Holding value in the last leg: Completing my PhD @ Odox Arts, Birmingham

I thought it’s time I pen a hybrid of the static ‘holding page’ and blog post that details my current position as well as signals the next promising phase.

After completing a stimulating albeit challenging final teaching term at Warwick Uni, I decided to embrace my new Birmingham location and the final PhD writing leg by transitioning into a desk space at Birmingham’s new gallery and studios, Odox Arts. It seems to have been an excellent decision. While the transition aimed at completing my PhD (and not murdering my partner who also works from home), I gained boundless more.

Being in a space that features artists across the ages, all engaging their individual journeys, has injected positive energy and movement into my everyday. The autonomy of the PhD and its disembodied demands often left me reaching the end of the day grasping for a hold on the earth as I disappeared into my chair and the dark place beyond. However, throughout the day, even the most trivial discussions in the halls and studios of Odox maintains a presence and ultimately a value in this meaningful and supportive community. The importance of this value is incalculable, to which many experiencing a PhD would agree, especially in light of a practice-based PhD which has become so intensive that all practice needs to be put on hold.

Finally, those at Odox have made me feel as though each day really matters, in spite of the September (2019) submission deadline arrogantly announcing itself as though it were the only important month in existence. I have a lot to be thankful for, and at the end of this 6-month journey, those at Odox Arts will not only take a position on that acknowledgements page (!) but hopefully also be a friend to my performance praxis ahead.

My desk space at Odox Arts

Claire French is a performance maker and researcher, specialising in multilingual, applied and autobiographical performance.