Title of PhD:
"Deviant Subjectivities": The Monster and the Child in the Gothic Imagination.
Briefly describe your area of research
I am exploring the depiction of monstrous figures in Gothic works, with a particular reference to their interactions with, or position within, the family. My research spans two centuries of populist Gothic texts and images, exploring key moments in the history of a genre.
From the "bodice ripper" and penny dreadful, to the comic book and "video nasties", the monstrous Gothic has often been viewed as a corrupting influence, set against so-called "family values".
I am interested in narratives of harm surrounding children, and the Gothic as both a source of harm and a forum to explore fears and anxieties.
What do you enjoy about studying at Reading?
I have a great supervisor and am building a wonderful friendship group among my fellow PhD students, who are becoming family.
The Professional Development provision from the Doctoral and Researcher College has often been of a very high quality, especially the Introduction to Teaching. I also like the engaged and politically aware atmosphere on campus.
What advice would you give a new postgraduate researcher?
DON'T panic about not having much written at the end of year one, or still feeling like you have a lot of conflicting information and ideas.
The first year is very much a chance to orientate yourself in your work, relationships and your field of study.
DO go to a conference or two, even if you don't present – meet people who do what you do, they're really very nice! I now have friends all over the world.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Lecturing and researching in the Gothic and popular culture history at a university level! Otherwise, I'd love to use my research on populist media cultures to work with media producers on their fan engagement and intertextual promotions, and help the seemingly faceless corporations achieve respectful and creative dialogues with diverse communities.
What were your reasons for choosing part-time study?
It's cheaper! If you can't secure funding, this minimises the probability of debt. Also, it's flexible – having some ongoing health issues, I am glad I have the opportunity to work over a longer period if it is required that I "slow down" at points.
What are the advantages and challenges of part-time registration?
The main challenge is that there are often expectations that PhD students have no commitments in their time, so events and training are scheduled haphazardly, or notification of talks is sent out only a couple of days in advance. I would like to engage more on campus, but I need more notice.
One of the advantages is that I feel much less pressure than my compatriots with fixed-term funding, which leads to lower stress levels.