Hi Sarah, congratulations on passing your viva!

What was your PhD title?

‘A Little Togetherness’: Making claims, negotiating boundaries, and forging meaning as a younger member of the British northern soul scene.

Can you explain in a couple of sentences what your PhD was about?

My PhD explored the experiences of the younger generation of the northern soul scene in the UK through an ethnographic study. It addressed issues of history, gender, and generation, and reconsidered the narratives of authenticity in popular music scenes as claims to belong. Through my methodological approach and the unconventional form of my thesis, I offered an approach to studying multigenerational music scenes and a means to communicate different layers of experience.

Can you sum up your PhD experience in three words?

Demanding, exciting and liberating. 

What was the viva like?

Happily, my viva was everything I had hoped it would be: challenging yet supportive. I was lucky to have excellent examiners who put me at ease and offered me an opportunity to reflect on my work, in particular to further articulate the thesis as a piece of considered writing.

What are your top tips to someone preparing for their viva?

 Keep calm, remember that you have achieved something amazing, and make the most of your mock viva. Your supervisors know what they are talking about!

Any advice you’d tell your earlier PhD self now you’ve made it to the other side?

Make the most of the opportunities, search out supportive and creative people, take holidays, and when you are really stuck take the dog for a walk. Your ideas don’t make any sense right now, but one day it’ll all come together and surprise even you.

What are you up to now and any exciting plans for the future?

I am still at BCU and catching up with all my projects and publications! I am hoping to stay at the university as a researcher and to convert my doctoral research into a monograph and a wider research proposal. However, August will be spent sitting in the sun, reading novels, drinking gin, listening to music, and walking my dog.

Thanks so much for your time Sarah, we wish you all the best for the future!

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