Antonia Wimbush, first-year PhD student in French Studies, has recently undertaken fieldwork in Martinique in the French Caribbean.
Funded by the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, Antonia undertook original research for her thesis on exile and immigration in Francophone women’s autobiographical writing. She was based at the Bibiothèque Schoelcher and Archives Départementales in Fort-de-France, where she found useful statistics, articles and books about BUMIDOM, the state-run immigration scheme between the French Caribbean and metropolitan France. Antonia will draw on this original information in her thesis chapter on exile and migration from the Francophone Caribbean in Gisèle Pineau’s L’Exil selon Julia.
In addition to gaining essential research and archival skills, she was introduced to other aspects of academia, such as impact and dissemination. Antonia actively participated in supervisor Dr Louise Hardwick’s impact events on Martinican author Joseph Zobel which had been organised to commemorate the centenary of his birth. She spoke to school pupils, teachers, archivists and museum curators about Zobel’s literary legacy and his migration to metropolitan France. It was a unique opportunity to participate in local festivities for the “Year of Zobel” in Martinique and discover more about Francophone Caribbean literature and culture.