stories and reminders that create a mythology called “Place” or “Home” or in reverence, “Ikunu ‘tchaka” the “Beloved Land.”

– here, I rescued a Black Rat Snake and gave it new life -here is where an old Red Oak fell and  I cut it and felt its weight in my long arms – here is the place I remember my son walking the woods and I have witnessed the two growing together – here is where I learned I would be a father – here is where I learned my mother’s father had passed -here is where my wife would sit and nurse my soft son and nourish him with life – here is the place where a fox looked deeply into me and my dear friends’ eyes – here is where the full moon struck a circle at the most opportune time -here I had great Vision- here I washed my sins in the River-  here we helped a Bluebird raise her young – this is the place I sat on the forest floor in my darkest hours and cried –  here I was quiet – here I saw the Grace of my Wife – here I opened my Heart and sang to my Father’s pain and the love in his eyes- here I stood – here I sat- here i walked – here i laid- here i loved-  here –

Filled with all these stories, I mark them down on surfaces placed before me.  These serve as markers, like tags each hung on thousands of tangents that radiate out from me.  All of these people, locations, creatures, experiences, and so-called “things” have tangents which extend back and are anchored in Ancestry.  There are tied taut to the Ancestors; the Ones that have come before; of the People, the Land, the Creatures, and all those So-Called “Things.”

Then, unfurling out from this great Mythology are endless tendrils, growing like Muscadine Vines.  Some find your eye and reach you there, some find your hands and reach you there, some find your home and reach you there, a special few find your flesh and reach you there.  Like a web being woven these Stories extend out from there, knots tied in the Hearts they reach along their Course.  The strongest bonds are made in this way, for the Creator, the great Web Weaver is given Container to tie taut these knots.   From here you carry these tendrils, more tangents, creating a silvery web connected through so many Hearts.
And so, I give thanks for -here-

Trifling exclusions / to be ‘of’ somewhere

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”

Glasgow in June

Morning all!

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:

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To Belong

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View of Bradford from my bedroom window, old badge found in a charity shop in Newcastle by a friend, and badge made by a friend, Bradford artist Jo Billingsley

Here are some words I scribbled in my scrapbook for this project a wee while ago:

What does it mean: ‘to belong’…?

I belonged in you, Bradford, for a while. My heart sang with the changing of the buildings’ coats to that blackened sand, upon the smell of murky fresh air enveloping me as I descended the train that had held me hostage in space devoid of all meaning; a big, expansive grey green question-mark. No home of mine, no place I knew.

But arriving to you, Bradford, it always felt like getting into bed after a long day, tired and placeless but oh, so content. I was younger, things were in place – family, boyfriend, friends, fresh memories and nights out at the 1 in 12 in the holidays; one of my many ‘homes’ in the city. I owned a share in all these places, my participation guaranteed my comfort there.


Do you know, now, I actually I feel I belong wherever I have dear friends. I feel at home in Leicester – because of my big ol’ grown up turrent-house, but also the knowledge of the number of people to share and explore the city with.

Yes, none local.

This does make a difference. I am effectively a long-term tourist, it shifts your spheres of participation, only spending time with other PhD students. The odd night at pottery, though it is only through the repeated and regular rhythm of returning to these that we establish networks, begin to sprout roots.