After the reading, I was a little anxious going to the Spring into Methods workshop. It honestly looked, well, a little too social science and not enough humanities. But I had signed up and it looked interesting all the same. So, I sorted my train tickets and made my way to Edinburgh. I’m glad I did.
We began by splitting up into groups to discuss the reading. I expected to be completely lost, but I quickly realised far from being an outlier I was in the majority. Even more interestingly, the more we talked the more connections I saw with my own work. Whether it was aspects of the philosopher I studied, how I was working with the texts, or what I was trying to do with my thesis as a whole, this workshop and ideas coming out seemed to connect.
It was really amazing to see all the different points of connection, critiques, and perspective that the members of the group saw as well. Whether it was someone coming out of film studies, linguistics, sociology or psychology we could all relate to it from our own disciplines. And as the conversation ranged from epistemology and methodological validity, to the particulars of individual studies and, to be honest, what discourse analysis actually is, I was glad that I had signed up and gotten on that train.
While I may not use this methodology in my thesis, it has definitely helped me think about my thesis in a different way, as have the conversations with the other participants and lecturers. This methodology provides interesting insight on how to see the discourse and language in the texts that I’m studying in a new light. It helped me think about language itself differently; more critically and more expansively. I think this new perspective has helped me see different connection and dimensions that I would have missed otherwise. And even if that was all I got from this workshop, it was time well spent. But that wasn’t all I got.
Beyond what directly aided my work, I’ve gained from this experience in other ways. Maybe it’s my liberal arts education or the need to justify it, but I value knowledge for knowledge sake. I think one of the amazing parts about being in academia again is the opportunity to go to lectures and workshops to simply learn new things. It reminds me of all the interesting and wonderful things that are still left in the world to know and that encourages and motivates me to keep learning and writing and exploring. It reawakens that curiosity that guided me to academia in the first place. So, if you have the opportunity take advantage of training opportunities, lectures, or discussions. Even if it may not look like it directly relates to your work, it will likely help, and more importantly it will be worth it!
This was only one of the spring into methods course, so I’d really be interested to hear what other people’s experiences were like. Feel free to comment below or send me a guest post to publish on the SGSAH blog.
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