but so recently i've learned that my school will accept a dissertation that consists at least partly of an art work. it's not an MFA program, but since it is interdisciplinary, they have been talking about nontraditional dissertation forms for ages, and apparently they are now starting to accept them. so i'm told that i could do an art work and then write about it. presumably the art would fulfill a chapter, and then there would be a chapter contextualizing it, and maybe a chapter analyzing it... or something. did i already tell you all this? i feel like i have.
so what about having this elder cloth be part of my dissertation? the subject of it, i mean. i have a glimmer of how this could work. everything from the materials to the process to the story. and situated ... somewhere. historically, and within stitching (and perhaps spinning, weaving or farming) communities and now online art communities. within the slow cloth movement. among women who are also making.
there are some parameters. it has to fit within my previous areas of study. otherwise i will have to re-do my comprehensive exams. then it has to fit within my advisors' areas of expertise. and then it has to fit with what the graduate committee has already approved for me. it's possible to change or shift some of these, but not ideal. i think all this means that i need to conversate with academic work in visual anthropology, memory studies and animal studies. so that it's consistent with what i've done before, it's important that it be related to animals, not just that the cloth is 'for' elderberry, but probably that some of the materials derive from animals. i *think* it could fit... but maybe not, i'm still reaching.
if i could do this in the context of my current program, i think it would be great. i'd be motivated to work on it, because it's work i want to be doing anyway. i'm inspired, of course, by jude. not that i should try to do what she does, i couldn't possibly, but i can imagine some sort of a slow cloth journey being documented and all of that forming the basis of a dissertation. why not?
so now i need to brainstorm, refine, and convince.
i've been tasked to map out my plan by August 31 and so i am overdue on the getting-with-it. here are the questions i need to answer:
Describe your research question/hypothesis or research objective? What will the focus of your investigation be?
How does your research build on your existing dissertation research and what fields/disciplines will it draw upon?
What evidence/materials do you need to collect to answer your research question and how will you go about collecting it?
What skills and training are required for this work and what has prepared you to do this research?
What is the significance of your project? What fields/disciplines will it contribute to and how?
so i'm going to take some time and think on these questions and brainstorm. this is all very early, draft-y and provisional. i don't want to self-edit too much here or be embarrassed for trying. i don't feel like i can do this alone.