5 Minutes With… Morven Gow

This is the latest installment of our ‘5 minutes with…’ series, where we interview PhD researchers across the arts and humanities in Scotland. Today our interview is with Morven Gow, who is pursuing her PhD in Publishing Studies.

Screenshot 2020-07-01 at 10.17.32

What year of your PhD are you currently in?

I started second year in Sep 2019. Time is flying past at an alarming rate. 2020 has presented many unforeseen personal and global challenges, too, of course. I was on the point of beginning fieldwork when the lockdown was applied. My research is conducted online until Spring 2021, I expect.

What’s the working title of your thesis?

The Negotiation of Authenticity in 21st Century Book Publishing

I’ve set up a Spotify playlist (Got To Be Real) around two themes, authenticity and books, here.

If you’d like to recommend any tracks for it, let me know in a comment on this blog – or contact @sgsahblog! The songs can be about discovering yourself, thinking back to the past, or trying to find connections with others. Or, they can be songs about books.

Describe your research in three words (can be keywords or something non-serious!)

Bookish cultures rule.

What research questions are you considering right now?

Generally, I’m exploring how the various actors in book cultures are responding to the impact of Covid-19 on physical book culture experiences; and how online book events and physical events are experienced differently.

If you were to introduce someone new to your subject area, what one piece of reading would you recommend, and why?

As an introduction to the history of and ideas around authenticity of objects, places, cultures, and experiences, read The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalised World ed. R. Cobb from 2014. In Chapter 1, Introduction: The Artifice of Authenticity in the Age of Digital Reproduction, Cobb presents an entertaining and informative overview of the development of the concept of authenticity to date, while summarising each essay topic in the book.

What’s been the most useful piece of advice given to you about doing a PhD?

Mmmm. Could it be ‘you’re putting it on a high pedestal. Don’t put it on a high pedestal. Bring it down to your eye level. Approach it as you did your previous job’? Or is it ‘reference as you go’? Or ‘build your support network’? Or ‘write at least 500 words a day’? All of those are important and I struggle with them all, apart from the support network. I’m grateful to be part of a strong band of doctoral researchers and while we are apart at this time, we’re managing to keep that mutual support active through online platforms. Can’t wait to share the product of my newly discovered cake-making skills.

Would you like to be interviewed for our ‘5 Minutes With…’ series? Email chiara.bullen@glasgow.ac.uk

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