Understanding myself and my work
What made you want to do a PhD?
I first discovered the phenomenon of psychogeography when studying my Masters at The University of Essex. I knew that the next step for me was a PhD, where I could delve into the practice further and earn a doctorate on the matter.
Where do you hope your career takes you?
My aim is to earn my doctorate and then lecture in the field, passing my knowledge on to the next generation of students. I also hope that alongside this I will continue to write and publish books with the aim of continuing the tradition of psychogeographic writing.
What is psychgeography?
Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by French Situationist Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." For me, it is about accessing what turns a space into a place through its effects on the human's psyche. I also view it as a form of literary time travel - as it accesses different layers of history in urban environments.
Why the A12?
Originally born and bred in Essex, the A12 has always been a part of my life and my family's. My work on the road is about understanding its history and importance throughout a subsequent non-fictional piece. My work also has a focus on people who have moved out of London into East Anglia and why they have chosen to do this. Which my family indeed did. Also, it now has a “forced-hand” focus on how walking has been changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
How can I help?
The result of the recently completed walk will be a 100-thousand-word creative non-fiction thesis on the road and my discoveries along it – with a view to this hopefully being published as a book afterwards.
I am looking for opinions and anecdotes on the road and I was hoping you may be able to help by spreading the word on the project – whether someone may have lived near to it, commuted along it for years or owns a business situated on it. Negative or positive I would love to hear any stories – they may influence where I walk, what I write or what I research.