Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment
MA/PgDip

Part-time study available
Based at MediaCityUK
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment at Salford:

  • Study at our state-of-the-art MediaCityUK campus
  • Develop a highly-innovative approach to creative writing
  • Learn proven techniques for writing success from our team of award-winning authors.

Key Information

Start Dates: September
Duration:

MA (one year full-time or up to three years part-time)
PgDip (eight months full-time or two years part-time)

Course Summary

This is an exciting course which addresses important questions about contemporary literature. During your time with us, you will develop your writing skills in a stimulating and supportive environment, alongside our team of internationally-published poets, novelists and playwrights.

The course will be of particular interest if you are a writer of fiction or poetry, but you will not be required to commit to either form.

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.

Watch our video

MA Creative Writing, Innovation and Experiment Course Leader Dr. Scott Thurston talks about his own areas of research interest within creative writing and literature.

Related Courses

94% of our postgraduates go on to employment and/or further study within 6 months of graduating.

DLHE 2009 and 2010

Course Details

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.

Full-time

Semester 1

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 be writing your own original work in a stimulating and supportive workshop environment and reflecting on how your social, political and gender positioning influences your creative production.

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.

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 annotating students’ material. This workshop provides a context for an on-going creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice.

Study Writing Workshop as a single module.

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

Semester 2

You will explore the rich legacy of experimental writing from the 1950s onwards, learning about its links to theory and trying out your own experiments. You will be encouraged to push the boundaries of your creative practice in an adventurous way. You will also receive training in how to conduct yourself as a professional writer in the academic and cultural worlds.

A series of workshops and seminars, this module explores the history of new writing technologies over the last 50 years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities. Topics covered may include:
  • Technologies of the book
  • Visual, sound and concrete poetry
  • The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing
  • An introduction to new writing technologies including: hypertext, Photoshop, flash and web or CD/DVD
  • The Novel as hypertext and narrative engineering

Study Experimental Practice as a single module.

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

Study Literature in the Academic and Cultural World as a single module.

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.

Semester 3

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.

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

Year 1, Semester 2 (one core module)

  • Experimental Practice (30 credits)

Year 2, Semester 1 (one core module)

  • Writing Workshop (30 Credits)

Year 2, Semester 2 (one core module)

  • Literature in the Academic and Cultural World (30 credits)

Year 3, Semesters 1 and 2 (one core module)

  • Dissertation: Creative Project (60 Credits)

Entry Requirements

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

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

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).

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.

Suitable For

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.

Applicant profile

You will be invited 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.

Teaching

Your own creative activity is the main driver for learning on this course. It is supported by regular workshops, lecture 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.

Assessment

You will be assessed through:

  • Written assignments (creative, critical and reflective) (66%)
  • Final creative project(34%)

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Scott Thurston - Course Leader: MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment

I am a poet and researcher in the area of innovative poetry. I have published over nine books of poetry, most recently Internal Rhyme (Shearsman, 2010). I have published interviews with the poets Allen Fisher, John Wilkinson, Adrian Clarke, Ira Lightman, Maggie O'Sullivan, Ulli Freer and Tony Lopez. I edited The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk and I am currently working on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project to interview the poets Karen MacCormack, Jennifer Moxley, Caroline Bergvall and Andrea Brady.

For more information on my work: Co-editor of the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, Co-organiser of The Other Room, Interviewed at 3am Maintenant, Pages at The Archive of the Now and Poetry recordings at Penn Sound

Employability

The aim of this course is to encourage writers to challenge and develop themselves creatively whilst informing themselves 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.

Career Prospects

Previous graduates have gone onto further study and training and participated in literary culture through organizing literary competitions and publishing creative work in magazines. Two of the 2010-11 cohort are beginning PhDs in Creative Writing in 2011 (at the University of Northumbria and the University of Salford) and one is undertaking an internship at a local small press poetry publisher (The Knives Forks and Spoons Press).

Alumni Profile

Mignotte Mekuria (graduate of the 2010-11 cohort)

‘I knew that I would enjoy the MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment because I was following my heart in studying it. It far exceeded my expectations. It is not merely a place to learn how to write, rather it is an introduction into literature itself. Studying literary theory, sharing and critiquing work in writing workshops and engaging with experimental techniques combined to strengthen my work as a writer and deepen my appreciation of literature as a reader. During the course I also got to meet other writers, attend fascinating seminars and for the first time, became aware of Manchester as a city with a thriving literary scene. The University of Salford is a wonderful and engaging place to study; students and staff are friendly and helpful and the facilities, from training sessions to careers guidance, are all easy to access. I loved the university so much I have stayed on to do my PhD. I encourage anyone with a passion for writing to look into the course, it does not disappoint.’

Links with Industry

The course benefits from a regular programme of visiting writers to the English Subject Group through the ‘Vital Signs’ and ‘Drama Workshops’ series. 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), The Knives Forks and Spoons Press (Alec Newman) and The Other Room poetry series (co-run by James Davies, Tom Jenks and Scott Thurston). 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.

Further Study

Postgraduate research in Creative Writing is co-ordinated by the Creative Writing, Performance and Innovation cluster, headed by Dr Scott Thurston. The Cluster’s key strength is in the practice and study of innovative writing, and its research interests include experimental and literary fiction, young adult fiction, innovative poetry, visual text, scriptwriting, devising and directing for stage, performance, adaptation, autobiography and translation. Find out more

Fees and Funding

Fees 2014-15

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£5,610
Full-time International£11,090

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

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section