John Urie (b. 1820) Researching Writing Lives

Reading and writing about John Urie has been a thrill ride in itself! My most notable memories were learning about his recollection of the resurrectionists, his interaction with Madeleine Smith, and his involvement in the progression of photography in Glasgow! I was shocked and impressed to learn he was one of the first photographers in Glasgow and it was really interesting how he described his process of making the photos come to life, he really was a smart man! Amongst John however, I really found it enjoyable to research the culture and places he experienced and grew up in. I referenced posts about the theatre’s he attended, letters from Glasgow residents about the cholera outbreaks, the clubs of Glasgow, some photographs he took…there really was a bunch of information for me to explore! Yet, at the same time, I felt there wasn’t enough about John himself. I think he justified his level of fame being one of the first photographers in Glasgow and his involvement with various famous people such as David Livingstone, but he as a person is rarely mentioned. I think this is why I feel with the blog post and journey, I have contributed something to public history which I took even further by drafting a wikipedia entry for John which I think he greatly deserves!

Another big part of this project was the collaboration and promotion of my colleagues work. Working with Anais helped a lot with the overall tone and feel to my blogs. We were also lucky enough to have similar aspects in our authors which we discussed a lot and is something I mentioned in some of my own blog posts. It really gave me the chance to generate this different aspect to my work. I also think the teamwork and communication skills are really present in this aspect. I learned the level of communication is essential to this sort of work, something that I have struggled with previously but I feel it has been much amended with my experience here.

Reading other people’s work was also something I cherished not just for it’s educational purpose, but for it’s enjoyment too. It was really clear to see the effort and dedication people have put into their work. Reading how my colleagues have reached out to families of our authors is greatly impressive and is something I wish I could do myself. The collaboration aspect of this project was really the most inspiring and beneficial when writing our own posts, personally I found it much easier to project a blogging and passionate tone after I’ve read some of my colleagues’ work.

Coming into this project, I was already a semi-consistent blogger. I stopped my personal blogs to solely focus on this project which will prove to be a very beneficial decision in the future. I have gained this new level of appreciation for promotion and research which is something I previously didn’t consider. It’s a skill that is not just bound to blogging too. This project and the dedication you need for it is something that can be projected into the real world of work. It was also useful to get a different tone and style to my blogging. I have previously only focused on sports blog and with that came a certain tone that I had to follow. Writing Lives has allowed me to learn this new tone which I feel impacts my flexibility as a writer greatly.

I was also greatly surprised by the social media aspect. I have always viewed my social media has personal promotion rather that external. I found that promoting other people’s work made for more interactivity on social media which is something that I will definitely take forward with my future blogs. However, I was expecting hashtags to be somewhat irrelevant with this project. With social media and trending culture, there isn’t really much room for something like writing lives to be included in and thus, I felt the use of hashtags was not useful and I quickly stopped using as many. But, if anything this gave me a perspective of tweeting and how to make it as relevant as possible, rather than hashtags, I would reply to others with my promotion or even tag accounts in my post to ensure as much interactivity is ensured.

Overall, exploring John and working with my colleagues made this project very enjoyable, not just for academic purposes but in general too. I was told about how we must really know everything about our author and I really think I achieved this in my blogging.

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