Research, awards and the future

Bayer advert for their Dorlastan fibre, featured in Draper's Record, 28th March 1981
Bayer advert for their Dorlastan fibre, featured in Draper’s Record, 28th March 1981

You may have noticed that I have not been posting as much as I have in the past, and that’s because I’ve been busy beginning the research for my MA dissertation. I have already visited the Marks and Spencer Company Archive in Leeds, and the Symington Collection which is held at Leicestershire County Council’s Collections Resource Centre. Now I need to wade through pages of notes and hundreds of photographs to consolidate all my discoveries and questions so far. Once I know where the gaps are, I can start making a plan for more visits, but all this comes with a price.

No matter how much fun I might find it to go on an archive visit, booking the inevitable train tickets and hotels for overnight stays is less fun. It’s also expensive. If I need to be in Leeds for 10am to make the most of a day there, realistically, I’ll need to stay over the night before so that I’m well rested and organised. Therefore, a two day trip needs two nights in a hotel in addition to the travel costs. Even if every archive had a mega-cheap chain hotel just around the corner, those costs would still mount up. So, when I heard about an award from the Costume Society which offers funding “aimed at helping an MA student engaged in high quality research into the history of dress and/or textiles with expediture relating to the completion of their dissertation”, I thought it was well worth checking out.

Seeing as my dissertation topic covers the history of both clothing and textiles – my working title is Supporting the Fashionable Silhouette: Technological Changes to the Bra, 1930-1990 – I decided to apply for the Yarwood Award and… I got it! As you can image, I was quite thrilled when I received the news. The money I receive will pay off my travel expenses so far and will mean that I can also visit Bath, Brighton or any other museum collections that hold items relevant to my research. It’s also given me a boost that you can’t really put a monetary value on. Up until now, I’ve been a university administrator who studies fashion and writes blog posts in her spare time. Then I decided I’d quite like to be a researcher in the future. Now I feel like I actually am one. It may not be my job title yet, but it feels like it’s what I do. To have my research summary and draft budget praised by people I respect, has been a massive confidence boost and has reassured me that I can do this. At the beginning of the year this project was a daunting prospect, but now I can’t wait to get stuck in!

Image by lipsticklori, taken at the LCF Archives.

4 thoughts on “Research, awards and the future

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  1. And so the universe continues to recognise your awesomeness – as it should 🙂 Fab news, amazing Lori x

  2. This is fantastic! Congratulations, and I’ll be thinking of you doing your MA dissertation, while I work on my BA dissertation this year. Much love.

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