A few months have past since I submitted A5, at the beginning of June. I made a note of the feedback here and have followed the suggestion of letting the work breathe before making the final push. In the meantime, I have completed by BoW and am also about to submit A5 for that.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have worked again on the dissertation. It has changed significantly, although no additional research has been incorporated. I note here the main areas of change:
- Completing my BoW and working with the idea that the dissertation should in some way help me to better explain / articulate that work (though not describe it) has been a help in restructuring the argument and flow of the dissertation. It was previously focused on an argument around ‘meaning’. However, it is now focused on an argument for the representation of the canal as a post-industrial landscape that is not merely pastoral, as seen in many contemporary images but a representation that both reflects social spatialisation and the continuing effects of deindustrialisation. This both places the canal at the centre of the argument and allows me to explain why I have chosen to include the images I have in my body of work. It has completely changed the flow of the work.
- In the update, I have removed any of the antagonism towards the Canal & River Trust (CRT) that had creeped in as I researched their treatment of those on the margins of society, hoping to make do on the canal, with a boat as a main residence. The issues are still stated but in a way that also comments on the CRT’s perspective – this way they are presented as another layer to the canal’s story, rather than an attack on CRT.
- The bulk of my time working on this iteration has been fine-tuning the wording. Adjusting or removing any phrases that jarred against the flow of the argument or the ear. Trying out different words. Removing unnecessary repetition, and so on. This was an iterative process, until I reached the point that nothing seemed out of place – at least to me.
- I have concluded the dissertation with the same words I have used in my BoW short film. I see these acting as a portal between the written and the visual. It is also pleasing to see how my academic research is reflected in the prose of these words.
I’ve been remined that this kind of writing is hard work. It is no different to writing and learning to play a long musical piece for an audience. It requires practice and many revisits. There is perhaps something deceptive about writing – because writing in general is common place, what it takes to make very good writing is underestimated.