Profile: Jack Palmer
Through the ‘Making a World of Difference Campaign’, Jack was awarded an MA Scholarship at the Bauman Institute thanks to a philanthropic gift from Mr David de Haas. This generosity allowed Jack the opportunity to realise his academic potential by winning our prestigious Janina Bauman Prize in 2012. He was also recently successful in winning a University Teaching Bursary that now funds his PhD project.
I’m originally from Wimborne in Dorset and for my undergraduate degree I made the relatively short trip to study at the University of Portsmouth. I graduated with BA (Hons) Media Studies & Entertainment Technology with first class honours and the ‘Media Students’ Award’ in 2011.
Why I chose the University of Leeds
The University of Leeds has been familiar to me for a long time – even as a prospective undergraduate student I was aware of the University’s strong reputation. In the latter stages of my time in Portsmouth, as I became increasingly sure that I wanted to pursue a career in academia, I was greatly encouraged to look at Leeds by a number of people whom I respected and admired. I was also drawn by the idea of exploring a part of the country that I’d not seen before.
Area of Study
As an undergraduate, I approached the media as a prism through which to examine wider cultural and sociological processes. My dissertation, for instance, focussed on the mediation of genocide in Rwanda. Naturally, this involved examining the media as a propaganda tool and exploring the representation of the ‘spectacle’ of ‘third world’ conflict. However, as the work developed, I found myself situating my study in the wider theoretical spheres of morality, violence, globalisation and the memory of atrocity. At present, these are the areas which I am most concerned with.
The reverberations from the genocide in Rwanda are still being felt today, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As the setting for ‘Africa’s World War’, I am interested in its representation and reputation as a Conradean ‘Heart of Darkness’. I am especially keen on developing and applying the ideas that I explored as an undergraduate to this area, but I am also interested in looking at the conflict in the contexts of Western consumerism and new technologies. On the other hand, I am fully aware of how a single lecture, seminar or reading can change take thought down unexpected paths. Indeed, what I’m relishing about this particular course is that, as well as helping me to develop my existing areas of interest, it will provide me with plenty of new and fascinating insights regarding areas that I’ve neglected hitherto.
The School of Sociology and Social Policy + the Bauman Institute
Zygmunt Bauman has informed my own interests more than any other theorist. I hence feel very privileged to have been presented the opportunity to study in an institute which is named in his honour. The fact that the institute is situated in one of the most reputable sociology and social policy departments in the country is just icing on the cake! The school routinely produces very important work on the frontline of global debates. The possibility of engaging with (perhaps even contributing to, one day!) these kinds of debates is a challenging prospect, but an extremely exciting and motivating one nonetheless.
Outside of Study
I have a huge passion for music, to the extent which I attempt to write my own! I’ve also a keen interest in film and television, and I very much enjoy going out to see live music and comedy. I’m a big fan of football, both playing and supporting (Southampton FC, by the way). I also like walking and exploring; I gather that there’s plenty of space for that in this part of the world!
I’ve never lived in an area with so much going on – the idea that you can go out any night of the week and find something interesting to do or see is an extremely novel one to me! I’m very much looking forward to what Leeds has to offer in that respect. On the other hand, what with it being surrounded by beautiful countryside, Leeds has enough of home about it to feel like I’m not so far away. It’s also a very diverse place, both culturally and naturally. In short, it seems a great city and an incredibly stimulating place to be a student.
The aim is to continue working towards a career in the academy. As aforementioned, though, I know all about how seemingly concrete plans can be altered so I don’t like to think about the future as a straight, pre-destined path.