This is a first for me – blogging my experiences and reflections for the world to see. I had to give myself a little pep talk when I was accepted to do my PhD that I would need to get used to people reading my work, critiquing, praising and disagreeing with me. I was absolutely terrible at this during undergraduate, sometimes not even reading an essay through before handing it in because my own words seemed so infantile to me.
Thankfully that stage is well and truly behind me and I rake through my work, often with my long suffering husband who has an incredible penchant for grammar (that I have not been blessed with).
But, I felt that during this journey, it was important to share not just my thoughts and reflections but those of the women I was interviewing as well. Many a joke has been made about dusty PhD tomes sitting on library shelves under a mountain of cobwebs. It is very likely that few people will ever read your work – especially in its full 100 000 word academic format. And although I am very much at peace with this (much of the content will be used for conferences and journal articles), I think of the women I interview and I am not so much at peace that they wouldn’t be heard. I think it important that the stories that they share, about their challenges, abuse, flight, harassment, joy, longing and hope would be heard, understood and empathised with. I don’t want their stories to only sit on a cobwebby in some corner of England. I want them out in the open, for others to access, read and reflect on.
So, this blog is a means for their stories to be shared, alongside musings of my PhD Journey. I would have loved to have let many of them write these post’s themselves. However, most of the women I interview are illiterate, and I don’t photograph or film them to protect their identities, as many of them are in the country illegally or with expired papers.
I hope that you enjoy my reflections and learn from their stories.