Guest Blogger Lauren Beatty writes about adapting her research on Women’s Golf in Scotland (1945-1995) to lockdown life.
January 13th 2020 marked the start of my PhD journey, and my first day based at the British Golf Museum in St Andrews, Scotland. Instantly I was taken under the wing of the Museum team. I could never have imagined that in three months’ time I would be working from home, alone.
As a Collaborative Doctorate Partnership PhD student, I am enrolled at Glasgow Caledonian University but I am primarily based at the British Golf Museum and supervised by the Learning and Access Curator, Hannah Fleming. Both the Museum and its governing body, The R&A, have provided invaluable networking opportunities which have been essential to my research on Women’s Golf in Scotland 1945-1995. Being surrounded by a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for golf and its history on a daily basis, has been a great help to me. Having embarked on this journey as a golf novice, quite frankly, I would be lost without them!
Thanks to the internet, and in particular, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, the transition from museum to home has been much easier than anticipated. Although myself and Hannah try to meet regularly in person with my Supervisors from Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr Fiona Skillen and Dr Fiona Reid, we have held several supervision meetings on Skype. This interaction has made adapting to full-time video communication, less daunting. Starting my day with a virtual ‘Good Morning!’ at 9am to my museum colleagues, along with regular catch-up meetings and tea breaks on Teams and Zoom, has helped me stick to my working routine, whilst also creating the illusion of still being at the museum. Weekly pub quizzes and Friday night drinks also help break up the monotony of being at home and provide some well-needed laughs to get us through each week.
As my research is an Oral History project and will involve undertaking interviews of women who played golf at club level in Scotland 1945-1995, to understand what motivated them to play the game and any challenges they faced in doing so, meeting new people has been crucial. A regular form of this engagement at the museum has been Golf Geeks, a monthly coffee and catch up with golf historians and enthusiasts. Since embarking on this project, the Golf Geeks have shown great enthusiasm for my research and have been an invaluable source of advice and support. Thanks again to Zoom, we have been able to continue our meetings, which have proven all the more entertaining as we battle with our internet connections and come to terms with becoming, what one member called, ‘Zoomers’.
Covid-19 has disrupted life as we know it, and whilst it has created an unusual start to my PhD, it has made me determined to make the most of my experience. The hardest part about working from home amid the current crisis has been staying focused. With advice from my supervisors, I have come to accept that it is ok to have a ‘bad day’ and for my mind to wander, it is impossible to ‘continue as normal’ as these are not normal times. Starting my day as I would normally with yoga, moving through to my ‘office’(couch), for 9 am, and taking lunch and tea breaks as I would at the museum, has helped me stay focused. Regular catch-ups and laughs with my colleagues and supervisors have helped me stay sane.
Lauren is a 1st year AHRC funded Collaborative Doctorate Partnership student working in collaboration with the British Golf Museum in St Andrews and Glasgow Caledonian University. Her research is an Oral History project, exploring women’s participation in golf at club level in Scotland, 1945-1995. The aim of the study is to understand women’s motivations for playing golf during this period and the challenges they faced in doing so.