So, my supervisors have worked on me this week, one assisting a good deal of lateral thought, and the other requesting a timely update on my progress to date.
I've also attended another of the PhD events - this time a workshop - run by the Graduate School. These seem to be happening frequently at the moment, probably due to the influx of new research students at the University. Life is certainly full of bustle over at Corsham Court.
I will start to thrash out a progress paper next week, but my initial thoughts are that I seem to have come a long way in the last few months, and writing it down will show me just how far.
Since my initial registration in July, I have indeed 'read everything I could get my hands on' (as per advice from Elaine Chalus) I've realised I'm deeply intimidated by a massive pile of books, so just pick a small selection, perhaps four or five, to tackle at a time. So far, this has proved a good system, and I've used a combination of our own library resources (from Newton Park, Sion Hill and Corsham Court) as well as inter-library loans.
With each pile of books, I've been addressing a slightly different angle, and this will lead to new routes and ideas. One of these routes followed as a result of Monday's conversation with Alison Hems, when we discussed memory and place, and my difficulty in sourcing the right kind of text to help me. At her invitation, I sat in on an MA lecture taken by Olivette Otele, on the subject of memory. Hearing her synthesis of the strands of memory theory and the discussion which ensued has helped me push certain ideas forward; ideas I hope to be able to feed in the next phase of research.
Each discussion with my supervisors feels like rather 'exposing' myself - to criticism, to analysis and to another glimpse of the mountain I still have left to climb. But I'm learning to embrace these feelings which for so long have alarmed me. And confidence is building as a result.
Its been a good week.