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Sarah's research project

Sarah Byrne’s PhD research is on the relatively new medium of livecasting. This is where live theatre performances are filmed and streamed into cinemas as they are being performed.

 

In particular, she is exploring the content and visual conventions that have developed in livecasting in the last decade.

Sarah Byrne, PhD student in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television
I’m really interested in how different media interact, and what impact this has on the storytelling process and the experience of watching a performance. As livecasting is a relatively new phenomenon (though it has roots in older broadcasting methods), its conventions are still being refined.

Undertaking interdisciplinary research in a supportive environment

Sarah completed her undergraduate degree here at Reading, so she was already familiar with the Department of Film, Theatre & Television before she started her PhD.

 

She chose to return because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Department, which suited her area of research perfectly. 

There is a broad range of knowledge and expertise to draw on. Most importantly for me, the framework is there to explore the connections between different media. I have wonderful supervisors and my fellow PhD students are another source of support. Everyone is very friendly and interested in each other’s work.

Engaging with the international research community

Sarah recently presented her first research paper, Both Grand and Intimate: the Aesthetic Hybridity of Livecasting, at an international conference. 

It was a daunting experience but an invaluable one, and I learned a lot about my research and presenting styles. It was a great opportunity to see what’s happening in the wider research community.

Advice for other PhD students

Sarah’s advice is to enjoy the initial research stage of your PhD study, where you’re still developing your ideas. 
I think you always feel some pressure that everything needs to be locked down and perfect immediately. But as you write, your PhD is continually developing, and this takes time.

Sarah is studying her doctoral degree part time. She emphasises the importance of managing your time effectively alongside other parts of your life.

Balancing your PhD with other commitments is an ongoing process and always needs to be taken into consideration. It’s important to be aware of changes in workload – make sure you plan these in advance and schedule in recovery and rest time.

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