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.
In Dialogue with Glasgow
I recently returned from my first visit to Glasgow, (not counting the week’s holiday a couple of years ago which saw me apply for this PhD in the first place), and it seems that this is as good a place as any to embark on musings for this blog. The three days lit the fire in my belly with the excitement at the prospect of moving there at the end of June next year to carry out fieldwork for the 2nd year of my PhD.
I spent the visit meeting a variety of people all with different perspectives of the city and different lenses to see it through (from community arts practitioners to council members), and walking around following the famous model of the ‘flaneur’ or aimless wanderer, as practiced in so many places by Walter Benjamin. This wandering took me from central to the West End, and South of the river to Govanhill, all of which felt very different to the other, and with different groups making up the local population. (Govanhill has historically been comprised of a large immigrant population; from the Irish in the early 1800s escaping famine, and with a second wave arriving in the 60s, immigration from the Indian sub-continent, Pakistan in particular, in the 60s and 70s, to the Roma population which began to grow since Slovakia and the Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004. This has resulted in a huge range of food vendors, restaurants and cafes, smells and sounds, and I definitely felt the echoes with my hometown of Bradford with its similarly mixed community.)
Govanhill Community Baths – where I met with Jim, who told me about the 13 year long struggle to regain community ownership following its closure in 2001. It has now been opened again for 2 and a half years. He showed me around this majestic (and cold!) building and talked to me about plans, projects, including a vision to eventually have community allotments in the cubicles under the huge glass roof, where people would be able to grow and eat their own food.
A mural using recycled bottle tops, cerated in collaboration with children in a local school, sits in the garden outside the baths.