My first post of the new year finds me with a lot of news to share about my time in Manchester and the increasing definition of my research.
The first piece of news I’m happy to share is that in December I was awarded a one month Fellowship to spend time with the collections in the Lilly Library at Indiana University. In what I hope will be the first of a couple of trips to the U.S. throughout my PhD years, I’m looking forward to delving into the collections not only at the Lilly Library, but also others holdings at IU, including a particularly promising one at the main campus library, which is a number of microfilms of output from the Underground Press Syndicate from the 1960s and 70s. Not only will this be particularly helpful for my own thesis, but hopefully for a research project I am contributing to on Small Magazines, organised by one of my current supervisors and an old supervisor from my undergraduate, in partnership with the UCL Small Press archive and some partners here in Manchester. I am also really keen to take up the opportunities to get involved with the wider academic community at IU, and look forward to making contact with some potential advisors and postgrad communities soon!
I have also begun a placement (pending ethics approval!) at the John Rylands Library, working with archivist/curator Janette Martin and friend and fellow PhD student Imogen Durant (you can find them both on Twitter by clicking their names) on expanding the library’s Jeff Nuttall archives through an oral history project. In addition to digitising and documenting a whole box of cassette tapes from the current holdings, Imogen and myself will be holding interviews with some of Nuttall’s contemporaries to document their memories and experiences of Jeff, and hopefully find some interesting material in the box of tapes. I’m really keen to get involved in this project, and was honoured to be asked, after having visited the Ryland’s current exhibition of Jeff Nuttall, which I wrote about here
Finally, today is the day of my half-year review (though why it is called such, after only 3 months, I can’t say). Over the last few months I’ve been doing lots of reading and writing in an attempt to pin down the theory that informs my work and to solidify my own contribution to the field. I’m looking forward to getting additional feedback on the current state of my project, and pushing on with the first chapter, which looks like it will be focusing on Queer conceptions of urban space in London and New York in the 60s and 70s, and interrogating questions of forms of violence (physical, ideological, moral, and spatial) and insurrection through/in writing. I’m particularly excited to start on this chapter as I can once again start engaging with the work of the excellent Fiona Anderson (whose work I first discovered during my MA). For anyone interested, there is an event linked to ideas of the urban Queer experience (among other things) being held in Glasgow at the end of February that I’m attending, entitled ‘Between the Sheets: Radical Print Cultures before the Queer Bookshop‘, which is linked to the Cruising the Seventies project, which I have been following keenly.