Not for the first time, I find myself on here and feeling rather guilty at my own lack of engagement with this blog. I don’t think it reflects a lack of engagement with my subject area, or with events going on around me, but it has perhaps been a result of a rather disconnected period of time.
Going into the second year of my PhD in Sheffield, there was still very much a plan to stay in the city for the majority of the following two or three years, with the exception of a month or two spent in Manchester in order to conduct fieldwork around 2013’s Manchester International Festival (MIF). Between September and December, that all changed. The other half, who had moved to Sheffield with me and worked at The Hepworth Wakefield, got a fantastic new job in London, and moved there. Spending a minimum of two days a week in Manchester but commuting back to Sheffield started to seem like a drag, and – perhaps inevitably – the lure of working in the University’s research office on the days I was there diminished as less and less students seemed to be working there on a regular basis. Add to that an increased number of contracted hours working at MIF, and the answer suddenly became clear: To move back to Manchester, embed myself further not just in MIF but the city’s cultural networks and events more generally, and focus.
So, as of the start of this month, I have cut one city out of the equation. Not entirely, but enough to focus more on the reasons I began this research in the first place, and less on the logistical difficulties of commuting. And with this new start in the city I have previously called home comes the beginning of a new bit of research. So I’m settling down to look at the impact of new media – particularly social media – on cultural events. It’s quite exciting really!