This phase of the research is designed as preparation for the research in Special Collections and in Kingsbarns in January 2021. While the phase is quoted as the first two weeks of June, two things have come up that mean it will spill over to later dates.
The first is a delay to the ethics application. My first attempt was emailed back to me by the school's ethics committee with some annotations for ammendments. I am unlikely to recieve ethical approval by the end of the first phase, and I cannot contact the custodians of the church until I have recieved that approval. I will have to email as soon as I am cleared to do so. Fortunately for me, I will not be interviewing them until January, so there is time.
The second delay is due to the timings of the online oral history courses run by Strathclyde University. These will take place over Zoom, but the dates of all of them lie outside the two week window. I will sign up for a place on the courses during the window. They are not free, so I will either use the Laidlaw stipend or the School of History small expenses fund to pay for the courses. They will be worthwhile because they mean I will hopefully be able to make the most of the time I spend with the custodians of the church in January. There is an ebook on the University Library website about oral history so I will consult that during this period.
On the plus side, these delays mean that I can be more flexible with my time looking at other primary sources and developing my palaeography skills in this phase. I might also look into online shorthand lessons or transcription skills during this time. While these seem antiquated, I think they will develop my decision making when interviewing people in future.
I will upload my daily log, as mentioned in the schedule, at the end of both weeks, alongside some commentary post. I am excited to get started!
I met on Teams with my supervisors in the week and we decided the following.
1) Our interpretation of the advised changes to the ethics form is that the time of earliest contac with the custodians of the church is too early. The drawbacks to the current plan involve the potential of participants becoming disengaged over the waiting period (thus making their sharing information less likely) AND the potential for participants to give information voluntarily before they have signed participant agreements (violating privacy and ethical terms). Therefore, I will wait until some point next semester before contacting participants. This avoids both these drawbacks.
2) Partly as a result of the delay to ethical approval, we have decided to push back the creation of the pamphlet history. I was previously working on the assumption that the pamphlet would be created entirely in the second phase (04-01-2021 to 24-01-2020). The new plan is to use this time entirely for research and interviews. The research essay will be based on the work in this period as well. The pamphlet history itself will be created over the spring semester in 2021 and finalised in the first week of the leadership summer. I will then organise a launch event, including a talk, for the pamphlet in the Kingsbarns church as my leadership component. The month will commence with the launch event and will involve other ways of disseminating the information I found in the research component. There is greater possibility for local people to engage with the history of the village by using the pamphlet as a starting point. This fulfills both the aims I set out in my initial planning of my Laidlaw project: to have a close link between the research and leadership components, and to use the research to engage with the people of Kingsbarns and share the fruits of my research in an accessible and exciting way.
A minor result of these changes. I believe that a video will be more suited to the leadership component than a poster, and vice versa. The talk and launch event will look better on film than the research process itself. I will therefore seek approval to change the setup of my output, so the poster will be created in the research component and the video will be a part of the leadership component.