HEI: University of St Andrews
Funding: AHRC DTP
Title: Robert Burns in Scottish Politics (1914-2014)
Supervisors: Professor Colin Kidd and Professor Robert Crawford
What was your research about?
It was an interdisciplinary project focusing on interactions between literature, cultural memory, cultural politics, and national identity in 20-21st century Scotland. It studied the political uses of Robert Burns’s memory in the modern era, emphasising a shift from the decline of Victorian, unionist readings of the poet to the devolution of his legacy since the 1970s.
What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?
To prove to myself I could complete a full, book-length piece of work whilst understanding complex, structural issues regarding the history and literature of my host-country — Scotland.
Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?
Crafting and polishing an argument that runs over more than 200 pages and having the opportunity and time to read a lot of poetry and learn the Scots language.
I also enjoyed completing a challenging academic mission that intrigued and made sense for a broader Scottish audience — from my friends, to my in-laws, and my barber.
How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?
My PhD has helped me understand what I expect from life, having as much time as possible to think, and read, and write, whilst allowing for unexpected encounters and adventures leading thoughts onto new, exciting tracks. This has helped me understand that, whatever happens in the future, I want a career tailored to those priorities. If the job market allows me, this might mean an academic career. Otherwise, any form of part time or seasonal work, leaving me enough time to deploy creative writing and critical thinking, will do.
Until July 2022, I am working as a post-doctoral assistant in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.
One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?
Start writing as promptly as possible and try to deliver your first chapter within the first 10 months. There will be time to edit later on, but try and put as much concrete writing under your belt as possible as you’re still fresh. This will allow you to feel much more prepared and secure when the infamous second-year slump kicks in.
Where can people find you?
This article was published on 11 April, 2022