Jack Vallance (b. 1914) – Researching Writing Lives

Having the opportunity to create an Author Blog has given me many skills that will be applicable to the Research Masters that I will be starting later this year. The ability to research and discover the life of Jack as an individual and gain a deeper understanding of the history of locations such as Cromford and the surrounding area has allowed me to extend my knowledge and has given me the skills that are required of me for future projects. I have found this project very interesting, with the extensive research going towards my understanding of the importance of publicising and promoting the writing of Working-Class authors. Along with this, I have also gained a deeper understanding of the railway industry due to Jack’s involvement and personal enjoyment. His memoir has also led me to acquire an interest in this topic and this demonstrates the importance of his writing.

Having engaged with historical databases and archives in order to piece together Jack’s life, I have been able to create a more rounded picture of him. His memoir is at times brief, leaving very little indication to his emotional or family life. Having spoken to several local historians I have been able to paint a picture of Jack and his work. In doing this, I could then publicise this information and extend his prose to fill in the gaps that the public can then further engage with. I have also been able to engage with the local area and as a result several businesses/organisations have shown a keen interest in publicising my blog posts in order to extend the public history.

Personally, one of the most enjoyable elements of this project has been the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students, be it copy editing, through Facebook Groups and Twitter engagement. Having done this, I have been able to form relationships with my peers in an academic capacity. This has broadened my University experience and has allowed me to extend the skills required for my Research Masters. In doing this, I have learned the importance of engaging with others in order to create a mutual promotion relationship. As a result, my own work has been heavily spread throughout the country and to several organisations that have shown an interest in Jack and his life.

Having run a lifestyle blog for the past few years, taking part in this project has broadened my understanding of the WordPress platform and has allowed me to develop my personal blog and the linked social media accounts. The realisation of the importance of copy editing and limiting wordiness has been highlighted. Therefore, I have found that the accessibility and understandability when it is added to the public sphere is very important, and this has been highlighted more and more throughout my time on this project. Using social media during this project has showed me the importance of information sharing in today’s society. The opportunity that comes with using social media for promotion is very extensive and has shown me the way in which the world is developing in the social media age. Having used twitter, facebook and WordPress it has given me the chance to share Jack’s writing along with his life.

The Writing Lives Project has set me up for future work and has directed my Postgraduate Study into the domain of research. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the module and appreciate the skills that I have acquired.

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