Congratulations! Molly becomes Dr Corlett

Thursday 28 May 2020


Congratulations are in order for Assistant Analyst Molly Corlett, as this week after three years of hard work, she passed her PhD viva with flying colours. Let's raise a glass to Dr Corlett!

Assistant Analyst Molly Corlett joined Crest as an intern in February just a few weeks before the pandemic took hold and the UK lockdown was enforced. Before joining us, Molly had spent three years studying for her PhD at King's College London. Her thesis, entitled "'The story of the neighbours’: local relations, storytelling and the social organisation of power in north-east England, 1730-1815”, uses witness testimony, letters and reports to analyse social relations in the 18th century. Having completed her thesis a week before starting at Crest, Molly still faced the final hurdle of any PhD – the viva.


A viva, or viva voce (which literally means “living voice”) is an oral examination where a candidate defends their thesis in front of experts in the field. Since the lockdown, vivas have been held remotely rather than face-to-face — with potential interruptions from pets, children and poor wifi connections. However, Molly’s viva went smoothly and she passed with flying colours. We want to wish her a huge congratulations for completing her PhD and also for preparing for her viva while working a demanding full-time role (from home!) with Crest.


One of Molly’s supervisors and Professor of Early Modern History at KCL, Laura Gowing, had this to say about supervising Molly:


“Supervising PhDs is always an exciting adventure. Molly’s work is based on incredibly rich sources, full of stories that she used to find out how people talked about neighbourhood, charity, and power – so lots of the time we were asking Then what? No really? What happened next? And most of all, why?


PhDs are also long journeys, and Molly’s took lots of turns because she kept having new ideas about how to read this material, using tools like anthropology and literary criticism as well as different historical theories, and the kinds of questions she wanted to ask. So really her supervisors were companions on the road, we felt. It’s been fascinating seeing how the road eventually led to the different, complementary kind of research that she’s doing now.”

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