Researcher Diaries

Hi! It’s my first day back at my desk in Portsmouth after “consolidation week” which I’ve decided to use as ‘getting over moving house week’. Hope everything is going great in your world! Today is the new moon – good for new beginnings they say – so I started this blog! This is my first post 🙂

Lots has been going on -I’ve decided to go with starting my research by developing a grounded theory of Agritecture. I can’t quite jump straight into the field as I do need to put together a tangible research design that means that when I do go collecting and generating data that it is in a systematic and well thought out manner.

In parallel to this I’m going to put together a short-list of candidate agritecture interventions (that’s buildings that have farms in / on them) – focussing on soilless systems… well – those that don’t use natural earth. – Hence the name of my blog “beyond earth”! I sort of want it to also infer going beyond our Earth too though – as I think there is scope for this kind of research to influence how we grow food in space etc… NASA has already done a fair bit of research in soilless growing. I digress. So I’m going to draw up this list – and think about what criteria I have for going and exploring these places. Once the research design is complete I should have a better idea of what I’m looking for in my first case studies – although the very useful thing about grounded theory – is you don’t have to pretend you know what you’re doing from the beginning – you go out there and revise your plans as you need to. So this first list should be quite small and a sort of test bed for figuring out what I actually want to look for!

I know that a lot has been happening in agritecture and alternative food systems in Japan and Singapore. So I’m starting to look for funding now- that might let me go and research in those places as my research progresses. I’m hoping to spend a year in Japan – really getting myself into “the ground” and likely use that as a base to go to Singapore – where I’m lucky to have family to stay with. This has some implications for timings of things… this and being 15 weeks pregnant…

Next year resultantly looks like I’ll be on Maternity Leave from May, part-time from November, and then full time- and hopefully in Japan from May 2020 (if I can get the grant I have my eye on).

Grant in mind – I’ve started to contact academics in Japan’s Architecture Schools that might be able to provide a host institution and advisor. I’m pretty afraid of the idea of living in the centre of Tokyo though! Bristol is such a small city in comparison. I’ve found one university in Kyoto and think perhaps that’s a better idea!

I’m also studying level 1 Japanese at the moment – which I’m really enjoying – and intend to get deep into the Japanese whilst on maternity leave as a distraction from baby-brain! If I do get this grant – then I’m going to need to do some pretty intensive Japanese Language Learning!

I do need to spend more time immersing myself in Grounded Theory as it’s not a research method I’ve used before! (Err probably shouldn’t just make it up as I go along). There’s a grounded theory training conference I want to go to in Petersfield in December – which I’m hoping will really help with my research design… but there’s the small issue of paying for it. I don’t know if I’ve got a funding budget associated with my PhD yet – and its >£400 – plus I’ll need to stay in Petersfield overnight… So I can’t book unless I get some confirmation from my school. That does make me think a bit about privilege – having the money to just pay for this without worrying – would be advantageous n’est pas?

Onwards!