If you’re beginning to feel a little cooped up after spending weeks at home, spare a thought for the dolls in the baby house at Nostell Priory near Wakefield, who have been ‘staying at home’ for nearly three hundred years. That is until earlier this year when staff at the National Trust property were given the green light to begin painstakingly restoring the house and its contents in preparation for a new exhibition, Miniature Worlds. As part of a three-month placement with the National Trust, I have been working with Nostell’s curator Simon McCormack, to better establish what role doll’s houses like this one played in the daily life of the eighteenth-century country house.
Over the past few years it’s become apparent that everyone’s reasons for pursuing a PhD differ (and can change over time). For me personally, one of the most appealing aspects was the opportunity to travel, both near and far, which would allow me to get to know people from various institutions be it through conference participation, attending seminars or conducting fieldwork.
At the beginning of this year I attended the 7th Annual Winter School in Florence. This event offers PhD students from across the world the valuable opportunity to develop their research skills within the field of urban and spatial planning. Experienced academics based at institutions across Europe deliver a variety of lectures and workshops.
Aiming to gain some practical experience in policy alongside my doctoral studies, I decided to apply to the Political Studies Association’s/House of Commons Committee Office internship. A large part of my doctoral research focuses on analysing policies in a British context, so the chance to witness government scrutiny first-hand sounded like an invaluable opportunity.