Charlie Jordan, 2021 participant
Charlie's placement is with Manuscripts and Special Collections, who are responsible for the university’s specialist research library and archive collections.
His research is focussing upon the influence of Bertolt Brecht on the theatre practice of Matt Marks.
Why choose a project-based dissertation?
"I decided to do a project-based dissertation because the opportunity to undertake job-related training and gain practical experience, and then write a dissertation on your discoveries under the supervision of academic expert, sounded really engaging."
What are you doing on your placement?
"The placement is running across the whole of my final year, from September through to June. It involves assisting in developing the digital archive of local Nottingham musician, composer and performer, Matt Marks, who died in 2019 following a short illness.
The collection documents detail the work of creative artists from the local theatre scene, and document Matt’s involvement in other theatre work abroad. Through developing the digital archive under the supervision of an archivist, I am contributing to improving access to the collection and its long-term digital preservation."
During my English degree, I have taken a particular interest in the drama modules. I chose this placement because the chance to explore original, archival material, which allows an insight into the working practices of local theatre companies and theatre makers abroad, seemed invaluable.
What have you learnt?
"From engaging with the archive, it has become clear to me that Matt was influenced by the theory and practice of Bertolt Brecht. This is my research focus for my dissertation.
I have chosen this research focus because Brecht is a theatre practitioner who I have developed a keen interest in during my degree, having studied his work on the first-year module ‘Drama, Theatre, Performance’ and on the second-year module ‘Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory’.
Undertaking my own individual research project in my final year, under the supervision of an academic who is interested in Brecht’s theatre practice, is now allowing me to expand my knowledge on this key figure in theatre."
What skills have you gained?
"The project-based dissertation has equipped me with lots of new skills.
The placement has provided me with experience in archive cataloguing work, and has also enhanced my ability to be methodical and neat through organising the archive. Moreover, working alongside an archivist has furthered my ability to work as part of a team.
Writing a dissertation has allowed me to hone my researching skills, as the dissertation allows room for a deep and thorough engagement with a particular subject. While I have received lots of support and guidance from my dissertation supervisor, the dissertation has also provided me with the opportunity to work independently on a subject I am passionate about."