Tell us a bit about yourself - what stage of your PhD are you in and what's your project about?
I’m in the final stages of my PhD, finishing my final bit of primary research and writing up my thesis. My project involves developing, validating and applying a model that can describe complex transmedial structures to identify unique genres in classical franchise narratives as well as emerging types of entertainment media such as alternate reality games, escape rooms and hybrid games.
What does a typical day or week look like for you?
This depends on the stage of the project. The first few months involved exploring ideas and getting a wide understanding of the field I was interested in, and trying to pick out gaps where my research could begin. After a problem was identified, I started playing/reading/consuming lots of transmedia stories and experiences to get to grips with their mechanics and design. I then spent some time developing a model, applying it to these experiences and refining it along the way. I then began the process of validating my findings, interviewing various individuals to get their views on the model and the process of applying it to transmedia stories.
What's one thing that you've enjoyed the most during your PhD?
Learning about the plethora of ways that stories can be told, and being able to experience and study them to learn how they function.
What's been the most challenging part of it?
Finding a problem that A) is justifiable and B) small enough that you can realistically produce an original contribution.
Where do you see yourself 5 years after completing your PhD?
I hope to be using what I have learned in a creative role, developing games, interactive stories and experiences that are innovative. I would also love to explore accessibility further, making these types of experiences available to as many people as possible, regardless of their literacy of ability.
What's one piece of advice that you'd offer students that are thinking of doing a PhD?
Your topic should be a balance between something that you love, and something that will progress your career. You want to be able to enjoy your topic (because it takes a long time to do a PhD!) but at the same time you want to know that the skills you’ve developed during your research will be used to get you where you want in life.
What makes your university a good place to study?
Excellent staff, support and facilities. The University of Southampton and my course in particular invite students to be creative with their PhD, taking supervisors from different departments and picking topics that span multiple disciplines.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’m currently a solo indie developer and spend much of my spare time developing the art, code and design for my games. Aside from designing and playing games, I love learning about science and have a particular interest in astronomy.