Research Background

In early 2014, I was sent a link to this on the Guardian website and here on the RCA website and thought “that looks interesting”.  As it was close to the application deadline, and in an attempt to make the opportunity relevant to my MSci in Geoscience, I very quickly put together a proposal based around the visualisation of the history of gaseous emissions (both natural and anthropomorphic).  While I was excited by the prospect, I did not think that I was in with a realistic chance of being offered it, which at the time was oddly reassuring and most probably influenced the way in which I wrote the proposal.

A few days later I received an invitation to an interview at the Royal College of Art.  All of a sudden I wasn’t so reassured, again I was excited, but now I knew I would have to introduce and defend myself in front of experts in the field, a field that I had no background in and was making an appeal to enter.  Luckily, everyone there was amiable and (despite my nerves and having misplaced my notes) the interview went well, at least I think that it did, or can infer that it did!  I was asked to make a presentation about myself, attempting to take on board Edward Tufte’s words about Powerpoint, I did this using Prezi which I would not call an alternative, but is an excellent piece of software in its own right.

When I was offered the studentship I was surprised, and after some serious thought about the future, I accepted.  A full description of the undertaking can now be found on the Royal College of Art website.

Before starting I had wrongly assumed that members of  the department (IDE) would predominantly have an art or design history and was (maybe a little pleasantly) surprised to find that is wasn’t the case, and that everyone came from an interesting and diverse background.  This is something that I think adds greatly to the environment, especially for the Masters students, who have a world class and almost unique opportunity.

So far the experience has been fascinating.  It is a real privilege to return a leaning environment and there aren’t many opportunities where you can focus on an important and interesting topic for 3 years and, in the process, (hopefully) become an expert.

I have also been able to explore avenues in formal education that thought I had closed long ago, having not taken history or art on to GCSE level, but having retained an interest in them.

I have started this blog 3 months late to document it in real time from start to finish, but I will attempt to catch up with myself, and document the more interesting aspects of it.

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