Hi Khulod, congratulations on passing your viva! How does it feel?!
Thank you so much. It took me some days to realise that I have passed my viva.
Finally I am at the end of my PhD journey and a new chapter in my life begins.
I did it! I passed my PhD viva!
What was your PhD title?
Al-Sadu as a Way of Understanding the Sociospatial Practices of Contemporary Art by Saudi Women
Can you explain in a couple of sentences what your PhD was about?
In my research, I focus on how the specific properties of sociospatial artistic practices in Saudi Arabia by contemporary women artists produce ways of thinking differently about the socio-politics of space and place making visible, in turn, multiple layers of interaction, historical precedent, and social collaboration. Specifically, I use al-Sadu weaving as a case study to determine how such traditional practices can enable a more nuanced understanding of contemporary art. When I consider contemporary art by Saudi women, my focus is primarily on installation art.
I argue that contemporary cultural practices in Saudi Arabia can be best understood in relation to traditional cultural practices that run deeper within Saudi culture. I further suggest that the linkages between the contemporary and the traditional are spatial in nature.
Can you sum up your PhD experience in three words?
Pain, determination and success.
What was the viva like?
The viva only lasted for an hour. It was a really positive experience.
It has also given me new confidence in my research–I wish I had believed more in myself beforehand! But, on the plus side, I now really feel that I have earned this feeling, and earned being here. It has been a long, hard slog to get to this point.
What are your top tips to someone preparing for their viva?
Keep calm, look after yourself.
In terms of preparation, a close reading of your thesis is best done 2 weeks or 10 days before your viva by summarising your main argument, contribution to knowledge, methodology and main findings.
In the viva itself, be confident and speak with passion, take your time in answering the questions, and if you do not understand a question clearly, you can paraphrase the question and ask ‘is this what you mean?’
The best advice from my supervisors was to think of it as an opportunity to share your passion for your work and discuss it with people who are interested in it and want to help make it the best it can be.
You could also take a look at:
Also, attend the PGR Studio workshop.
Any advice you’d tell your earlier PhD self now you’ve made it to the other side?
Do not lose your passion. Sometimes, things do not work out quite as we expect, but that is not always a bad thing, keep doing.
The PhD journey is a long one where it is easy and normal to feel unmotivated from time to time. You need to surround yourself with a positive energy during those days, by doing other/new things beyond your research, such as visiting new places, meditation and Socialising spending time with friends.
What are you up to now and any exciting plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to go back to my studio and do more artwork and to return to my job teaching my students at the College of Arts and Design at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Saudi Arabia, and to work on publication plans.
Thanks so much for your time Khulod, we wish you all the best for the future!