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A Week in the Life of Hannah

Hannah Boast - Diary Picture

Hannah is from the UK and is in the third year of her PhD. She is co-supervised by the Department of English and Related Literature at York and the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield.She coordinates the York and King’s College London-based research network Imagining Jerusalem, 1099 to the Present Day. In her spare time she organises feminist events with LaDIYfest Sheffield. Studying: PhD in water in Israeli and Palestinian literature (third year).From: Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire


I meet a colleague from the Department of Geography at Sheffield Train Station, to travel to Leeds University. I live in Sheffield as I’m co-supervised here, as part of a White Rose Studentship network on hydropolitics. We’re meeting other members of my colleague’s own White Rose research network, which is on multiculturalism, to catch up on the progress of their network so far. I listen to some presentations by the network students about their work, give a brief talk about my approach to methodology and ethics, and we discuss and give feedback on each others’ projects. In the afternoon I travel back to my flat and do some reading and note-taking for my current chapter. Later on, I go to the gym.


Today is my birthday, so I have a slightly slower day of work. I cycle with my mum to the next village for breakfast, then in the afternoon start to tentatively put some words on paper for my current chapter. I travel home on the train in the evening and meet some friends in the city centre for a celebratory drink.


In the morning I work through more emails in a King’s Manor computer room. I edit a book review submitted for the Jerusalem network blog by one of our members, and spend some time on our Twitter account. I also add some updates to the blog for the Postcolonial Studies Association conference that I’m co-organising, which is taking place at York in July. In the afternoon I make the most of the sun and sit outside reading in the King’s Manor courtyard. Later on, I meet a friend for coffee, then head back home for a quiet evening in.


I borrow a keyboard and meet some friends for band practice. We’re so new that we don’t yet have a name, but it goes well and we go out for coffee and cake afterwards. In the afternoon I do some food shopping, read a couple of articles, write a few more notes for my chapter, and make a to-do list for the following week.


In the morning I travel to my parents’ house for a visit before my birthday on Wednesday. My first task is to work through a rather full inbox. I’m currently sending and receiving a lot of emails about a two-day conference I’m organising for the Imagining Jerusalem network, which is taking place at King’s College London in November. I find out that an American professor I’d approached to give a keynote has accepted the invitation, and I arrange a meeting for the following week with a curator at the British Library, to discuss a visit during the conference to their Hebrew and Christian Orient collections. I also post some pictures and news stories I’ve recently spotted to the Jerusalem network Twitter account. In the afternoon I do some more reading, with my mum making me cups of tea.


I catch an early train to York with colleagues from English departments in Sheffield and Loughborough for the Centre for Modern Studies annual conference. I’m not presenting at the conference, just listening, as my research is related to the conference theme, ‘Nature at War’. It’s nice to be at a conference without the pressure of knowing I have to speak. In the evening I meet with some PhD students and staff for a meal.


I go to the gym in the morning. My brother is visiting my parents this weekend, so after lunch they drive over and we go for a walk in the Peak District. Later on, I finally get round to fixing a puncture on my bike. In the evening I go to a party at a friend’s house. I try not to work at the weekends unless I really have to, because unless carefully controlled academia has a tendency to take over your life!