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Seven questions with... Ethan Doyle White

30 October 2014

This week we put seven questions to Ethan Doyle White, PhD student, Archaeology.

Why did you choose UCL?

Ethan Doyle White

It's a combination of three factors. First, UCL is a world-renowned institution, and as part of England's ‘golden triangle’, it is certainly one of the UK's best universities. That reputation counts for something!

Second, I received both my undergraduate and master's degrees from the Institute of Archaeology, which is easily one of the world's foremost archaeology departments, so it was no surprise that I wanted to continue my doctoral research there.

And third, it's in the great metropolis of London - granted, big cities aren't for everyone - but I love it.

What is the most interesting thing you've done, seen, or got involved with whilst at UCL?

It's a bit of an academic cliché, but I've taken part in a lot of fascinating conferences during my time here. Last October, we had a pioneering event on ‘Archaeology and the Uncanny’, which was really good.

Off the back of that, the Petrie Museum have invited me to give a lecture on archaeology and occultism in Kenneth Anger's cult film Lucifer Rising, which is scheduled to take place in early November.

Where is your favourite place on campus?

It has to be the Institute of Archaeology – it might not be the prettiest part of the university but after five years knocking about the place it has really come to feel like home.

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London?

A lot of students will only really know about things in central and inner London, but I'd really recommend getting out there and seeing the outer boroughs. Green spaces like Epping Forest are well worth a visit and can provide a welcome respite from the concrete jungle.

If you head to south east London, where I'm from, you have the Horniman Museum – easily one of the best museums in London; it has a fascinating ethnographic collection and, given that entry is free, I couldn't recommend it enough.

Heading a little further out in that direction, you have the Red House, where I volunteer now and again – if you're interested in Victorian Britain, William Morris or the arts and crafts movement, then it's a must-see.

If you were to switch departments or courses at UCL, what would you study and why?

Well, archaeology intersects with history and anthropology in a multitude of different ways, so I'd probably wind up in one of those two departments. My primary thematic interest is in ritual, religion, magic and beliefs pertaining to the preternatural, so I'd likely be doing something based on that.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

They say, “don't meet your idols as you'll only be disappointed”... although I think that Dolly Parton would be the exception.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

During my first year of undergraduate studies, I created and directed a short experimental film which was screened at the London Underground Film Festival. I don't really have any time for film-making anymore though!