Postgraduate study
English & Creative Writing

MA Creative Writing and Wellbeing*

Are you interested in the ways that creative writing can be used as a tool for wellbeing? Perhaps you already work with creative writing in this context or maybe you’d like to find out more about this growing field of practice and research? You may be employed in education, youth work, health and social care or as a counsellor or therapist or you may simply be interested in exploring the role of writing in your own life and self-development.

Course information

Part-time

  • 1 year

More part-time details

2018 entry

  • ODL with one week face-to-face study at our Darlington campus
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information

 

This unique course explores the meeting points between writing, identity, health, wellbeing and personal and professional development. You will gain knowledge and understanding of the theoretical, critical and practical frameworks for using creative and reflective writing for greater wellbeing in a range of settings and in your own life. Alongside developing your own creative writing skills, you will think through the particular challenges and ethical concerns around creating safe spaces in which people can explore their writing.

Tutors are practising creative writers and experienced researcher-practitioners of writing in wellbeing contexts, who are pioneering this field of knowledge.

The emphasis is on developing both practical writing techniques and facilitation skills, whilst gaining an understanding of your own work and practice within a critical context and framework.

The course consists of four 30-credit taught modules, three are delivered online. Writing and Groups is a week-long intensive group learning experience where you will gain hands-on experience of what it means to be a member of a writing group and how to facilitate writing groups in a range of settings and for a number of different aims.

The Creative Writing and Wellbeing Project is an opportunity for you to create a final portfolio of your creative and critical writing, or a piece of action research in writing and wellbeing (subject to ethical approval).

Each module offers you opportunities to experiment and develop your interests, whether these are in prose fiction, poetry, creative life writing, or in using writing to work with people in personal and professional development and healthcare settings.

The course is designed to be flexible and highly accessible so that you can study alongside your work and commitments. It makes active use of our leading online learning framework and materials in creative writing, developed through our popular MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning), which recruits students from around the world.

Where you study

Online Distance Learning, plus a module delivered over five successive days, based at our Darlington campus.

Course structure

Core modules

Foundations of Writing and Wellbeing

What does it mean to be well? When and how might writing interact with our wellbeing, and what are the ethical implications of using writing in pursuit of wellbeing (our own and that of others)? This introductory module invites you to reflect critically upon these questions as you simultaneously develop your own writing. You will begin to frame your creative practice in a wider theoretical context, and consider some practical ways in which you might use writing with others—including the ethics of this. The module will help you to recognise yourself as a writer-researcher-practitioner. You will also be introduced to some of the many ways in which writing has been historically understood in relation to wellbeing; spanning the literary arts, philosophy, psychology and the health sciences. This will take you on a journey from Aristotle’s concept of ‘katharsis’, through to Freud’s notion of creative writing as ‘phantasy’, all the way to current conceptions of how we ‘flourish’ as individuals and societies. You will be encouraged to: experiment with your own writing, both creatively and reflexively in a journal; begin to engage with critical theory in the field; and finally consider the practicalities and ethics of facilitating writing with others, in various contexts and settings.

The Creative Writing and Wellbeing Project

This project draws together the learning and development you have gained throughout the course. You complete this independent research project under the supervision of your tutor. With regular guidance and support you develop an initial project proposal outlining your key aims and objectives, and work this into either: a final portfolio of creative writing (in any form or genre), of publishable standard plus accompanying reflective and critical analysis of your work; or a piece of action research. This forms your final submission for the master’s award.

Writing and Groups

How do we create effective, safe and inclusive writing groups? What are some useful models for facilitating and supporting the various processes inherent to these groups? What challenges might we face in constructing writing groups across diverse contexts? This module comprises daily workshops over five days at our Darlington campus. You will gain practical experience of being in a writing group and practice a range of skills and approaches to writing group facilitation. You will become familiar with a range of useful models for best practice when setting up groups in various contexts, for example with children, older people, or in healthcare and therapeutic settings where appropriate and ethical. We will critically discuss some of the many types of writing prompts and exercises we may wish to use in these contexts, looking at some key textual extracts to encourage reflection. At the end of the week you will be supported in using the skills and knowledge you have gained to lead a short writing session for your peers, with opportunities to receive essential feedback in a safe and supportive environment.

Writing and the Self

This module explores the connections between creativity, writing and the self. You reflect on the idea of the self in the writing process and use key ideas and theories drawn from literary autobiography, life writing, narrative theory and the psychology of creativity to develop your work and process. This module enables you to let go of any unhelpful self-concepts about yourself as a writer that may be getting in the way of you producing imaginative work. Ideas explored in this module often help people overcome blocks, access greater fluidity and flexibility in their writing, develop imaginatively and creatively, and rediscover the sheer pleasure of the writing process. You explore approaches such as writing the body, fictionalising from self-experience, objectifying and shaping the stories of our lives on the page and exploring personal metaphor. Concepts such as personal truth, inner dialogue and helpful distance allow you to deepen your writing and gain a clearer sense of what it feels like to be the writer you need to be.

Writing Specialisms

In this module you learn more about your chosen area of interest in terms of form, genre and audience. Working with a tutor who is a practising writer in your chosen area, you gain in-depth knowledge of the techniques and approaches needed to develop your skills. You select ONE from:

(i) Poetry for Publishing and Performance
(ii) Forming Fictions
(iii) Writing into Dramatic Space
(iv) Active Screenwriting

 

Modules offered may vary.

Where you study

Online Distance Learning, plus a module delivered over five successive days, based at our Darlington campus.

How you learn

The course is taught by distance learning. There is no requirement to attend classes at a set time, except for Writing and Groups which is delivered face-to-face at our Darlington campus over five days with supporting online materials.

Each taught module comprises eight weekly units. Each unit will usually consist of:

  • a short introductory video, in which your tutor introduces the week’s key themes
  • writing prompts and exercises
  • supporting materials, reading questions and suggestions for further reading and research to discuss in the discussion forum
  • a dedicated private space to workshop your ideas and writing-in-progress with the tutor and fellow students.

You will also receive help, support and feedback on your work directly from the tutor, both through the online course space and by email.

You don't need to be a technology expert to take this course. All you need is a PC, laptop or tablet to access the course materials and forum and share your writing with the tutors and your peers.

How you are assessed

Each taught 30-credit module is assessed against clear learning outcomes through written assignments, usually consisting of both creative work and some critical or reflective work. Writing and Groups also includes assessment of your facilitation of a short writing session for your peers in a supportive environment. In addition to the taught modules, you produce a final project (60-credits) in your chosen form and genre.

Career opportunities

Graduates of the MA (Distance Learning) in Creative Writing and Wellbeing may already be working in a number of helping professions where they could apply their new skills, eg health and social care, education, youth work, counselling or psychotherapy; or may go on to consider further training in these areas.

You may go on to develop your careers in the broad area of arts and health, medical humanities and/or professional writing, including further study or research to PhD level. Alternatively, this course may enrich your own personal and professional skills.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree in a related discipline.

You must submit a portfolio of your creative writing of up to and no more than 2,000 words in any one or two forms or genres, for example poetry, prose fiction, life writing, screen writing. Additionally, you must submit a short reflection on your interest in the links between creative writing and wellbeing of no more than 500 words. Please include this portfolio in your online application.

Applicants will be asked to participate in a short interview over Skype or in person at our Middlesbrough campus, depending upon where they are located, and personal circumstances.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

* Subject to University approval

Course information

Part-time

  • 1 year

More part-time details

2018 entry

  • ODL with one week face-to-face study at our Darlington campus
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information