In the early stages of a PhD, cycles of reading, learning, questioning, and redefining have to happen in order to turn abstract ideas, desires, aspirations, aims into something workable and concrete. You have to work through the boundaries and constraints while you are still in the process of opening your mind up to the possibilities.
I can point to a pivotal moment in the process where tentative aspirations moved from abstract ideas to concrete plans. This moment came when a member of the Wellcome Library team suggested I contacted Jerome Carson to talk about my ideas. I had come across some of Jerome's edited books and articles which contained personal narratives of lived experience themed around recovery so I was excited to meet him to gain feedback on whether there was mileage in developing an archive around lived experience in mental health. I met Jerome and he was encouraging and enthusiastic. Not only that but he was immediately pragmatic in his response and offered to introduce me to four potential participants - Dolly, Stuart, Andrew and Peter who all showed interest in being involved. It was those introductions, made by Jerome, that turned the idea into a reality.