Here I note a few thoughts and actions from my tutorial this morning (1st draft of dissertation). There was positive feedback on the work as a draft and some useful development ideas to work on for the final draft (tutorial scheduled for early June). My tutor’s written feedback will come in due course, but this post is to flag general points to keep in mind as the work further progresses.
- Make a start on next draft immediately – use momentum. Then let it sit for a while before revisiting and sending for feedback.
- Work needed on structuring now that the bulk of the ideas are down. Sections need to be more clearly demarked as chapters and direction more clearly mapped out. In the introduction, be mindful of the technical aspects re mapping out the dissertation etc.
- Think about a chapter (background) that discusses the canal as a contested space/conflicted representation self-contained and in advance of theoretical content. Consider broader representations of the canal (eg Canal Street / Amsterdam redlight). Hold back on the theory relating to ‘meaning’ until scene thoroughly set.
- Think about what is essential to the work – for example, the idea that the space has transitioned from one thing to another and remains unsettled. Then decide which aspects might be downsized after letting it sit for a while. Beware of window dressing / forcing in quotations.
- In some parts there is a loss of own voice that gets lost in enthusiasm to quote sources. Example given, was reference to Berger / Barthes – while relevant, are these generally over used? Consider cutting back weight given to them, while still pointing to awareness of their work. Don’t feel pressure to ‘name-drop’.
- Some areas need more expansive thinking – clarify what is meant and avoid leaving reader wondering. Consider whether more material is needed on deindustrialisation. Unpick the CaRT images further
- Consider the idea of ‘conspicuous leisure’ versus ‘enforced leisure’.
Finally – as I work up the next draft, print regularly (in whole or part) and mark up with areas to work on / move around / delete.