The most difficult for me in beginning my journey of this thesis project was connecting the pieces. Sure, I know my personal interests and best qualities, but I wasn't sure how to make that a relevant thesis topic that would fulfill both the requirements of my degree and my personal wants. I swirled around numerous topics, all of which were vital and rampant topics, and then finally I have come to this place.
Over the past three years, I have wondered around waiting for the perfect topic. I considered so many along the way before committing to this very one. No matter what I selected, it was going to be inherently complex, because that is just how I think. But, the complication entered that a master's level thesis has to be concise in order to fully articulate your argument in less than fifty pages of material.
This blog is an extension of my thesis project. I have created a multimedia format that will allow me to complete my program requirements, but also approach a more personal end product by using academic, blog and video format. In the end, the only archival aspect of my project will be my final printed thesis, but the electronic version will be accessible online with more content than capable to capture in a printed discourse. It is my hope that this format will help provide context to my printed thesis, as well as, help clarify my topic. I feel that in my academic writing is an objective representation of my thoughts, and this format is a way that I may bring you a more personal interpretation.
Now, you may be asking, what is your topic?
Adapting Preservation is a discourse on the implication of sustainable preservation.. It asks questions about historic preservation, and its offspring, sustainable preservation. The goal of this discourse is to help preservationists access their intent, and enable them to consider the consequence of their actions.
This thesis is not a doctrine, nor does it create standards to follow. What it strives to do is establish a method of thought that concentrates both the professional and the academics intent into a conscious-state of action. It has been said that preservation is action, and this thesis follows this thought.
In my graduate studies little conversation occurred surrounding theory. There were hints of it and suggestions by professors, but the discussion never really took off. This is no critique to my educators or colleagues, but a simple result from a rash of individuals coming from various disciplines with little background on the context of preservation itself. I am also part of the group, and I also failed to inspire engaged discussion. In my first year of study, I entered my director's office, pretty much desperate to understand the framework of preservation so that I could take off and explore. It was assured to me that by the end of my studies I would indeed be a master. Three years later, I feel as if I am finally at a place to accept this title.
The most significant point that I have gained is the need for outreach. Not only to the public, but also among the professionals leading preservation. I have attended advocate meetings, public hearings, commission meetings, and courses involving the public, professionals and students, and there was one opinion shared amongst all groups. How do they not understand the significance of preservation?
While I wanted my thesis to reach some grand level of logic, filled with suggestions and protocol, I am left with the discourse of understanding. How do we begin administering a profession without digesting its depth?
It came to me that my gift is processes and leading others towards understanding. I find fulfillment in the process of enlightenment. Being able to look back at my first semester with an honest summary admitting I knew little, and now comprehending that while I may have more information under my belt... there is always more to gain.
So, back to my topic.
What is adapting preservation?
As my research unfolds, and my academic writing compounds, I will be blogging about resources I find along the way, and how they impact my understanding.
In the end, my quest is to understand not what is historic preservation, but how I got through the process of a master's thesis in historic preservation. The goal of this accessory to a thesis is to pass on my struggles so that someone else can carry on and improve on what I am unable to accomplish.
Scholarship isn't about proving you are somehow better than a group, but understanding how to improve yourself through leading others to the same enlightenment.