I am now on the train back from a trip to the British Library (Doctorate Day) that outlines the type of manuscripts, collections and archives are available as a ‘Reader’. A fascinating and long day of interesting curatorial talks. However, the best part was the networking benefit where I met many interesting PhD students who were also at the same stage of research, also voicing the same frustrations and deliberations about the process and especially the transition from their own practice to the written and academic research element. I met one lady who is creating poetry surrounding (rather serendipitously) the idea of ‘home’. Another lady who is looking at the idea of the creative boundary between non-fiction and fictional writing. It is interesting to note that the practice-led frustrations as a writer seem to be similar for my own painting practice – the amalgamation of ideas flowing from one to the other seems fine in theory but in practice is a difficult transition to make, smoothly. The language is different. The language of painting somehow can’t be totally expressed or interpreted verbally and the same could be said of some written fictional narratives. It defies complete explanation – through the written communication, meaning is lost.
It was also interesting to note that the British Library curators also couldn’t encourage us enough to come to view any items archived in person, rather than seek them out through an online process. By the very nature of experiencing and communication with staff in person, further information and avenues could be explored. This is refreshing to know and comforting to realise that the resources are there – 9 miles of archive material however, seems a bit daunting to negotiate at this stage!