Today, I took part in Explorathon20, where I showed a tiny videoclip discussing my research into late Victorian and early 20th century Sottish music. (It was actually called the Global Science Show, but it was an opportunity for researchers to showcase their research in whatever discipline. I was probably the token musicologist!)
Heritage: The Female Composers that Time Forgot (The People’s Friend Special Issue no.197, 2020)
Earlier this year, I was commissioned by The People’s Friend to write a feature about forgotten women composers. You might wonder why I’m excited about this, but there are actually several reasons:-
It’s an important subject – and it’s important for school and university students today, too!
The People’s Friend average circulation is 157,380 per issue, so even though my feature appeared in a special issue, it has the potential to achieve wildly greater public engagement than anything else I’ve written about a research topic.
Whilst getting published in academic circles is crucial – and sometimes difficult to achieve for us scholars – it isn’t easy getting published in popular magazines either.
Well over two decades ago, I authored over 30 short stories and a serial for The People’s Friend (yes – shock! Actual popular fiction!) I’m completely convinced that this experience helped me to develop a readable style. Indeed, one of my PhD examiners said that I ‘really made the characters come to life’, and my unspoken response was along the lines of – yes, I know I can do that! At any rate, it feels good to have, in a sense, come home to a magazine which was formative for me in a different metier – so I’m actually very happy to have received this commission.
You could say my earlier serial had a prophetic title, because my own Norfolk “family never knew” I was doing my PhD – my second attempt at one – until I had actually got it! (The serial was totally different, and certainly not autobiographical – I have no secret, lost children, only the three that everyone knows about!)
To the curious:- my latest commission is logged in Pure, our institutional repository, so you can take a look. The serial will be harder to find. I have my own authorial copy, and more recently bought the only copy that I could find on eBay at the time. If you manage to get hold of a copy – well done! Make a cuppa, get a HobNob or two, and I hope you enjoy reading it.