January 20, 2023, by UoN School of English

Reflecting on the past year of my PhD

A PhD researcher’s life is certainly varied! 2022 has been an enjoyable, successful, and productive year and I have enjoyed working with many different people. The following is a selection of highlights from this year’s research journey.

Much of my main research has involved collecting, writing, and editing the place-name survey for the Isle of Axholme. It has been fascinating putting together an analysis of early place-names, helping to visualise the landscape and the activities taking place there before major 17th-century drainage works. A wealth of significant information can be gleaned about the Axholme landscape from these early names, with many disappearing from the landscape completely in modern times.

Alongside my main research I have been actively engaged on my placement at North Lincolnshire Museum (funded by Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership). This involved co-designing and developing the Isle of Axholme exhibition which opened in March 2022 and ran until October 2022. The placement provided a valuable opportunity to share some of my research findings with the local community, combining this with gaining experience within a heritage environment. Highlights included writing a chapter about Vikings in Axholme, creating the complementary website of place-name related material, designing the lively engagement programme of six monthly lectures/writing workshops on Axholme themes, and organising the Viking contribution to the Living History Family Fun Day.

To date the website https://lnkd.in/dNE7Y83U has successfully engaged the public, both locally and internationally, and provided a legacy for the exhibition, material including a clickable map of place-names, related historical information, links to recorded talks, and downloadable educational resources (currently 1,425 visitors and 288 downloads of educational material). Additionally, at the Living History Family Fun Day I gave my first ever impromptu radio interview with BBC Radio Humberside; the day itself attracted over 800 visitors, making it the best attended Fun Day at the Museum since 2007 and contributing to raising the profile of the museum locally and re-engaging with audiences post-Covid.

During the year I have also presented several talks at various locations, including the North Lincolnshire Museum, Lincoln Records Society, International Medieval Congress in Leeds, Manorial Documents Register Conference 2022 (co-hosted by The National Archives and the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections), Owston Ferry Heritage Society, and the Institute for Name Studies at the University of Nottingham.

I am very much looking forward to submitting and defending my thesis during 2023. In the meantime I am celebrating the journey so far, whilst considering further research and community projects for the future!

– Kathryn Bullen

This blog was originally posted on Kathryn’s LinkedIn account. You can view the original here.
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