Creative Writing for Academics workshop
Volha and I have just returned from a workshop led by Kip Jones of Bournemouth University entitled ‘Creative writing for academics’. It was a two day workshop, and to be honest, I was not really sure what to expect. We had been asked to take an article we had written that included interview data, and to note down any dreams we had. I think on reflection the overarching idea of the workshop was to get us thinking and writing in different and perhaps unexpected ways.
The first task was to write our life story on a postcard in 15 minutes. We then had to read these out to the group and they served as a form of introduction. It was certainly different from the usual tell everyone your name, what you do and where you’re from sort of thing, although admittedly it took a couple of hours to introduce ourselves. I think what struck me most about this exercise was the honesty and vulnerability (considering we were a group of complete strangers) with which people wrote their life stories. A couple of people were in tears while reading theirs. It was certainly the most unusual introductory session I have ever been involved in.
We then moved on to writing tag lines (a bit like a slogan e.g. ‘Nike – just do it’ sort of thing) and log lines (25 word max. publicity synopsis) of our articles. This was followed by a 500 word summary in an online magazine style. Personally, I found these the most useful exercises of the weekend.The second day was spent (about equally) between writing stories based on a photo we were given, and socialising and eating at the local Italian!
Our homework for the second day was to write a poem based on one of our dreams. Volha shared hers with the group and she’s given me permission to reproduce it here as it is a very PhD-centred dream. She even has a photo of the robot that inspired the dream, a robot she had to share a room with one night.
“Who are you?” I asked the thing