Monday, August 13, 2012

All the world’s a stage …. Guidelines for Dissertators from the Theatre.


These are guiding principles that Anne Bogart, director of the SITI theatre company uses. They underpin the discipline of stage craft and lead performers toward excellence in the practice of their craft as well as in the way they share that with an audience.

I think it applies as much to the craft of scholarship. So … I’ve borrowed it, and added my interpretation of it in the context of writing a dissertation.

All additional interpretations to these principles from the perspective of dissertators are welcome. So please comment away!


TURN UP. Be fully present and committed within yourself when doing all things. Turn up for your dissertation. When you sit down to work on your dissertation, it and only it exists. Put aside all else for the time you have committed to writing.

PAY ATTENTION. Observe. Listen. Be mindful of your actions and words. Details are important. Observe yourself going off on tangents, or getting distracted and gently bring yourself back to your work. Listen to your body’s subtle signals and take breaks so it can support you better in the long haul of writing. This is reflection in action and it works powerfully to give you energy to write for extended periods of time.

TELL THE TRUTH. See yourself clearly. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Do not compromise doing what is right. Do not underestimate who you are and what you can do. Set goals and be ready to accept doing more, less, or different to what you intended at the beginning. See your writing habits clearly; know who you are as a writer. More reflection in action.

DO NOT BE ATTACHED TO THE RESULTS. Take a risk. Try things. Push your boundaries. And accept that this means falling down sometimes as you explore, discover, and learn. Accept that there will be revisions, and changes, and re-writes. And do not beat yourself up because you did not meet your goals. Do not give up setting goals; the very act of goal setting establishes intention and direction.
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