And suddenly, with a thud down the stairs* and a rush of cold Yorkshire air, it’s June, and I’m onto another section of my dissertation.
While I’m still working on my literature review, and will be on and off until September, it’s no longer the primary focus of my days. I’ve moved into working on elements of what will be Chapter 4, which covers my methodology and ethics policy. Methodology is June. Ethics will be July. August will be drinking. (Just kidding.) (Mostly.)
This month I am scheduled to:
- Establish an in-game data collection framework (generally, and as much as possible at this stage, for each selected game)
- Codify my “field” methodologies
- Determine my data curation strategy
So I’m sourcing tech, looking at software packages, researching digital ethnography, and spending a lot of time looking at “dirt archaeology” projects and trying to figure how to transfer the tried and true into digital, without bringing along the bias, colonialism, and baggage of the last 100 years of practice. There’s a lot of cruft.
I was also scheduled to begin working on the No Man’s Sky Archaeological Survey (NMSAS), but with the game being delayed, that takes the survey work off of my plate for at least another month. I still have some research questions to submit, and a general personal presence to set up with the project, but the breathing room from the delay is actually good for me, as…
My first draft of my first chapter was submitted last week, and I’m meeting with my supervisor about it next week. It’s either going to go really well, or really horribly. The project has expanded into a few areas of digital heritage practice that are bigger than “just” video-games, and I’m nervous about how the ways in which I’ve integrated that direction. I expect massive re-writes to be requested. Cross fingers. Toss salt.
Next week is the exhibition for the collected work done by the student excavation teams at Breary Banks and Malton, which is being curated by the first year undergraduates I worked with on the Archaeology and Heritage digital field school. I continue to be incredibly proud of them, and can’t wait to see this final aspect of their labors.
Overall though, things are going well. My new rules are mostly working. I’m more productive. I’m happier. Life is good.
*I fell down the stairs on Saturday. I wasn’t in any way intoxicated. I was carrying laundry, got bumped by a dog, lost my footing, and landed hard on my back before rolling down a few steps and crunching my bare foot beneath me. Nothing is broken, but I had two dislocated toes and am sporting some beautiful purpling. I was on crutches for a few days and am still riding the codeine train, but it could have been much, much worse. I will also forever support the NHS, as they took excellent care of me for pennies. Had I experienced this injury in the States, I would likely be looking at thousands of dollars of debt.