Thomas Debaere, BA (Hons) History
The best thing about studying History at Derby
It is hard to pick a highlight because I’ve enjoyed every minute of my three years at university. I would say that the Public History Conference at the end of the second year is up there though. We were all able to present a piece of work that we had put a lot of time and effort into in front of an audience and the whole experience was very rewarding. We were able to do something similar with our final year Independent Studies and that was just as good.
The support I received from the lecturing staff was second to none. I was able to contact anyone on the teaching team at almost any time, they were always there to talk with you be it academic or personal. I made regular appearances at their offices to ask questions about my work.
You are assigned a personal tutor who is usually your first port of call however it’s made clear that they are all there for you. Having spoken to friends who have studied at other universities it’s not something I took for granted.
I was the assistant regional editor for the History West Midlands magazine working with Derby’s Professor Paul Elliott. I co-wrote a couple of articles with him and then also my own one about First World War remembrance in Derbyshire. These were all featured on the magazine's web site. The highlight of my time as assistant regional editor was covering the opening of the Joseph Wright exhibition at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
Alongside studying for my degree I have also been heavily involved with my band ‘Counting Days’. At the end of last year we were given the chance to sign a record contract with a large European label that have mainly focussed on blues music but are looking to step into the metal market, which is what we play.
They were understanding enough to let me finish my degree before asking much of us but as soon as I had finished we travelled out of Sweden for four weeks to record an album and we have also been playing some shows in various places.
Our album will come out towards the end of the year with a handful of singles and music videos leading up to it. It doesn’t necessarily have to conflict with my academic ambitions, as Dr Larsen reminded me: Brian May studied for his PhD while touring with Queen!
My next step
I have several potential paths to pursue. Academically I would love to study further and complete a PhD one day. I would also like to get my Independent Study turned into a journal article and these are both things that the history teaching team are helping me with.
Long-term career wise I would like to work in a museum. While at the University of Derby I was given opportunities to volunteer at the local museum which opened my eyes to this and gave me great experience. I am also going to carry on playing music and see where I can go with that...