Monday, 2 March 2009

Funding headaches...

In a bid to spur myself on with my research I thought I'd open up a blog. From time to time I'll drop by and update you on progress with the project. I already have a website in preparation which will contain some of the research material dug up during the project -

I'm a self-supporting student at the moment, working out of Trinity College Dublin, and some six months into my first year. So far I've failed to secure funding through the university, but knowing how competitive it is decided to plough on anyway. Fees alone are over £4,000 per annum - several hundred pounds more expensive than if I'd stayed on in Belfast.

This isn't meant to be a moan, but had I sat and really thought about the cost I'd probably not have started. I'm working part time at the moment, and have to take every additional shift I can get just to break even. Between rent, and food and fees I don't really have any spare cash now at all. The first few months were okay, but I'm feeling it now. It's so easy to forget about the expense of travelling between Belfast and Dublin, or Belfast and London in order to do the archival research which is so crucial to my work. Even more frustrating, it has been paying off and I've uncovered some very tantalising bits of information which are already altering my entire perception of the early Exclusive/Hammer and supporting some of my initial thesis.

When I do get away, time is incredibly short so I sit and work my way through as much as possible, and walk away armed with photocopies of periodicals wherever possible. Damn myself for working from contemporary publicity publications!

I just about managed to scrape together the £2k needed this month for the second half of this year's fees, but I'm looking at having to cut back on the research for the next few months simply because I can't afford it. If anyone has good suggestions as to how to get private funding (I'm assuming that attempts through the university will continue to fail), I'd welcome them. Even to get someone to cover my basic fees - so around £13k over three years - would make a huge difference. Far removed from my friends who get their fees covered and in the region of £12k per annum support...


  1. I'm so glad you're doing this important work. Good luck finding the funding. Have you thought about contacting Hammer/Exclusive veterans asking for donations and/or sponsorship, or would that compromise your research?

  2. The risk with that approach is simply that it might put them off talking in interviews etc. If veterans are willing to share memories and/or access to their private memorabilia then that is support enough from them.

    Corporate sponsorship would be preferable, or some historical organisation. But how does it benefit them? Hammer and Exclusive are obvious targets, and the project will open up a whole wealth of previously ignored or forgotten films and projects. Ultimately that could get more interested in them, but is that enough?

    Hopefully the project will be of use to film and cultural historians and tell the story not only of Exclusive, but something about British cinema going and popular culture.

    The accompanying website will in time include access to much of the visual material I turn up in the research, and copyright permitting, my source material too. If I can't publish wholesale, I'll provide a guide to sources used.

    And obviously the sensible thing to do is to provide a concise version in hard copy book form, which I hope will happen. Publication is the ultimate object of any PhD project.