A whole dissertation on whether unicorns exist? Should have looked at this irrefutable evidence first. Photograph: Carlo Ferraro/EPA A few months ago I found myself sitting naked in a bath tub, being bathed by a man twice my age.
Afterwards he dried me, wrapped me in a dressing gown, and fed me white chocolate and tangerines. I'm not part of a fetish scene, I'm not in a care home – I put myself through all this for my dissertation. I'm in the final year of my English and drama course at the University of Leeds.
Like everyone else in my year, I spent several months staring at the ceiling, trying to come up with a topic for my dissertation This dissertation investigates the relationship between acting and dramaturgy. Many plays with adult themes involve a child character in order to help present .
You need to come up with something that's original enough to demonstrate your creativity, while still providing enough material for a serious academic analysis.
After three years of books, sweat and tears, you don't want to screw it up. In the end, I chose to write about "intimate theatre", a concept my bath buddy, a performance artist called Adrian Howells, takes pretty seriously – here he is explaining what he does on YouTube. It might seem like a niche topic, but after a few millennia of human civilization, it's getting harder to come up with something new to write about.
Here are a few other former students on their wacky dissertations:Rachael Patterson, 21Subject: PhilosophyDissertation title: The Possibility of Unicorns: Kripke v DummettWhat it's about: Whether or not the existence of unicorns is metaphysically possible A 5 page paper on the performing arts and the impacting role that they play in our everyday lives. Performing arts are regarded as the motivation which brings .
It analyses the arguments of the philosophers Saul Kripke and Michael Dummet and tries to find a winner. Neither of them really think that unicorns actually exist, but Dummett reckons they could – in another possible world.
The best quote: "There is a chance that we are mistaken: there may be unicorns. Furthermore, we can consider a world different to our own in some way, in which unicorns do exist. They are not a biological or metaphysical impossibility in this sense, and the images and descriptions we currently affix to the term 'unicorn' help us to imagine the possibility of such creatures existing in a different possible world.
"Grade: 2:1Subject: Chinese (Oriental studies)Dissertation title: Representin' the Dirty North: The Indigenisation of Rap Music and Hip-hop Culture in BeijingWhat it's about: I argued that, although hip-hop has no roots in Chinese society and history, the hybridised form of hip-hop created through indigenisation can be defined as true to the global hip-hop musical genre.
The best quote: "A Chinese boy with dreadlocks and a necklace with a large dollar-sign pendant is comparing his 'bling' jewellery with a shorter, solemn-looking boy wearing a Yankees cap and a baggy T-shirt 10 Oct 2012 - Stuck for a topic? How about acid house economics, bathing with a stranger, or the metaphysics of unicorns?.
He tells me he is a biochemistry student at Beijing University and visits the 'Dirty South' night in club Vics every Tuesday. In strained English he replies, 'Cos I'm a gangster'.
"Grade: 2:1Does your dissertation topic push the boundaries of academia? Do you know anyone writing about something weirder than unicorns? OUP promo trail Photograph: Guardian Topics