The Doctor Terumi Narushima Session
In this fascinating Session, Dr Terumi Narushima talks to us about the personal challenges of embarking on a career in music, how a chance encounter at a conference impacted her decision to undertake a PhD, and some really good advice for school leavers and undergraduates about the importance of doing what you are passionate about.
Microtonality deals with the notes that fall between the cracks. Instead of semitones being the smallest interval between two notes, you get microtones – between the semitones. I am interested in making music from these other possibilities. Instead of assuming that music is just made from the notes you get on the piano, for me it was like opening up a whole palette of new colours. Why take it for granted, why don’t we find our own new building blocks that have not been explored yet to make a new type of music? I mean, that is why I became attracted to this area as a composer.
Listen to the Interview with Doctor Terumi Narushima
Q&A with Doctor Terumi Narushima…
What is the title of your PhD: Mapping the Microtonal Spectrum Using Erv Wilson’s Generalized Keyboard
Where did you complete your PhD: Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong
What year did you graduate: 2013
What undergraduate degree/s have you completed: Bachelor of Music (Honours); Grad. Dip Education (Secondary); Master of Music (Composition)
What is your job title, today: Senior Lecturer in Music, University of Wollongong
Composition Hidden Sidetracks, commissioned by Ensemble Offspring; premiered at Sydney Opera House, 2011; released on CD “Between the Keys”, 2013; broadcast on “New Music Up Late”, ABC Classic FM radio, 2013.
Interview with Dr Terumi Narushima
Tamara: Today we’re talking to Dr Terumi Narushima about her PhD journey. Her thesis was titled “Mapping the Microtonal Spectrum using Erv Wilson’s Generalized Keyboard”, and we’ll delve really into that, what that means. She completed her PhD at the University of Wollongong in the Faculty of Creative Arts. She graduated in 2013. Terumi, thank you for joining us today. We’re going to start by asking you what your role is now, what you do in your typical day and what you’re up to at the moment.
Terumi: My role is as an academic, I’m a senior lecturer in music at the University of Wollongong at the same university where I did my PhD. A typical day during the teaching session would involve, many hours with students in the classroom or a music lab or in workshops. Sometimes I give lectures or run tutorials. Other times I’m, running around different rehearsal rooms between, students with lots of guitars and other instruments. During the day I might have meetings with other staff members or individual meetings with some of my postgraduate students. In the evening is when I do a lot of my preparation work, whether it’s for teaching, I try and fit in a bit of my research somewhere and a bit of time for my music as well.
Steph: During the teaching semester, your students dominate your time, but outside of teaching, that’s when you have a chance to do your own research?
Terumi: Yeah. Ideally thinks, seems to be, seem to be changing all the time at, in universities, especially at the moment. In between teaching, we do a lot of, preparation work, redesigning, coursework as well as our own.
Steph: Even when you’re not running lectures, you are thinking about your teaching. How has it been for you during Covid? Have you been able to see your students or has everything been done online?
Terumi: I’m actually on sabbatical leave or study leave at the moment, but I ended up being called back to do a bit of teaching, which is not the usual process. Those classes were run online for the first time, really challenging to try and do music through zoom or whatever. The online platforms.
Steph: I am sure you have great speakers and great headphones, but it’s not the same as being there.
Terumi: Yeah. The time lag, was a real problem. So I am clapping a rhythm, and you know, students are saying, Oh, can you do that again? Let’s sing together. It was like this polyphonic ummm….
Tamara: To where you started, when you were finishing school and your thoughts about what you wanted to do when you left school, did you know? And also, were your parents university students?
Terumi: Both. My parents actually went to university in Japan. For as long as I can remember, my mother in particular used to always say, Oh, universities, the best time of your life. You’re you got to go to university. I think I never thought that I wouldn’t go to university, after high school. Towards the end of high school, when we all have to decide what courses we want to apply for, I knew that I really definitely wanted to study music, but, my parents definitely did not want me to study music. They wanted me to study the good old, either medicine or law. So one parent wanted the medicine. The other was very keen on law, but, so long as it wasn’t music, I think they wouldn’t find it. It was really strong opposition from them to the extent that they, said they were gonna disown me if I pursued the music thing. I remember applying for different universities, you had the audition side, organize my travel by myself and almost secretly try and sneak off to go to auditions. I didn’t know at that stage whether would I be able to get into any music course? I said, Oh, look, if I don’t get into music then, okay, I’ll do medicine. That was my attitude at the time.
Steph: From their perspective, were they concerned if you did music that you wouldn’t get a job or that you wouldn’t be able to support yourself.
Terumi: Yeah. They thought music is just a hobby. How you’re going to earn a living just from doing music. Why waste, why waste your life doing something like that when you could be doing something more useful? was their thought? Yeah.
Steph: You work at a university now, so you clearly manage it.
Terumi: I like to say to my, well, I like to think I’m getting, get her doctor medical doctor, but I did a different kind of, a doctoral degree.
Steph: You did your undergraduate degree at Wollongong as well?
Terumi: No, I did my undergraduate degree at Sydney University. Funny thing is I actually applied for Wollongong University as well, and I got accepted into both and I was really tossing up between the two. I even flipped a coin,
Steph: Of course that’s how the best decisions, life decisions are made.
Terumi: Well, but, the thing that clinched it was, I ended up getting a scholarship, at one of the residential colleges at Sydney uni. Because I was so worried about how I was going to support myself, because my parents said they were going to disown me if I did music, I went for Sydney uni and that’s how I ended up there. And is,
Tamara: Is that where you did your masters? Did you do master’s?
Terumi: Yeah. Well, I did my, undergraduate degree at Sydney University, in the Music Department, they’re quite a famous music department with a lot of, big names in Australian music composition, which is why I wanted to go there. There was, at the time there was this strange, maybe it kind of imagined rivalry between Sydney University and Sydney Conservatorium. The two have amalgamated since. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I felt like I wanted to get the other side of the story. I ended up doing my Masters at Sydney Conservatorium. It was during my time there that I came across a particular teacher who ended up being my supervisor. When my supervisor, left the Conservatorium, he actually moved to Wollongong University. That’s how I, with a bunch of other postgraduate students followed him down to Wollongong.
Steph: So you realised during your masters that you wanted to do a PhD, or what point did that decision occur to you to do a PhD?
Terumi: I think it was during the Masters. I knew that after I finished my undergrad, that I wanted to learn a bit more and get a different side of the story, especially around music composition, which is why I went to the Conservatorium. While I was there, I guess I, I would see different people who were maybe doing PhD or, doctoral level work. There was another sort of, particular meeting. While I was doing my masters, the supervisor encouraged us to go to conferences and I went to a computer music conference and I was, you think music, and you think a lot of females do music as well as men. At this particular conference, at that time, there were only two female presenters who gave papers. It was a very well, a much more senior composer that I knew about from years ago and really respected. She came up to me and she said, “Ah you’ve got that little twinkle in your eye. It’s never heard me hurt me to be a doctor. You should really pursue it”. Even though I’d already been thinking about it in the back of my mind, I think having that little extra boost from a person that I never met before to say something like that to me, and give me that kind of encouragement was, something that I really appreciate.
Tamara: Do you think you would have done it, had you not had that encounter?
Terumi: I think I would’ve done it anyway, but it was just this, it just made me realize that some words of encouragement, they don’t cost anything, but if you see something or meet someone and it was just a, it’s a composer that I have since met on a couple of other occasions, but I feel really deeply, I’m appreciative of the fact that she made that special a comment to me at that time.
Steph: When you decided to do your PhD, did what project you wanted to do or are you open to suggestions from your supervisor?
Terumi: Yeah, that is a really good question. I knew through my Masters I became interested in this area called micro tonality. I knew that I wanted to pursue that further through a PhD. I didn’t know what specifically within that field, in the meantime…
Tamara: What is it? What’s microtonality?
Steph: Cause we totally know, but just explain to the audience…
Terumi: This is the way I try to explain it. I think many people, have heard about scales, major scales and minor scales in music. They may have even come across terms like tones and semitones. A lot of the music that we tend to hear every day is, uses major scales, minor scales, the sorts of notes that you would find on an instrument like the piano and we’re taught usually when we study music, that the smallest distance between any two notes, is called a semitone. If you played any two notes on the piano, any two notes that are next to each other, that’s the smallest interval of distance called the semitone. We kind of assume that the music is made from the notes that you would get on a piano. Like that’s an instrument that you make music with, but in reality, you can actually get notes that fall between the cracks of the piano.
Terumi: Instead of semitones being the smallest interval, you can get microtones. I’m interested in playing in those areas that fall between the gaps. Instead of just making music from the good old major scale, minor scale, I’m interested in figuring out ways of making music from these other possibilities.
Steph: Opening up a whole new range of options for somebody writing music
Tamara: So, the tiny notes between the notes.
Terumi: Yeah that’s right. Instead of just assuming that music is just made from the notes you get on the piano, it was for me like, a whole new palette of new colours was opened up. Instead of just working with the, literally the black and white notes of the piano, it’s like, Oh, there’s all these other possibilities that become available. As soon as you understand that there are other notes possible. Why take it for granted? Why don’t we make design our own new building blocks that haven’t been explored yet to make a new type of music? I mean, that’s the grand view of why I became attracted to this area as a composer.
Steph: That was what you were trying to investigate.
Terumi: It’s probably too broad a question. It was the research area that I knew that I was interested in, but what ended up happening was this particular supervisor, His name is Greg Shima. He got some research funding for a project to do with Carillons, bells and my masters had some relationship with that. Originally when I applied to do the PhD, it was to be part of his research project. What happened though is, in the meantime, he decided that he wanted someone, a PhD student with a bit more of an engineering background for his project. He said, look, you’ve got, you managed to get, your own scholarship to do your PhD at Wollongong University. We’d like to keep this ARC scholarship money to someone else. It was actually really hard for the, at the beginning of my PhD. I was raring to go because, I had left full time employment in order to become a full-time student again. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing. That was probably one of the biggest struggles for me in my PhD, knowing what it was about.
Tamara: Did you go, so you didn’t go straight from study to study? Did you didn’t go from straight from your Masters to your PhD? Did you have a time in between?
Terumi: A little bit? Yeah. After I finished my undergraduate music degree in composition, I actually, along the way I did a diploma of education. My mother, again, she had always said that she had done a Dip. Ed and she thought it was a really useful qualification. She’s retired now, but she was a teacher. I, from a very young age, I was tutoring younger students in whatever subjects. It seemed like a sensible thing to do. As an undergrad, I was also spent one year editing the student newspaper with a bunch of friends. I didn’t want to be doing my honours thesis at the same time. I said, Oh, well, maybe I’ll just do a Dip Ed in betwen.
Terumi: I’d turn up to, my Dip Ed classes and I’d be falling asleep and feeling terrible about this, but it’s because I literally did like a whole weekend of just no sleeping to work on the newspaper deadlines. I had done the Dip Ed and I wanted to prove after my undergraduate degree. Yes I can earn a living from music. It was really important for me to prove that. I actually worked as a teacher, a schoolteacher, for nine years, I think. Now while was teaching, I started my masters in music at the Conservatorium. The whole time I was teaching through that, and then I really stopped teaching, or high school teaching when I got the scholarship to do, full time PhD research.
Steph: I’m sure Tamara: actually knows you quite well, so she would already know the answer to this question, but what instruments do you play?
Terumi: I started off on the piano. We had a family friend who had a piano and I was just, I so very much looked up to the skill that could play the piano. I think it was the one thing that I really wanted as a youngster. So then I started having piano. My mum. It was the happiest day of my mum’s life when she got a second-hand or third hand old piano, and I started having piano lessons from this lovely old lady who refused to take money. My mum would take fruit as a gift each week we had, lessons. So piano is my main instrument. Currently I probably play, a pump organ the most. It’s an instrument that my husband, who’s also a microtonal musician, that, an instrument that he has redesigned, and it plays microtonal scales. But I dabble with whatever I can get my hands on.
Terumi: I’ve got, another side project making, we call them microtonal flutes, but mainly recorders. Yep. The recorders have a bad reputation.
Steph: When played properly. They are beautiful instrument.
Terumi: Yeah. I mean, it’s a wind instrument that, I understand why they’re given to school kids. You can make sound with them.
Tamara: Yeah, you can make a lot of sound with them…
Steph: Depending on how hard you blow and how well you cover the holes, you can make a lot of different notes.
Terumi: Yes, it’s true. Yeah. The idea with that particular project is to try and help, a wind player, get the notes that we want for our microtonal tunings, that I’m more easily than having to adjust their mouth or different fingerings.
Steph: You’re doing your PhD. You have a scholarship for your PhD and you have no barriers on what your PhD can be. With absolutely open scope, how did you come to the project you actually did? What was the name of your…
Terumi: It took me a few years actually, to be honest, to figure out what my thesis was about. I knew I was interested in a particular tuning theorist by the name of Erv Wilson. He’s an American tuning theorist, who I met a few times over the years that I actually, it’s not a good way to do your PhD. I actually spent the first few years doing a little this and a little that. I kept myself busy with little projects without really knowing what my PhD was about. Somehow I managed to convince people who make decisions about whether the I can keep going with my PhD or not that I was writing papers and attending conferences and things like that. This particular theorist is renowned for being, very difficult to understand, unless you know some basic things about how he thinks and how he uses diagrams and things like that.
Terumi: I think this is something in the creative arts. We generally, a PhD student designs opposes their own project as opposed to, coming into their supervisors projects. It does put the responsibility on us to really figure out what we want to research. I knew I wanted to look at this particular, theorist’s work and then I had to find a way into it because his work is very complex, but it’s also extremely broad and how to tackle such an area. It was actually my husband, who is, who we met through microtonal music actually, who also studied with this theorist for over three decades. He suggested that the one area that would probably help tie things together would be a keyboard design. In the title, this generalized keyboard, was, an idea that this theorist pursued over his lifetime. When you start opening up, what’s possible in music, it’s almost opens up too much possibility.
Terumi: How do you figure things out from there? So, if your standard instruments, like the standard piano are no longer, fit the bill, then what do you replace it with? Musicians, composers need other tools to experiment. The generalized keyboard was his solution, a tool for future musicians to be able to use. My research ended up being well, how do you take different tunings, that people invent that we don’t know what they’re going to be exactly yet, but how can we have a almost like a universalized, instrument system that allows people to map all sorts of different notes onto a keyboard.
Steph: Like an electronic keyboard and train it to understand the micronotes that you want to use?
Terumi: No, not necessarily. It’s more about how to structure scales and how to place them onto some instrument. They don’t have to be electronic although that would be the most obvious way to do it with current technology. During the lifetime of this theorist, he passed away a few years ago. It was a constant sort of battle. He almost, he, she had to wait for the technology to develop. Even now though there have been attempts to make this instrument there’s, I’m still waiting for them to be really used as just an everyday tool.
Tamara: How do you gather data for that kind of PhD?
Terumi: My PhD wasn’t really, I don’t want to call it data based. It was theoretical like music theory. Another interesting part of, a lot of creative arts degrees is the possibility of doing creative work as part of your research.
Terumi: I have my submission actually involved a thesis, like a traditional thesis, as well as a portfolio of music. Compositions, some of them were notated scores, recordings of performances. That, is it like, the idea there is that through the creation of your work, you are also learning, or you’re applying some of theories to the work and as you do your creative work, as you compose, it raises these other questions that then feed back into the research. So it’s a cyclical process.
Steph: She ended up with a range of products that came out of your PhD. You had the traditional thesis, but also your compositions demonstrating how this instrument would work. If you could explain to the lay person, why is your research important? Like what is the value that we, that the community gets out of this research project?
Terumi: Sometimes I like to be controversial and I say, the 12 notes that we use to make music on the piano. I think that system’s a bit out of date for a couple of centuries at least, especially in Western music. We shouldn’t forget that in other cultures, they use their own different scales. And, I’m hoping that my research, breaks what musicians might just assume or take for granted are the tools for making music to just break that open and provide new tools and new knowledge for how to make a different music that we haven’t already look to explore new types of, resources for making music.
Steph: People can be creative in all new ways.
Tamara: Does this music come from you’re from the Japanese culture?
Terumi: I’m not sure. I’m in an interesting situation because even though my parents are Japanese, I’ve pretty much lived in Australia for most of my life.
Terumi: I think the Japanese influence is there, I’m not sure specifically how probably others can see it more than I can myself. I think it’s more, maybe more generally an awareness that this is one way amongst many others. I can think of one, early as a university student, we had an early assignment for a subject called ethnomusicology where it’s about the study of, musical cultures, other than Western music. It was a unit on Aboriginal music. We hadn’t been assignment where we had to listen to a song, a recording, and we had to transcribe it into Western notation, I didn’t know at the time, but I remember being really struck by a particular parts of the song, which just didn’t fit in with the notes of the piano I had to figure out, well, how do I notate that? And thinking back now that was [what I was picking up on].
Tamara: How long did it take to do to complete your PhD?
Steph: I know it is a bit of a rude question. How long did it take really?
Terumi: You can probably tell from my cringing and the fact that I confess that it took me a few years, quite a long time, I think it ended up being eight years. I started off full time on the scholarship and then partway through that I got the chance to start teaching at the university. In fact, actually, while I was doing my PhD, I was doing a bit of tutoring, not in music, but in Japanese to earn a bit of money in the summer. Because I taught a lot of Japanese and in high schools up to that point as well. I started teaching music part time, as well as tutoring Japanese part time, as well as doing my PhD part time.
Tamara: That’s not burning the candle at all the ends.
Terumi: So other things happened. My, all my supervisors ended up leaving the university, and it was quite a tough period. Yeah. So it took me a while. What ended up happening is, I was given a new supervisor, not in music. She was a professor in creative writing and she was probably the best thing that could happened for my PhD. Because I needed off, a bit of a kick up the backside to get, put it all together. And it was fantastic. She gave me permission to write in a way that, she encouraged me. She said it doesn’t matter, even if it’s a technical thesis, you need to tell the story. She freed me up I think, instead of trying to be technical and official and proper the whole time, she said, we need to understand the motivation for why you’re researching what you’re researching. You need an introduction at the beginning of this chapter.
Terumi: You can’t just go straight into the technical stuff. She, her name is Professor Cathy Cole. I really, thank her for getting me over the line and teaching me, how to write differently and also, how to supervise other people as well, perhaps.
Steph: It is. It’s really valuable to learn from someone who supervised you well. You’ve talked a lot about what went wrong, or the challenges you had, but what are some of the exciting things that happened during your PhD?
Terumi: I’ve met a lot of, other fellow PhD well students at the time who have gotten to the point where by the end of the PhD, they’re just so sick of their topic and they’re over it. They said never want to see it again. Whereas I love my topic and I, every second day, literally I will be looking at the papers at this particular theorist who I think is, well, I know we use the word genius too often, but he’s mind works in such an incredible way. I’ll be just shaking my head, and this is crazy. How could this be? And this man is a genius that I’ll be saying that every second day.
Steph: And you got the chance to meet him a few times.
Terumi: Yeah. By the time I met him, he was, an older man and he had probably stopped really working in theoretical doing theoretical work at the time by then, but he has left literally thousands and thousands of papers and diagrams and bits and pieces.
Terumi: It would take several people’s lifetimes to really make sense of it all. I loved my topic and I actually still, you’re still in it. Yeah. I feel as though the PhD is a really privileged time where you set a few years for yourself to really work on something that you’re passionate about. And I do think that it’s a privilege to be able to spend that time really obsessing over something that really gets you fired up.
Steph: Obsessing is a good word. And would you do it again.
Terumi: What’d you do in a pitch? Yeah, but would I do a PhD again, if all the, if everything aligned, like you’re not asking for that, do another PhD. No I would definitely do it. Do do. Yeah. Yeah. I I think it’s, I’m glad that I’ve done it and yes, I would do it again. Yeah.
Steph: You brought your work into your PhD and you already got started as a lecturer and teaching during your PhD. The question of, how did you get from your PhD to work is a bit irrelevant. You were already there.
Terumi: Well, I think it involved a lot of luck as well, because I get a lot of students who say, Oh, I want your job. Will getting a PhD get me there? Unfortunately, no. There’s not that many positions to teach in music at tertiary level, at the moment.
Steph: You wouldn’t have your current position unless you had a PhD?
Terumi: Not necessarily. I think there’s a lot of luck and timing involved, but yeah, probably not at this point.
Tamara: Do you still draw on your research skills in your daily role now? Do you think, well I suppose if you are doing your research, but in other parts of your work?
Terumi: Yeah. Research is considered a key part of being an academic. So yes. I’m still working in the area that my PhD research was on
Steph: Reflecting now how would you summarize the experience that you had in your PhD?
Terumi: It was tough. I realized I was living constantly under a cloud of guilt, so, Oh, I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be reading another article or, and the greatest joy I had after finishing my PhD was I could read fiction for fun and not feel guilty. It was tough, but, I’m so glad I did it. The research that I did for my PhD, thesis, the bulk of that actually ended up becoming, a book, a published book. And I’m pleased with it. I’m amazed when I get the occasional emails saying, thank you.
Steph: That’s a big reward for all that work…
Terumi: Yeah, it means that the research that I did has been helpful for some people out there. The book is the kind of book that I wish I had when I was starting my PhD. If it’s helping some other people, I think that’s fantastic.
Steph: Then, your research is having an impact out people out there actually reading it. I do feel with some theses, they never leave the bookshelf and nobody ever opens them except your examiners and maybe your mum.
Terumi: Yeah. It’s sobering when you’re told that while you’re doing your PhD.
Steph: Were you able to, so in addition to the book, did you publish articles?
Terumi: Not so much so because my field it’s new to academia, I think you could, it’s probably still fair to say. In order to publish like a small article, I felt as though we needed the basics, the groundwork set. I’m hoping that the book has done that so that you’re not constantly having to explain things from ground zero.
Terumi: Yeah. I went for the book more than the articles.
Tamara: Do rewrite any of it to become the book hoard. Is it the book is thesis?
Terumi: Yeah, no, I added, a whole really new, really substantial chapter, added a glossary.
Steph: We’ve been asking this question and people are giving quite different answers, but to you, what is a PhD?
Terumi: I think what I was saying before was a PhD is an opportunity to really get stuck into an area that you’re interested in finding out more. There may be, I think, just more generally about research. It’s, it’s a bit like the magic pudding, the more you sink your teeth into it, the more questions arise. The more you find out, the more you want to learn, the more you want to know. It’s like the gift that keeps giving in a way.
Tamara: What do you say to students who ask you about whether or not the PhD is a good idea for them when they’re like graduating from their undergraduate degree? Clearly, that also depends on the student, this didn’t, but if you, if there’s people listening who might be interested to a bit more of a general comment,
Terumi: I think it would depend on the particular individual’s motivation as well. If they think the PhD is just going to lead automatically to a particular kind of job, especially in my area, I would just caution them against that. I think it’s crucial to, for them to be clear about what they want to research.
Steph: You’re not recommending going in with a broad field and nothing else so much.
Terumi: I think the rules are so much, I mean, there was strict when I was doing mine, but, yeah, if you don’t get it done within a particular number of years. But if you, yeah. Find a topic that you think you could really live with and obsess over for a good three years is what I would say to them. Yeah.
Tamara: For students who are finishing school, who have that pressure to make decisions or family pressure to make other decisions, what do you say to those students?
Terumi: Two things, the decisions you make while you’re at school, you might feel at the time, Oh gosh, I’ve got to make sure I’ve chosen the right subjects.
Terumi: I mean, it’s good to keep your options open, but to be honest, I didn’t study music in the final years of high school, I did science and languages. So, but that didn’t stop me. I mean, as an undergraduate, maybe I felt disadvantaged because I hadn’t done, music for the HSC, but that doesn’t matter, you make up for it. It’s not the end of the world. There’s always opportunities for you to change or to pursue new things. I think also generally speaking, it’s good to go for what your passionate about what you’re excited about. As well as what maybe you’re good at.
Tamara: These days are your parents happy with your choices.
Terumi: I think they’ve come to terms with it. I married another musician. At my age, my I’m not expecting you to go back and become, because Tamara knows my mum. She still tells me, Oh, she could have done medicine.
Terumi: She knows that I’m no good with blood. Like. Where is your thesis? These are other than the book. Where is it physically? Where do you keep it? Oh, find my bookshelf next to my desk and I have a copy, in my office. If a student comes in to, Oh, I think you doing honors and I might, I don’t know what to do for my thesis. I just whip out my students on my own thesis and go, this is what this was. Yeah. Yeah, but actually I’m as a book now, it’s a bit different to thesis, but I actually refer to the book sometime, so, Oh yeah. That’s a good question. I’ll look at my index, which took me forever to do, I’m using my own book. It’s a bit of a reference sometimes, which sounds a bit nerdy, but that’s okay. I’ll go back and read some of my things and go, Oh, that was pretty good.
Terumi: When you do that, isn’t it. Ready for our last question? that we have you, so, during their PhD and perhaps during your time in academia, well, we just want you to reflect on maybe some of the myths that you’ve heard that you think might be worth putting a pin in that you would like to address and set the record straight on about what it means to have a PhD or to be an academic. No, it’s got to come out the wrong way. I was going to say, not everyone has a PhD, just because you don’t have a PhD. It doesn’t mean that you are not, see that’s the most political way to say a PhD doesn’t mean that you’re a smart person necessarily,
Tamara: We know what you mean. Yeah. Yeah.
Terumi: Probably a PhD is not for everyone and it’s not the solution to everyone for everyone. If you think a PhD is going to be the solution to your life problems, that’s probably not a good point at which to do a PhD. Having said that though, it’s a fantastic thing to do. Like you really feel like I’ve achieved something. I’ve put my ideas down on paper. Yeah, it’s right here. This is what I do.
Tamara: Here’s some new knowledge and I’m bringing it to the world. Yeah. It’s pretty amazing. Do you think you could have done your thesis in three years? If you had known before you were starting, that you were going to do that topic and that was your starting point, could you have even completed it within three years?
Terumi: I don’t think so. Because it took me, it actually takes time to, you need to live with a topic because, it was an area where it really, there wasn’t a lot of writing. I mean, I had all these papers, but when I say papers, a lot of its diagrams or scripted annotations to the diagrams, there was so people who had knowledge about this were people who had done individual study with theorists one-on-one talking. So there was nothing written. I needed to, first of all, get my head around it. No, I don’t think I could have really,
Tamara: Did he do the three-year thing is a bit of a barrier to that kind of theoretical style of research.
Terumi: I think it is a shame. I mean, I, you hear of other people who have done theses over longer than what I did. I mean, you have to put a box around it
Steph: Yeah, otherwise people would go forever. A creative thesis, which is so theory driven, it’s hard to say I can get this done in three years and to take it to the university and say, I want a scholarship for three years because this can be done in three years. You don’t know that until you’ve started.
Terumi: I mean, some people can, maybe it depends on the size of the project. My project ended up being huge. I realized now that I didn’t have to write quite so many words as I did. Yeah. I think it would have been tough. It’s a shame that we have to deliver things within time. That’s I guess that’s life. Yeah.
Tamara: It does. Well thank you. It’s really good to see across the borders.
Terumi: Yeah. Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.