Monday, May 26, 2008

PhD: a child's eye view

In typical style my daughter was styling out going to bed this evening. This used to involve asking her most tricky questions at bedtime, classics being 'how do you make skateboards?' or 'how was the earth made?'. This has become more sophisticated as we've got older and she has become very good at engaging me in conversation at this bedtime time.

Anyway this evening, for the first time, she showed a real interest in my PhD (oh I know she's smart - obviously seen me waffling about it to some poor soul, cornered at a family gathering, and thought 'that'll buy me 10 more mins' and the rest). Anyway as someone who is big into narrative and the benefits of storytelling, I always value the opportunity to reflect on my own story. What was also good was that her questions are so left-field I could use this for Viva experience.

So here is something like how our conversation went:

Q.Did they always have a PhD or did it only start when you started working there?
A. No the university already did PhDs. Everyone does a PhD on their own subject - sort of something they want to figure out and get expert in. I'm a student, it's a bit like doing a course.

Q.What is your subject?
A.Gender and entrepreneurship in the creative industries

Q.What does that mean?
A.Well Gender is sort of you know whether someone is a male or female, entrepreneurship is about running a business and creative industries are you know art, film making, design and stuff.

Q.Oh - why are you doing that?
A.Well I did some research and it seems women are less likely to run businesses doing that stuff than men

Her: Mum - you know it's just because in the olden days women didn't even work

Me: I guess, I mean I know that's sort of why

Q.Well you don't really need to bother doing the PhD now do you? I mean that's the answer

A.Yeah but. the whole thing is I can't just say that I have to do the research to evidence it.

Q.Why don't you just be an artist instead?

A.Well I was when I left college. You know uncle XX and I had our studio in the Custard Factory and we tried, but you know, I guess I just didn't know how to run a business.

Bingo I was off...

You see as an artist you need to know how to run a business, you know sell your paintings, promote yourself, get commissions, deliver on time, do your tax returns...

(Well that was the entrepreneurship and the creative industries bit covered...)

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