The last few days were quite action-packed. And a bit overwhelming. Let me share you a few thoughts on PhD Research Week, the development of my thesis and the learning curve.
But first things first. Last weekend, I attended an editiorial board meeting of Fortepan. You know, this a Hungarian photo archive, consisting over 30,000 high-resolution images. For some reasons the picture did not appear in search engines. The editors sought ways to increase the number of visitors and eventually launched an iniitiative to add keywords to the images. That’s where I came into the picture and since January, 2014 I am overseeing the keyword activities. It is a mentally challenging work, which yields interesting side-results for me. It turned out that ever since keywords were enrolled, more and more media outlets in Hungary and abroad (keywords are bi-lingual) use Fortepan pictures. Misson accomplished :)!
Later that day, I was a participant at the Night of the Museums as a volunteer at the Hungarian postal Museum. I was put in a room to tell visitors stories about the history of postal vehicles in Hungary. Unfortunately in that room there were to forged, made-up vehicles. Though I have completed a documentation on them, the new tags were not ready by this event. So I faced a dilemma: should I tell the real story or should I play along with the narrative offered by the Postal Museum? Eventually I settled on telling the truth, explaining my background and the real story of these vehicles and also the story of postal automobiles in Hungary. Visitors were entertained, and when a 16-year-old young lady started asking questions I felt really rewarded.
That was last Saturday. By Monday I was in Leicester, attending the PhD Research Week at the School of Museum Studies. And it was a very powerful event. I saw a lot of very interesting presentations put together by my fellow peers. These were well-researched, articulated presentations touching on various subjects from the history of certain museums, to changing representations at another. Students came from all over the globe: Luxembourg, United States of America, Korea, China et. al. I was one of the last one presenting my thesis. It seemed my presentation was well-received. I got a lot of questions and pats on the back afterwards :).
Tis whole affair made me really think about my status quo. You know I am a motor industry analyst by trade. Before I applied to this fine institution, I worked only three days at a Museum. I did not have a proper museology background.
When my application was accepted, I was really happy. I even applied to participate in this blog. But all in all I remained an outsider. Over the past few months, I have read a lot about modern museology trends and became a volunteer at the Hungarian Postal Museum. But it seems I am still an outsider. I need to immerse myself more into modern museology trends, I need to learn more about where Hungarian museums stand. I made a deal with my supervisor, that by next Summer I will put together a workshop on the Liget Budapest project, which I previously mentioned here.
And as luck have it, on the flight to Budapest, the lady next to me was someone who writes grant applications for museums in Hungary. How’s that for coincidence?