I dedicate this thesis to my father, Dr Jack Martin Kirkman, MB, BS (1918-1994). He was an adventurer and autodidact who learnt to drive in a T-Model Ford and to fly in a Tiger Moth, later flying Spitfires as a fighter pilot. He enrolled in medicine as a mature age student and was valued and respected as a general practitioner. With his adventurous spirit, interest in technology, support for social justice, and pursuit of lifelong learning Jack has been an inspiration and role model.
Relationships are complicated and I have some complicated relationships with the people acknowledged here. I first met Christopher Fox when I visited him in his office to ask if he was interested in supervising my candidature. Supervision has been complicated over the five years of candidature yet Chris has been a constant source of support and influence, even during the middle period when he was not an official supervisor. When I needed someone Chris came back on board as an honorary associate supervisor demonstrating dedication and belief in the topic—and me. Thank you; you rock. Thank you to Virginia Dickson-Swift who took on the role of principal supervisor and cheerfully assisted in steering me through to the end with prompt feedback, practical working structures and useful conversations. I appreciate that Amanda Kenny accepted me as a candidate and later connected me with Cindy Masaro, which led to a visit to Canada. Rob Townsend briefly stepped in as supervisor. I am very grateful for the participants who gave their time, stories and insights; and without whom this research would not exist.
Actual and virtual communities have made a huge contribution to my learning and ultimate success in the PhD process. The Health Sciences post-grad lab at La Trobe Bendigo has gone through a few locations and different populations. My initial companion in the dungeon lab was Karen Marshall whose friendship and intelligence was vital for a number of reasons. One of her excellent skills was to listen intently and have useful contributions to make when my ideas were unfocussed, managing to find the point I was struggling to express. In the latest iteration of the post-grad lab (not a dungeon; it has great views of sky) the collegiality and sense of community has been an example of how such things should be. Charon Freebody, Elena Wilson and Diana Guzys gave friendship and willingness to participate in discussions. Twitter has been like an associate supervisor and through the discussions, links to resources, and community culture of #phdchat I have had access to a 24/7 source of support and up-to-date ideas. The #sexgeekdom community, online and in person, has been a source of friendship, current research and fun times. Daniel Reeders has been a great sounding board and source of up-to-date information on matters HIV and STI, theory, and health promotion. Mark Tolley kept me functioning with therapeutic massage and simultaneous thoughtful insights. Caitlin Whiteman tested her new editing skills and did a brilliant and speedy job of editing the manuscript, teaching me new things as she went.
Cindy Masaro generously invited a complete stranger to stay for a month, and shared ideas, support and encouragement, in Canada and via Skype. Joy Johnson gave time, wisdom and generosity in allowing me to visit the Institute for Gender and Health at the University of British Columbia and provided supervision while I was there in August 2012.
My family has been encouraging, supportive and shown belief in me and my work. I am sad that my mother, Yvonne Kirkman, died before the thesis was finished; she was proud of me despite finding the obsession with sex rather embarrassing.
Huge thanks, love and appreciation go to Jim Ettles who manages a very complicated relationship with grace and generosity.
Contributor: Linda Kirkman
Source: Kirkman, L (2015) Doing relationships differently: rural baby boomers negotiate friends-with-benefits relationships, PhD, La Trobe University Melbourne