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Transnational Project for a Music PhD

20 Feb 2020
by Ekaterina Pavlova (2019, NOTAF)
Being able to travel is essential for a transnational project like mine, and with the help of the Tutorial Award generously offered by St Edmund’s College I was able to travel to Moscow and Berlin and start conducting original PhD research as early as the end of the first term of my PhD. 
When I applied for the award, I was looking for an opportunity to fund two short trips abroad to gather enough information for my registration exercise, as well as getting to know better my resources. I spent a week in each city and visited a total of five archives (Moscow: Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Literatury I Iskusstv/RGALI, Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Sotsial’no-Politicheskoi Istorii/RGASPI, Rossiiskii Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Noveishei Istorii/RGANI, Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii/GARF; Berlin: Archiv der Akademie der Künste) and one state library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, which on this occasion also kindly extended my digital access to their newspaper archive/Zeitungsarchiv). All archives operate differently and, as the three years of my PhD will inevitably go very fast, I am really grateful that I had this opportunity to get to know my sources better early on. I also discovered a broad range of very recent German- and Russian-language publications on my topic (2019) which are not available in the UK yet. I will now be able to study these works in detail and engage with them in my own work, thereby increasing my chances of making a truly global and timely contribution to scholarship.
Both trips were extremely productive and gave me a clear understanding of what materials are available and how to access them. As the number of previously unseen documents on my topic is very high, it was important to find the most efficient approach to archival research that works for me and my research area and start narrowing down my topic, which, of course, would not have been possible had I not had a chance to travel there. This experience has given me enough knowledge to start working on my first-year registration exercise which both necessitates a more detailed overview of primary sources than the initial proposal and requires me to think about the structure and case studies. Needless to say, I have indeed discovered some fascinating case studies, and one of them is so striking that I am already planning to start working on a chapter dedicated to it and have a clear idea which additional documents I need to request next time.
I cannot thank St Edmund’s College enough for this priceless opportunity.
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