These are the kind of headlines magazines love to guilt us into reading this time of year, so apologies if I just hooked you the same way. I don’t know about you but doing a PhD has made me take milestones like New Year to reassess where I’m going and kick-start any stagnant processes. PhDs are a mysterious leviathan, lurking somewhere beneath our consciousness (and often slightly out of reach, generally, of others’ understandings). I thought I’d share my experiences of practical field research (my PhD is in the fields of Sound Studies, Geography and Urban Studies) on a field trip to and from Australia, via Sri Lanka and Hong Kong in December 2016 and early January 2017, and how they have helped reinvigorate my belief in my research.
Why Australia, you may ask? How lucky. Well, yes and no. Fortunate to have gone, but as a self-funded PhD candidate, I was paying my own way. The initial reason for the trip was business, as well as being way of visiting distant relatives in Melbourne with our children. However, I also had wanted to go back to Sydney for some time as part of my auto-ethnographic ‘jigsaw’ methodology of revisiting and documenting my response to places in which I have lived in, have called ‘home’, and which have therefore formed who I am and how I view space, place and identity (essentially the topic of my doctorate).