PhD Cohort 2018
Funding: AHRC DTP
Project Title: Bloody Women: A critical-creative examination of how female protagonists have transformed contemporary Scottish and Nordic crime fiction
What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?
I completed a MA in Creative Writing as a mature student which I thoroughly enjoyed and was thrilled to receive a distinction.
I never thought of myself as particularly academic and had never considered undertaking a PhD particularly as I was juggling work and family commitments. However, when a colleague suggested it to me, I began to look into the possibility.
I have always been particularly interested in gender violence and the role of women in crime fiction. Thanks to the encouragement of Kathleen Jamie and Liam Bell, at Stirling University, I was offered a place to research my topic and then was lucky to be awarded AHRC funding. Without that, and the support of SGSAH and the staff at Stirling University, I would not have been able to undertake my PhD.
How has your PhD helped your career path?
Since completing my PhD, I have published three novels including one based on my doctoral research, The Invisible Chains. All proceeds from the sales of this book go to the TARA Project in Glasgow and SOHTIS, to support those affected by human trafficking.
During my PhD research I piloted Story Café sessions with Women’s Aid East and Midlothian and this led me to set up my own social enterprise, Sharing A Story CIC, in 2019.
We use shared reading and writing sessions to work with people at risk of social isolation and have worked with groups including Women’s Aid East and Midlothian; East Lothian day centres; Headway East Lothian and Dunbar Dementia Carers Support Group. Just Write! a book of creative writing prompts was published in 2020 with all profits reinvested in the CIC.
Now I am working in various avenues and making the most of interesting opportunities which have come my way…
I am a project facilitator on bold, a joint initiative between Edinburgh and Queen Margaret Universities and funded by the Life Changes Trust. The bold project is a social leadership programme, with a focus on creative methods, to help those living with dementia flourish.
I have recently been appointed as an artist in residence with Luminate and Erskine Care Homes.
In addition, I have been appointed as the first Storyteller in Residence for this year’s Fringe by the Sea Festival in North Berwick.
I am also a freelance trainer in First Aid for Mental Health and deliver courses on behalf of Environmental Health CIC.
One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?
Enjoy it! I felt extremely lucky to have this time and space to research a subject I was passionate about.
Be open to trying new things, always say thank you, remember that learning is a lifelong process and always be curious.