Making progress with my dissertation

Term is now in full swing after a long relaxing summer, and my dissertation is coming along fairly well.

I’m looking at how the landscape affects the way we remember and memorialise the past, with Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol as a case study. I chose this (it’s great that we could choose anything we want!), as it ties in with my interest in environmental history, and with some of the modules I’m taking this year. It fits especially well with ‘Holocaust Landscapes.’ In this module we study how a range of landscapes, from Nagasaki to the Western Front, can be viewed as associated with death and dying. Happy stuff!

I chose my other module for this term, ‘Global Cities’ as I haven’t yet studied much Asian history. We look at a real range of topics including architecture, pop culture and the class movements of specific Asian cities.

Back to the dissertation, the great-but-also-difficult aspect of the project is that it’s completely up to us when, or if, we work on it. I’m trying to put a day aside a week to do reading, or visit the archives, but it can be a bit of a struggle to fit it in. We’ve just had reading week, which is a useful time for catching up and preparing for the weeks ahead. It’s not as relaxing as it sounds though, as our first 3000 word essay was due this Tuesday. We have two major essays this term, and I chose to do my first one for ‘Holocaust Landscapes.’ I have to keep reminding myself that this year counts for 60 per cent of our degree, which is a bit scary!

Aside from uni work, reading week has been a good opportunity to get around the city. For bonfire night some friends and I watched the fireworks from Brandon Hill Park. You get great views all over Bristol from the top, so it’s a good place to come in summer too. One of the best things about the city is the amount of green space everywhere, although it can be all too tempting when the weather gets warmer and summer exams are looming!

– Alice


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