I have just gone into my second year at Leeds, studying History and Sociology and can still not quite believe how much I have been able to cram in; including participating in a flash mob as part of LUU Amnesty Society and gaining a red belt in karate. As a part of getting fully involved in student life and exploring the many opportunities Leeds offers I applied and was accepted onto the Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship (UGRLS). This has been one of the biggest things I have done so far, as the scholarship involved spending 6 weeks in Leeds over the summer doing my own research project.
My project was about Leeds Theatre Past and Present- whether the present theatres are influenced by Leeds theatrical heritage, which is incredibly interesting once you start delving into it! I looked primarily at City Varieties Music Hall, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Slung Low. All are amazing and all are incredibly different. City Varieties is one of the last remaining music halls in Britain, West Yorkshire Playhouse offer a variety of plays and Slung Low make the city their stage. I then started researching these theatres in more detail by looking in Special Collection Archives at the Brotherton Library, West Yorkshire Archive Service in Morley and going to the theatres themselves and meeting staff.
The experience has been truly great as I have done things I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do, such as interviewing Slung Low’s artistic director Alan Lane and having a meeting with a Leeds councillor about a possible heritage trail next year. After conducting my research I began to document my research in a report. The task I set myself was bigger than I originally envisioned and I’m still amending my report, but I know how proud I’ll feel once it’s complete. I also really got into blogging and using twitter to provide updates on how my research was progressing, along with any obstacles I needed to tackle.
So far during this academic year I have presented my project at a Heritage Show + Tell event which was very nerve-wracking, but enjoyable! Through the scheme I have also become a Joint Honours Student Ambassador for the History Department and I am now on the lookout for any events that can help my project for next summer, when I start to develop some more creative outputs.
Leeds has so much to offer and I can’t wait to see what the next two years has in store for me!