I am a PhD student at Durham University, and am really excited to be engaging in this project in order to complete my doctoral award.
Apart from the fact that this basically means it’s literally Christmas every day for me (there have to be worse jobs!), this is a fantastic opportunity to explore what is for many in Britain, and indeed across the world, a really significant time. Christmas represents a very familiar set of practices, images, memories, and ideals which play a key role each year in many of our lives.
Although there is a wealth of research on the historical development of the Christmas festival, up until now there has been surprisingly little research looking into the role it plays in British culture, and in the lives of the millions that celebrate it today.
That’s why I want to spend time properly exploring with people what the festival really means to them, if anything, in the context of their personal lives.
I very much hope that my doctoral research will shed light on a myriad of social, cultural and personal issues which really seem to come to the fore at Christmas time. But I also hope my findings will help anthropologists better understand the role of emotion, identity, memory and meaning making in people’s lives.
When I’m not studying Christmas…
I enjoy singing, dancing, reading, journaling, sipping copious amounts of tea (preferably with cake!), chatting to friends (including Gelf of course!), watching the Sound of Music (my favourite film ever!) amongst other films, and going for long and beautiful walks along the riverbanks.
You can follow me on Twitter @Lucinda_Murphy