Researching Writing Lives

Throughout my time on the Writing Lives project it has allowed me to refine my skills I had learned from my second year in the Prison Voices module. This meant my prior experience as a blog writer was utilised again this year. I believe that is why I chose a similar module that was focused on an online presence and was a change from the traditional modules which mainly consisted of assignment writing. In both cases, I found it enjoyable to conduct research into another person’s life and write up about their experiences in condensed, categorised blog posts which enabled me to inform the public audience about – in my case – Thomas Raymont.

As previously mentioned I had taken part in the Prison Voices module in my second year meaning the concept of blogging and an online presence was not an unfamiliar concept to me. I carried over my previous skills of finding primary and secondary sources into this year meaning I was able to discover information surrounding the themes discussed with minimal effort due to the similarity between the two modules.

However, due to the minimalist amount of information provided by Thomas in his short memoir this meant at times it was difficult to find a variety of themes to discuss which resulted in there being two blog posts for certain topics. Thomas was a driven man; education and study ruled his life which is why he chose to dedicate so much time to talking about what he had academically accomplished throughout his life.

With this being said, I am still glad to have been able to give a working class man an online presence and to have contributed to an ambitious project. These are the people who history tends to forget about; the working class is thought of as collectively when in fact each of these people had their own story, own struggles and own experiences they wanted to share but could not due to the apparent ‘mundaneness’ and lack of interest in their lives.

This preconceived thought came to be proven wrong as I researched further into the lives of the working class though my independent research. This is what enabled me to further explore the main themes of Thomas’ memoir. In addition, I was able to conduct further research into issues and social changes around the time specifically around education and the changing nature of the British schooling system.

To conclude then, I would say the Writing Lives module has been a continuous learning process as I have developed skills I have been utilising for the last two years. It has taught me to refine my writing style too, I have always had an issue with wordiness but due to the shortness of each blog post it highlighted how important it is to condense information so it is easy to read and is relevant to what is being discussed. The module has proven the importance of public history; anyone from whatever background has the right to have their story heard including Thomas Raymont who I hope (if he had any understanding of what being online means) I have done proud.


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