The task of researching and writing a dissertation has been real eye opener for me. It has taught me a lot from good researching to time management. When writing the proposal I was torn between the dissertation to be about a very specific textiles piece or something related to gender equality; two topics I feel very passionately about. I decided on the later as it would be something different to work on, separate from my textiles work. However, I decided to bring in textiles as I was interesting in researching how the two could link together. After McQueens work being referenced in my Level 5 constellation and visiting the Savage Beauty exhibition in the V&A the previous year I was fascinated by his work and had some background research in place.
In the dissertation there is a clear angle of gender inequality and I feel that this was because of my strong passion about the topic in my day to day life. However, I also feel that as McQueen also had a intrigue about the way women looked and were perceived, it was impossible for the ideals of gender equality to arise. Overall, I am really pleased with the topic I chose as it gave me plenty of research opportunities and I my own passion on the subject kept me going through the process.
I can now fully appreciate that researching is a skill in itself. I struggled to find relevant and engaging research at the beginning of the process. However, after finding some key pieces of work, whether they were books or journal articles, it really helped me to find more of the same and new areas and ideas to bring in. I spent along time researching for the first chapter, I felt that I needed a lot of background reading otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write the dissertation. This slowed me down later on in the process as I found it hard to find confidence to actually start writing. When initially researching for chapter one, I found a lot of information on gender. It took me some time to figure out what was relevant to my dissertation. I enjoyed the research process and as perviously stated my own interest in the subject made researching easier. When researching for chapter 2 and 3 was when the references narrowed. These chapters were specifically about McQueens designs. I found most of the work written about McQueens designs were more biographical or just plain descriptors of the garments or cat walks. I found most of the relevant work to be in published books about fashion in general. When collecting images for my dissertation, I found that the exhibition catalogues were the best place. This is because they were good quality images that showed all of the garments.
When writing the dissertation I found it difficult to start, lack of confidence possibly. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about so just kept of reading. It wasn’t until I had to write that I actually started. I feel that this had is pro’s and con’s. I had plenty of material to reference in my work however I also had a lot of the same points repeated. The first 1000 words I wrote was total rubbish. However, it was good for me to just get started and break past the rut. I found chapter one the easiest to write and I feel that this was because there was already so much content available. I found chapter 2 and 3 slower and I tackled this part of the dissertation very differently. I learnt that I work well by having everything planned out either by breaking down each section into paragraph by paragraph plans or by creating many a mind map. This worked well when writing chapter one. However, after researching for chapter 2 and 3 I used a different approach. I used columns analysis to break down each image and examine the whole image. This also highlighted any gaps I may have had in my research.
When planning my conclusion I found that it was getting too long. This is because I wanted to conclude every point that had been made and also tie together different images I had analysed separately. Therefore, I decided to create a Discussion and a Conclusion. I felt that this the best way for me to get my points across and I was really pleased with the conclusion as I was able to outline all the relevant points.
The dissertation could have been developed if I had taken into consideration menswear. I feel that this would have opened up more avenues. Upon reflected the dissertation is definitely based on a western ideal of beauty. I have been fortunate enough to travel and this is the main influence for my textiles work. I would therefore liked to have incorporated international concepts into my dissertation, if I were to do it again. Due to travel, I missed some weeks in university and I feel initially they put me behind most people. However, this made me manage my time much better and I have always felt that I have been good at managing time however I now have a deeper understanding of how I work and how productive I can be. I found that writing the dissertation was the hardest part for me, the research was the most enjoyable part. I also found that when I was having a ‘good day’ in terms of writing I could get a lot more done than I expected. Therefore, when I was having a ‘good day’ I would just keep going as working for long periods of time is the best for me. I find doing a tiny bit each day didn’t motivate me to do more as I couldn’t see the progress so clearly.
To conclude, I feel a massive amount of pride in what I have achieved. Initially, I found it hard to motivate myself but once I found a direction I enjoyed the process. The enjoyment didn’t come without stress. I feel that the stress because I was surprised by how much I was enjoying the dissertation and therefore I wanted to be as good as I could make it. I still can’t believe I’ve actually written a dissertation.