Stage two – moving forward

Today is a big day.  Sometime in the next three hours large amounts of money will move through the interwebs and we will find ourselves with a) a huge mortgage (again) and b) keys to our new house.  This is pretty amazing.  Over the next 5-6 weeks I’m coordinating painting, wardrobe building, new heating, blinds and the construction of some custom furniture.  Then an actual move (which is about 1km from where we are living now.)  For someone who hasn’t lived in a house for 25 years this is majorly exciting and it’s the culmination of an 18 month plan that took as from our beloved Surry Hills to our new (forever) home in Fitzroy North.

I’ve also found out that my 6-month contract with Craft Victoria is unlikely to be extended due to financial constraints.  This is a mixed blessing.  I really love working for Craft, I respect what they do enormously. It’s been the best arts organisation to work for.  That said I really hate event management, so I wont miss that. And this will allow me the time to focus on my PhD in its entirety, as opposed to small bite sized chunks that has dominated my working plan for the past 4 months.

These two factors are combining to make concentrating on my thesis difficult.  While the regimen of work kept me very focussed until recently, knowing I’m returning to full-time PhD-writing has eased the pressure a bit. And it’s hard to focus when you’re also thinking about furniture placement and getting into your new, really spectacularly good kitchen.

Excuses galore.  That said, I’ve stuck pretty much to schedule. According to my plan I should be  about 30,000 words in by the end of this week and I’m easily there.  I have four draft chapters and half my introduction done (probably close to 50,000 words).  I really only have two chapters to write from scratch now, everything else is in some sort of draft.  But my poor, lost journal article has fallen to the wayside a bit.

Recently we managed to organise my stage two (the middle assessment phase of the PhD) work requirement by submission rather than presentation.  With my conference attendance and presentation at STPA in Adelaide in December and the submission of 2.5 draft chapters for review it looks like I will get the gold star from the university.  This means I’m really in the down hill phase.  As my scholarship ends in about 6 weeks this is damn important.  Without an extension (and no job + new house + rent for a bit) we are on fragile economic ground for a few months.  Nothing like a bit of financial pressure to hurry you along.

My sort-of-secondary supervisor read my content for the stage two review.  I think my capacity to handle feedback has improved significantly in this process and even though it was constructive, my initial reaction was this is GREAT, because it wasn’t a complete decimation of my work.  Apparently my writing has improved, which is good to know as it needed it, and my ideas are interesting, and progress great.  I’m making a contribution to the field.  All fantastic.

My weakness, and this is not at all surprising me as I know it is my weakness, is the theoretical framework and positioning my literature within the realm of epistemological and  ontological arguments.  I need a clearer argument about what constitutes leadership in my perspective, supported by theory.  I need to relate this to my data.

The good thing, I think I know where I’m headed.  This week I was thinking about the question “does the creative space need a new leadership model?” and my answer is a definitive “no”. I believe the creative industries is already using an existing, but largely unrecognised leadership approach.  My task is to weave this model, which is founded from social constructionist perspective, through my data chapters and position my argument in a cohesive way. At the moment the feedback is I’m just using supporting theory from a variety of schools (which I am) rather than positioning my work.

Am I worried? A little. This is the area in which I am not confident.  Can I do it? Yes. Because I can always see the next step in the process.  Everyday I just need to plug away at it.  (And not get too distracted by rugs on Pinterest.)

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