My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

Researching out and about in Kew

As I have written about in previous posts, the centre I am based in organises monthly research meetings during the ‘academic year’ months. It has however become a sort of tradition that the last meeting in June is what we call a ‘research day away’. Last year we visited the two London Tates. This year we travelled a bit out of central London toKew.

Our first stop was at the Collection Care department at The National Archives. There they discussed with us what is the work they do. However, even more importantly they discussed how they approach research and how it is informing their policy making and priorities.

As a researcher it is very important to understand how research is being used in practice in institutions working outside of academia and what is valuable to these institutions as outputs from research. Particularly as they are a partner in my PhD project it was exciting to hear more about how my work will feed into the bigger picture of the work and research being done at TNA.

A visit to the repositories was then planned. I have of course often visited them, but for most of the others in the group it was their first time, for some also their first time in an archival repository. It was interesting to learn that they position their materials on the basis of how often they are requested, amongst other factors, so as to improve accessibility to their users. Accessibility in fact seems to be one of the highest, if not the highest, priority at TNA.

Following a delicious lunch at TNA, the day then continued with a visit to Kew Gardens. It was my first visit there, partly because none of my friends were that interested in going, and partly because I never could justify me spending money for me to visit on my own. It was good to finally go though. We thus spent the afternoon walking around the gardens, peeking through different greenhouses (it was too hot to spend too much time in any of them!) and in general just relaxing with our people from the group.

A thoroughly enjoyable day. I think it is a great idea of bringing the group together, while learning more about the field we work in and relaxing together. Looking forward to next year’s research day away. Who knows where we will go?

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June 2010
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