By Tara Giddens, PhD researcher
My area of research is looking at the Irish New Woman journalist and comparing her fictional version with the real version. My period is specific from the 1880s to 1920s and currently, I am looking at Irish women who emigrated and wrote as journalists in other countries. With the funding I received from the AHSS Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee, I was able to carry out four days of research at the British Library and attend the Victorian Popular Fiction Association (VPFA) 9th Annual Conference, ‘Travel, Translation and Communication’ at the Senate House in London.
Researching at the British Library allowed me access to a variety of books and pdfs on subjects from the periodical press to gender and Irish identities in Britain. By visiting the British library, I viewed numerous books and articles (which I could not get from the UL library) in just a few days. It was my first time going to the British Library and I feel more confident now that I have a reader’s card and gained experience with the library and its resources. This experience has greatly prepared me for any future academic visits to London and the British library.
Attending the VPFA conference was extremely useful for my research. Some of the topics discussed included travel writing, plagiarism during the Victorian period, and colonial travel to name a few. While at the conference, I met other academics researching similar fields and made some great contacts with people like Susan Cahill who presented on journeys of development in late Victorian Irish writing for girls and Éadaoin Agnew who discussed the consequences and influences of colonial travel.
Overall, both my time at the library and the conference not only have helped further my research of the Irish New Woman journalist but also helped me create new questions and topics to discuss as part of my PhD research. I am very grateful for the financial support from the AHSS Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee. Without the funding, I would not have been able to gain the valuable experience, research, or contacts that I was able to do while in London.