Lily McNaught

Lily McNaught

BA History 2015 (Penryn Campus)

Tell us about the award you have received today. What does this award mean to you?

The award is for my history dissertation, in which I looked at the late British West Indian slave revolts of the 1800s. I was trying to establish whether they can be classified as anti-slavery activity alongside the work of the abolitionist movement in Britain, and whether they were influential to the passage of emancipation. This award means a great deal to me, as I worked hard to ensure that the writing I was producing was relatively original and well researched. I wanted my retelling of this history to evoke at least some of the tumult of the period, particularly in the Caribbean societies, so I was relieved that this seems to have worked! Additionally, I plan to continue to explore one element of my dissertation for my Research Masters next year and recognition like this is assuring that this is probably a good idea.

What has been the highlight of your time at Exeter?

The highlight of my time at Exeter was undoubtedly my term abroad in Mississippi, although I have countless memorable moments from Cornwall too! Living and studying in a completely different cultural environment was equally wonderful and challenging. As someone who has always been interested in American history and particularly race-relations, the deep-south provided a kind of social context to what I was learning and sparked an interest in slavery which I will carry on in my graduate work. 

What will you miss the most about University?

Considering I won’t actually be leaving the area or the University of Exeter, it will definitely be having all of my friends living so close by and their moral support in the library in the lead up to big deadlines! 

What advice would you give to current and future students?

Probably to try to enjoy living in Falmouth as much as possible and definitely take any opportunity to study abroad that you are given. But on an academic level, find something that you are really interested in and invest your time into it from as early in your degree as possible, because third year comes quickly and researching for a dissertation about something you don’t really care about is quite painful. Take advantage of the smallness of the campus to get to know your lecturers and seek their help for your work, as this contact is one of the best aspects of Penryn.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

Relax for a bit! After that, starting in September to continue researching West Indian slave revolts for my Masters and hopefully go on to do a PhD, but focussing instead on North American slavery.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

I have no idea! But hopefully a Doctor of History who’s surfing has improved markedly.