April 28, 2012

My URSS Researcher Profile

Name: Sophie Potter

Department: Italian (Italian with International Studies)

Project Name: Women's Voices on Italian Migration: The Case of South-North Migration in Post-WW2 Italy

Supervisor: Paola Toninato & Loredana Polezzi

A Female Italian migrant with her children

Why does your URSS project interest you?

Through a combination of my studies at undergraduate level and my experience of living in Italy last year, I have come to understand that there is limited information available on the female experience of the south-north migrations in Italy following the Second World War. I would like to compare media representations of female Italian migrantion experiences with real women's testimony of these, comparing them to some extent with my own experiences of living in a new culture. I lived with a woman during my year abroad in Italy who had herself migrated from Sicily and who built a successful career in radio journalism, demonstrating that the representations which I have so far encountered of such women (see the mother character in Rocco e i suoi fratelli) are very stereotypical and biased. As a woman with a passionate interest in travel and migration, I would like to extend the repertoire of female narratives on the Italian migration phenomena.

What are you hoping to achieve through your URSS project?

I hope to gain a deeper understanding of my own research capabilities and of a country and a culture whose past and present I am strongly interested in.

I hope to set in concrete an idea for my dissertation and decide whether further study after my undergraduate degree is the right option for me. If not, I hope to have gained a much stronger understanding of Italy and its people in order to be better-prepared for setting up a business there in cultural event management or wedding organisation.

I would like to create a film alongside my written report, poster and blogs, and present my findings at future conferences such as BCUR. It would be a dream if my film became a teaching resource in the Italian department at Warwick, or even in departments across the country, so that I could share my passion and my findings with those of similar interests.

What new skills are you hoping to develop?

I hope to develop my interpersonal skills, specifically my ability to interview sensitively and professionally, and also to negotiate. One challenge to my project which I envisage is difficulty on agreeing when, and where, I can work on my project whilst I am living with my hosts (my boyfriend's family). This is because there are large cultural differences between us and in the past they haven't always understood my need for personal space in order to complete assignments.

I hope to develop my academic writing skills in order to produce a publishable report at the end of the project.

I hope to improve my computer literacy skills by approaching Robert O'Toole and seeking an equipment loan and help with video editing in order to produce my film.

What contribution to knowledge could your URSS project make?

My project will even out the gender bias in current representations of Italian history and will deepen the Italian studies community's understanding of the migration phenomena overall.


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  1. Dear Sophie,

    I hope all is well with your studies last two months. Have you got chance to meet your supervisor and discuss your Action Plan with her/him? If you have any progress in making Action Plan, could you please blog it here? Please try to finish it before the end of Term 3. I’m looking forward to reading more about your research soon!

    Zijin

    22 Jun 2012, 08:30

  2. Sophie Potter

    Dear Zijin,

    Thank you for your comment.

    I only finised my exams a couple of days ago, hence why I’ve not been able to meet with my supervisor just yet, though I have made an appointment with them this week and will have finished the development goals blog before the end of term. I do already have in mind what my two goals will be, I just need my supervisor to confirm them.

    I’ll write again very soon.
    Best wishes,
    Sophie

    25 Jun 2012, 11:18

  3. Hi Sophie,

    Thank you for letting me know your plan. It’s great that you already have some ideas in your mind. I hope you’ll also have a good discussion with your supervisor later. My experience with supervising meeting is that usually after such meetings, my mind will be filled with fresh ideas from my supervisor. Some of my initial ideas will change significantly. I know from other research students that this is a quite common experience. So please don’t feel surprised if that happens in your meeting:) Wish you every success in preparing and conducting your research!

    Zijin

    25 Jun 2012, 12:56

  4. Sophie Potter

    Hi Zijin,
    Just to confirm that I have a meeting with my supervisors tomorrow at 12.00 noon. I will then complete my RDG blog post.
    Hope your own research is going well.
    All the best,
    Sophie

    27 Jun 2012, 19:24

  5. That’s great! Many thanks Sophie! Look forward to hearing more about your meeting later. Zijin

    28 Jun 2012, 01:10

  6. Sophie Potter

    Dear Zijin,
    I apologise for the lateness of my Researcher Development Goals blog. The meeting with my supervisors didn’t happen until the very last day of term when I also moved out of my university accommodation. I was then unwell for a few days. I am now in Italy and have started working full-time on the project.
    I hope you’re well.
    Best wishes,
    Sophie

    06 Jul 2012, 19:32

  7. Dear Sophie,

    Many thanks for letting me know! Don’t worry too much about the slight delay. Sometimes during our research progress things unexpected can happen and we are not always able to control them. Learning how to deal with these things is itself a valuable experience! I hope you’re getting well now and enjoy your days in Italy!

    Zijin

    07 Jul 2012, 01:12


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