I had prepared – answered generic PhD questions, re read my thesis, found plenty of typos! Maybe the busy-ness of preparing for the exhibition opening to happen the same day as the viva meant I had less time to be stressed out and I had such good validation from Jane Speedy, Sue Porter and my supervisors that the thesis was a good coherent piece of work. I went quietly confident to the viva, knowing that I can produce the needed performance of expertise. Starting with a presentation that gave a flavour of my conference papers and presentational style played to my strengths and gave me command and control, very important when faced with two examiners and an independent chair. I liked that they started by telling me how much they had enjoyed my thesis, that felt like a generous way to start. There were a couple of wobble moments but I steered them back, justified my framing and position and ultimately it was the best sort of viva and really good, rigorous conversation with people that were interested in what I had to say and how I said it.

I forgot they needed to deliberate about whether to award me the PhD and was surprised when they asked me to leave the room! It did not seem to take long before I was invited back and told I had passed with minor amendments, a precious moment to savor.

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