Dissertation Proposal

Within my dissertation I plan to evaluate the effectiveness that craftivism has had on implementing social justice throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  

Over the past weeks I have been able to continually come back to my dissertation proposal and be able to effectively and coherently change and build on my initial ideas.  From reading The Subversive Stitch last summer, I was able to find out about Craftivists Sarah Corbett and Betsy Greer; it was from here that my ideas began to grow and change into a topic that I could not be happier to write my dissertation on.  I gathered book from the university library, along with online journals and articles to start to piece together what I want to argue in my dissertation.

When I started this proposal, I had about 5 books and 7 online sources, I couldn’t fathom how I would be able to find any more than that, let alone the 50 different books that are accustomed to dissertation writing. However I tried to put this from my mind while I was writing, and sooner than I through I had a full page bibliography and still more to add in.

My meeting with Ashley a few weeks ago really helped with the writing of my proposal. I was able to finally see the different between writing an essay and writing a dissertation. The dissertation needs to be much more analytical with all facts and suggestions backed up from reliable sources. This helped to change the tone of my proposal, to sound more confident in my argument.

I actually really liked finding sources to back up my theories; I looked at books and articles from online newspapers about activism, social justice and the resurgence in craft and was really excited to see that there actually was evidence to the points that I has been making in my proposal.  I had to turn to newspapers more and more through the writing of my proposal. I have been including different craftivist projects within my proposal to make my point about how craftivism can be used to effect change within society, and one of the projects that I am looking into is so new, that it doesn’t have any books or journal articles written about it. I was quite concerned with this because I was getting all my information from newspapers, which are quite biased, whereas scholarly articles tend to evaluate all sides of their argument. Thankfully I didn’t have to rely just on newspapers, blog entries could be found on the craftivist websites also, which helped me to gather the facts I needed to suppose my argument.

The way that I wrote my proposal was that I took each aspect of what I was writing about – activism, social justice, craft and its resurgence, Sarah Corbett, Betsy Greer and the presence of male craftivists – and wrote them as if I was writing a short essay on each. While this was really useful because I was able to explore the different points I was making, when I came to putting these into my actually proposal structure, I found that I had far too many words. This then presented a new challenge, cutting out what I didn’t need. I was quite happy to keep everything that I had written but the word count wouldn’t allow this, so I started to critically read through what I had written, and cut out the parts that were either not needed, or where I had repeated myself but just in different words; this took almost as long as writing the actually words I was cutting.

While I was deciding on the different topics that I was going to be adding into my background research I came across a hitch in the road. I had planned to look into the Canadian Revolutionary Knitting Circle, but when I started to look into them in more detail, I found that they had sort of dropped off the face of the earth. I couldn’t find anything about them past 2008, their website had been taken offline and this really had me starting to worry. I now would have to start my research over and find someone else to take their place.

The main reason that I wanted to look into the Revolutionary Knitting Circle was because it was founded by a man. In a dissertation about how craftivist can change society to make it more equal for everyone, I wanted to have both male and female Craftivists in my argument. While craftivism seems to quite predominantly feminine, which it is, there are male craftivists, just not a lot. I had to find a male crafter that wasn’t only a craftivist, but was a craftivist that was out to change the society we live in. That made my search so much more difficult.

I was able to replace the one group, the Revolutionary Knitting Circle, with two male craftivist, John-Paul Flintoff, and Jamie Chalmers. Both of which have been participants in some of the craftivist projects that I have been looking into. I thought that this was perfect; not only where they men, but they had also been part of projects that I had already written about, thus cementing them into my dissertation rather than flinging a few male craftivists at the end!

I’m really looking forward to when I’m going to be looking further into these craftivists and the different projects that they have been involved in. I have really enjoyed gather research and piecing together my argument; that being said, reading the same words over and over and over again gave me a sort of mental block at finding any errors or mistakes that needed to be changed, but I never got tired of reading my confident, analytical dissertation and thinking ‘I actually wrote that!’.

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