Hi Tam, congratulations on passing your viva! How does it feel?!
Thank you! It feels overwhelming and so surreal!
What was your PhD title?
Creating & Curating a Practical Approach to Contemporary Islamic Design Pedagogy and Practice.
Can you explain in a couple of sentences what your PhD was about?
My research investigates the creative potentials of reconciling traditional Islamic philosophy with contemporary design theories and practice. This happens through series of artistic explorations that adapts ‘curatorial practice’ as a methodological mode of assembly.
Can you sum up your PhD experience in three words?
Challenging, Enriching, Enjoyable
What was the viva like?
I was very familiar with the viva venue as I have set up my show in it and have been going back and forth for a month of preparations before the viva date. My viva took around an hour and half for discussion which was quite intense. However, there was also the elements of joy and excitement to have this time to thoroughly discuss your work with people who are really interested in it and would love to know more. At moments it felt great knowing exactly the points mentioned and the reasons underpinning my research decisions. At other times it felt like I needed few moments to form the answers and carefully choose my words. Although it took over an hour it felt time has stopped inside the room.
What are your top tips to someone preparing for their viva?
Try to relax the day before the viva: I have used “Headspace” app for meditation sessionsfor a whole month before the viva, and it did pay off. Speak out of passion: this makes the examiners know the love and joy that you have put into this long journey of hard work. When rehearsing and preparing for the viva questions: try and not be defensive in the way you answer questions. Because you can control the session by turning the feeling of ‘investigation’ into ‘intellectual discussion’.
Any advice you’d tell your earlier PhD self now you’ve made it to the other side?
“Keep going”, “be more confident in defending your position and your work”, “you need to trust your gut more often as it always leads to unique and positive outcomes”.
What are you up to now and any exciting plans for the future?
I am definitely aiming to publish my thesis as a book and look into the possibility of translating it into Arabic. Other ideas for book publishing are also in consideration. Beside carrying on with community art projects under my initiative Ulafa’a, I will be re-joining my faculty in University of Bahrain as Assistant Profession in Interior Design Program.
Thank you, Tam!