Work In Progress

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‘Mr Oliver Hill will tackle new and interesting problems in Domestic Architecture’ (1928, Architect and Building News)

This week I went through my MPhil to PhD transfer interview. In light of the seismic political change that has occurred in this country in the last seven days this interview is hardly worth mentioning. However, I decided that I should look at this blog as more of a journey through my PhD so it would be odd not to write about this small milestone in my PhD journey.

The last two years have been interesting from a research point of view. I have come to look at the work of Oliver Hill in a completely different way. Tackling my fear of writing has certainly helped in that process. It’s certainly not all plain sailing but I have realised that putting my thoughts on paper instead of storing them somewhere in my head has made life much easier. This is especially the case when you are working part-time on your PhD. Having something on paper to go back to after a break makes the shift from work to research less tricky. Writing more has also made me feel more confident about my topic and this, I feel, has helped me in presenting my work to a variety of people.

I have been surprised at how helpful presenting your work in progress actually is. Although I didn’t see my transfer interview in the same category as a WIP event the discussion and questions that followed my presentation were equally helpful. What do you expect to get out/achieve with this research was perhaps the question that stood out for me the most. I guess every PhD student starts out a vague idea of what they want to achieve and where they see themselves after completion. Nevertheless, I seem to have lost track of this bigger picture whilst researching Hill’s wok in such detail. So what do I want to achieve with my research? Intrigue in the sometimes odd and contradictory lenses through which Hill and his oeuvre have been represented made me start this research. I have since come to see these lenses as useful instead of problematic. If, by the end of my journey with Hill, I can present his work as a case study for further research on equally enigmatic architects/ designers working during the interwar period, and if I can highlight the benefits of approaching architectural history beyond the text, maybe then I can truly feel that I have added a little cog into the broader research of the Interwar period.

Fingers crossed



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