Manon Haag (2016), who recently won a highly competitive and fully funded Lord Kelvin Adam Smith PhD scholarship at the University of Glasgow which offers “the opportunity for outstanding research students to participate in some of the most exciting areas of interdisciplinary research carried out by the University”, writes:
‘After FEC’ – One year on
After graduating from the MSc in autumn last year, I have worked in several capacities among networks I had built during my time at Edinburgh Uni, spent volunteering for several organisations which would prove determining in my finding jobs allowing me to stay in Scotland.
Africa in Motion Film Festival
Freshly arrived in Scotland, Africa in Motion was the first opportunity given to us as a new FEC cohort. I was intrigued, having been seldom exposed to African films despite seven years of studying film. I volunteered for the festival to get to know Edinburgh’s audiences and make new friends – but, I must stress, without thinking it would provide that useful in finding jobs in the future.
Two years on, I am now Marketing Coordinator for the festival. This position excitingly includes an element of research into the films in the programme and their production contexts, allowing me to become familiar with a number of historical and political issues in African arts. I enjoy working in a position where I am stepping out of my comfort zone and my research interests to discover exciting and stimulating films and facts. I couldn’t recommend more trying out volunteering for such an inclusive and benevolent organisation.
My research interests (and where they led me)
That being said, I am not casting my own research interest to the side – on the contrary! During my masters’ course, I took a strong interest in Scottish heritage and film tourism, picking my option courses and essay topics carefully as opportunities to research further into the links between the two.
At the end of the first year of my masters (I studied part-time), I attended a day-long workshop organised by David Martin-Jones at Glasgow Uni, Developing Film Tourism: Theory and Practice.
Two years on, I am about to start my PhD under the tutelage of the same Martin-Jones on Film Tourism as Heritage tourism for literary adaptations in Scotland, a project which was inspired to him by the very workshop I attended!
During my time at Edinburgh Uni, I discovered a field which I want to keep researching alongside fellow academics and organisations also keen to explore deeper. Focusing my Masters experience on Film Tourism and Scottish heritage and identity felt like a gamble at times, as it is such a niche field (especially if I was to move out of Scotland shortly after my Masters). I am delighted (and relieved) that it found an echo in academia and the tourism industry, and I am glad for Susan and Jane’s support in my choices throughout my masters studies. They have shown a genuine enthusiasm – at times more so than myself! – which has allowed me to power through.
One year after graduating, I am incredibly lucky to be exactly where I wanted to be; in Scotland, juggling work and academia alongside people I admire and projects I feel passionate about.
Looking around me, I feel many of fellow MSc graduates on tracks with the projects they pursued during our times together and feel optimistic about prospects for future graduates in the field of Film Curation and Exhibition in Scotland and further afield!