I’m in a bit of a non-sewing-related funk at the moment. Things have been…let’s just go with unsettled in various areas of mlife lately, and no amount of organisation of my sewing things has settled me (although my lovely new books on textiles did get me settled on the couch across the weekend far more than was good for me…). So I’ve been daydreaming about alternative plans and, as always, they revolve around an area of interest – in this case history of clothing.
I’ve daydreamed in the past about study in New York, in London, then I down graded to Glasgow and finally Athens, Georgia. But the reality is that there is no way for me to study full time overseas. The cost of tuition alone is prohibitive, without the restrictions on work when you’re on a study visa, and the lack of a support network when I ran into the inevitable financial struggles.
So instead, I’m trying to find a way to formally study clothing history at an Australian university – possibly with a stint overseas – knowing full well that there are none who offer more than a single unit of study on the subject, especially at post-grad level (4 undergrad degrees is more than enough for anyone, no? Yeah, I get bored, and I study. That’s how it works). I think I might have it though – masters by research. I frame my own topic, I set my research, and I have a perfect excuse to spend time overseas ogling various serious collections of clothing. Not to mention going to seminars, conferences, and talking to people who know far, far more about this than I do. Of course, I haven’t spoken to a university about this plan yet. And given my academic history of sitting just slightly above mediocre with my grades (as long as you take out the architectural design subjects, which manage to drag my average down at least 10 per cent, or rather somewhere just slightly above a pass mark), there’s no guarantees that I’ll even get in.
So, to further my goal, and my tradition of last minute university decisions, I’m attempting to pull together a research topic that would convince the history – or heaven forbid, an art history – department of a university that I knew what I was doing, that it would relate to their field. That there is enough there to write 40-50,000 words. That there is some benefit to academia, if not society, in the work. That I’m not just someone procrastinating as a professional choice. Yeah, might be up against it on that one. Especially since I have my sights set on the closest thing Melbourne has to ivy league – University of Melbourne. So far, I’ve narrowed things to the industrial revolution and the impact this had on clothing production and styles. It’s a fairly wide-ranging topic, and one I’m sure has been done to death by others before me. I’d we willing to adjust it and look at the impact of war on women’s fashions in the same period…or later periods, given that there were some interesting things happening during the twentieth century wars as well. But what the hell. I’d welcome any suggestions or comments on how to do this. Or just to recommend a good therapist to get this whole study thing out of me, because I bitch and moan when I’m doing it, and can’t get enough of it when I’m not. I know. Nuts. But just to get through the insanity, this is where I would be studying.
University of Melbourne 1888 Building – home to graduate students
And suddenly, it makes a whole lot more sense.