Postgraduate MA/PgDip

Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment

School of Arts and Media

Full-time

Part-time

Attendance

One year

Three year

Course

September 2019

Next enrolment
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Introduction

In a nutshell

Our programme encourages you to develop and work at the edge of new and evolving practices. You will be invited to engage with fundamental issues in the theory of literature, producing original creative writing in prose, poetry, hybrid and experimental forms as you develop your personal practice through critical reflection.

This programme will be of particular interest if you are a writer of prose or poetry, but you will not be required to commit to either form and will have the opportunity to work in other forms if you wish.

You may also be interested in taking individual modules from the course syllabus on a pay-as-you-go basis. This way you could either build up to gaining the full qualification or study for your own enjoyment and/or professional development.

You will:
  • Learn from internationally published and performed award winning writers
  • Understand how to develop a highly-innovative approach to creative writing
  • Be taught in a vibrant location that nurtures your creative development

This is for you if...

1.

You are a humanities graduate or experienced creative writer who is looking to challenge your conceptions of literature

2.

You would like to develop your creative writing in new ways

3.

You would like to gain an introduction to further creative study before progressing on to a PhD

Course details

All about the course

MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment offers you the opportunity to develop your writing and to challenge your creative habits. You will be invited to:

  • Engage with fundamental issues in the theory of literature
  • Produce original creative writing in prose, poetry, hybrid and experimental forms
  • Develop an ongoing personal practice through reflection on creative achievement and speculation on future development.

You will explore the role of theory in creative writing – engaging with fundamental issues that have influenced the development of innovative and experimental writing. You will engage with the rich legacy of experimental writing from the 1950s onwards, learning about its links to theory. You will be encouraged to try out your own experiments and to push the boundaries of your creative practice in an adventurous way.

You will be writing your own original work in a stimulating and supportive workshop environment, continuing to draw on fundamental issues relating to innovative creative writing, and reflecting on how your social, political and gender positioning influences your creative production. You will continue to develop and extend the boundaries of your creative practice and will also receive training in how to conduct yourself as a professional writer in the academic and cultural worlds.

As the culmination of this course of study, you will undertake an ambitious, large-scale independent creative project which will allow you to pursue the creative questions which fascinate you in more detail.

Trimester one

Theory, Text, Writing

A series of lecture and seminars on philosophical contributions to major questions surrounding contemporary writing:

  • What is a literary text?
  • What is the relationship between language and writing?
  • How can one write politically?
  • How does one’s awareness of gender affect writing?

We will be reading the work of Freud, Marx, Derrida and others, examining how a wide variety of contemporary writers have explored these questions in creative practice including Charles Bernstein, Caroline Bergvall, David Eggers, Christine Brooke-Rose and many more.

Choose one of the following two modules.

If you do not wish to continue onto the Postgraduate Diploma or full Master's qualification you can be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate if you leave the course at this stage.

Experimental Practice

A series of workshops and seminars, this module explores the history of new creative techniques over the last 60-70 years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities. Topics covered may include:

  • Conceptual Writing
  • New Narrative
  • Visual, sound and concrete poetry
  • The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing

You can also study Experimental Practice as a standalone single module.

Writing Workshop

You will undertake a series of workshops in which you share your own creative projects with fellow students and a writing tutor. Work will be submitted regularly in advance to the group and the tutor, who will make detailed preparation for the workshops including annotated material. This workshop provides a context for an on-going creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice.

Trimester two

Professional Practice

This module deals with the public and academic aspects of the literary arts, including topics such as:

  • The public value of the arts
  • Marketing, publishing and networking
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Effective oral presentations

Choose one of the following two modules.

If you do not wish to continue onto the dissertation project you can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma if leaving the course at this stage.

Writing Workshop

You will undertake a series of workshops in which you share your own creative projects with fellow students and a writing tutor. Work will be submitted regularly in advance to the group and the tutor, who will make detailed preparation for the workshops including annotated material. This workshop provides a context for an on-going creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice.

Experimental Practice

A series of workshops and seminars, this module explores the history of new creative techniques over the last 60-70 years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities. Topics covered may include:

  • Conceptual Writing
  • New Narrative
  • Visual, sound and concrete poetry
  • The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing

You can also study Experimental Practice as a standalone single module.

Trimester three

Dissertation: Creative Project

The Creative Project gives you regular one-to-one tutorial support as your pursue your creative vision. You will be encouraged to draw on your knowledge of theory, experimentation and your own developing practice. Reading material will be negotiated on an individual basis depending on your chosen area.

Part-time study

Year one, trimester one

  • Theory Text Writing (30 credits)

Year one, trimester two

  • Experimental Practice (30 credits) or Writing Workshop (30 credits)

Year two, trimester one

  • Writing Workshop (30 Credits) or Experimental Practice (30 Credits)

Year two, trimester two

Professional Practice (30 credits)

Year two, trimester three

Final Project (60 Credits)

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

66%

Written assignments

34%

Final creative project

Your own creative activity is the main driver for learning on this course. It is supported by regular workshops, lectures and seminars, personal tutorials, masterclasses with visiting writers and other activities such as event attendance.

Students on the full-time and part-time routes will study together and have additional opportunities to share and discuss work via the university’s virtual learning environment.

You will be assessed through, written assignments (creative, critical and reflective) and a final creative project.

School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.

Staff Profile

“I work in experimental and innovative auto/biographical practices, ranging from historical narratives to digitally fabricated artefacts. My most recent work in this area is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, ‘In the Making’, exploring embodiment, disability and 3D printing: http://www.inthemaking.org.uk/. Initial findings appear in an essay for the international journal, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies. Beyond this, I am writing a book on the uncanny qualities of digital fabrication, entitled Making Strange, and students will be invited to engage with my research on this during the Theory, Text, Writing module on the MA. In addition, I publish widely on auto-biographical practice and the pedagogy of writing with presses including Palgrave Macmillan.

Recent achievements for my creative work include: First Prize in the Unbound Press Creative Non-Fiction Competition; short-listed for the Kingston University Press Short Biography Prize; and shortlisted for the Biographers' Club Tony Lothian Prize for an uncommissioned biography."

DR URSULA HURLEY, SENIOR LECTURER AND MODULE LEADER

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

On this course, we're here to encourage you to challenge and develop yourself creatively as a writer whilst informing you about the contexts and techniques of contemporary literature. Graduates may use it as part of their career development in teaching, publishing or journalism or as a means of access to doctoral study.

Previous graduates have gone onto further study and training and participated in literary culture through organising literary competitions and publishing creative work. Recent successes include:

  • Nia Davies’ first full-length poetry collection with high-profile publisher Bloodaxe Books 
  • Nigel Wood and Joanne Langton co-editing The Dark Would anthology of Language Art with Phil Davenport
  • Leanne Bridgewater’s work as a librarian in Coventry and publication of her first full-length collection with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press
  • Richard Barrett as widely-published poet and editor of Happy Books
  • Stephen Emmerson as a well-published poet with work from the if p then q press and co-editor of the magazine and small press BLART books
  • Jazmine Linklater’s first collection for Dock Road Press
  • Joanne Langton’s work as editor with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and current post teaching English in Mexico (she also published her first collection with KFS)

All of these writers performed at The Other Room poetry reading series in Manchester (2008-2018)

Career Links

The course benefits from a programme of visiting writers to the English Subject Group. In addition, at least two workshops per academic year are convened by key figures in innovative writing. Past visitors have included: Robert Sheppard, Phil Davenport, Allen Fisher, Camille Martin, Carrie Etter, Philip Kuhn and Tony Trehy. These events create opportunities for local, national and international networking.

Other local links include the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester, which hosts an annual showcase of our students’ work; Bury Art Gallery’s Text Festival (curated by Tony Trehy); Community Interest Group arthur+martha (directed by Phil Davenport and Lois Blackburn), Carcanet Press, Erbacce Press (editorial directors include Ursula Hurley), The Knives Forks and Spoons Press (Alec Newman) and The Other Room online poetry archive (co-run by James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston). In addition, Dr Ursula Hurley is on the board for the Journal of Short Fiction in Theory and Practice.

These links benefit students through creating opportunities to engage with the latest contemporary practices, to network with established writers, to perform and publish their work and to learn about teaching and publishing creative writing.

Requirements

What you need to know

The course is for humanities graduates and/or experienced creative writers who are looking to challenge their conceptions of literature and develop their own practice in new ways. The course will also function as an introduction to further creative study at PhD level.

You will be encouraged to be open to new ways of thinking and to be flexible about experimenting in your creative work. At the same time you will also have considerable freedom to identify and develop your own writing projects.

You will also be invited to reflect on your creative achievements in order to understand your practice more fully, to present it to others (e.g. writers, audiences, publishers, agents) and to identify areas for future exploration

You may be asked to attend an interview for a place on this course. You should bring an appropriate portfolio of work, clearly demonstrating an established creative practice. A portfolio should contain work that shows a good range of skills, some originality and knowledge of literature.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.5 band score (with no element below 5.5) as proof of this.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

Applicants to this course must have a good honours degree (2.1) in an appropriate subject.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £7,776per year
Part-time 2019/20 £1,296 per 30 credit module
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND BURSARIES

For more information please see our funding section

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Enrolment dates

September 2019

September 2020