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Out of our minds: Exploring attitudes to creative writing relating to art and design practice and personal identity

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This research project, now at the end of its third and evaluative year, primarily seeks to support Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) art and design students' critical/reflective awareness and literacy skills through creative writing as relating to multidisciplinary art and design practices, and offers help to develop confidence and greater ownership of learning and participation in dynamic group activities. Through the undertaking of activities, learners explore the relationship between words and pictures and consider the intersections and boundaries where these art forms cross and meet. As a trained teacher, author/illustrator and performance poet who extends his identity into the classroom as part of his pedagogy (Connoisseurship and Criticism. Eisner, 1998), the author encourages learners and peers to also express individual and collective identities through innovative uses of images and words. An extracurricular writing group attended by FE, HE, Postgraduate and Access learners and staff has provided greater opportunity to explore many areas of writing relating to art and design practice to enhance and improve independent learning and communication within the university culture and without it, feeding into the secondary school 1419 agenda, thereby addressing strategic Widening Participation targets. The results: a 50-session teaching pack written and delivered; papers presented at the 2008 University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Teaching and Learning conference, London; Learning and Skills Research Network (LSRN) conference, London 2008; 1419 Agenda Seminar, Kings College University, London; HE Academy Annual conference, Manchester, 2009. Learners, having found greater identity within a community (Communities of Practice, Lave and Wenger, 1998), continue to work with the author in co-facilitation roles to disseminate its findings into the wider educational community, and its challenging impact has led to the embedding of creative thinking and writing into FE, Access and BA (hons) Graphic Communication Courses at UCA, Kent and Surrey. The project has now entered the final phase of evaluation.

Keywords: creative writing; empowerment; personal identity; reflective practice; sketchbooks; storytelling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University for the Creative Arts.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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