Creative Writing and Visual Design

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How to Apply

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Creative Writing at Bath Spa is celebrating twenty-three years of excellence in 2015. Here you will join a thriving community of world-class writers and experiment with a wide variety of forms, and, with time, focus on the kind of writing you have come to enjoy most – poetry, fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, journalism – even copywriting and writing for new media.

Why study Creative Writing?

As part of one of the largest and most successful writing departments in the UK and indeed the world, this course is challenging, exciting, and versatile. At Bath Spa University you can expect a professional level of tuition – and we expect a professional level of commitment and achievement from you in return.

Employability is central to the writing programme. Both individually and in groups you will prepare for the writing / creative-industry career of your choice.

To learn more, please write directly to the Subject Leader of Creative Writing Dr Paul Meyer at p.meyer@bathspa.ac.uk. 

Alternatively, please click on the tabs above.

Course structure

Our Creative Writing course has three main components:

  • Your own development as a writer
  • Your awareness of other writing and how your work relates to it
  • Your critical awareness of the markets for creative writing and how you can get your work published or produced

Throughout the course you will be expected to:

  • Write and rewrite your work to become a sensitive and efficient editor of your own work
  • Read extensively, learning how writers do things, so that you can do them yourself
  • Find out how books get published, how films get made, so that your own work is informed and enriched by an awareness of past and current practice

As you move through the programme you push yourself and your work as far as you can, engaging with the world outside the University. Final-year students have (among many other things) promoted a European Fussball championship; run poetry readings; edited and produced student publications and worked on live projects for the Bath Literature Festival.

Modules

Sample modules:

Writers’ Workshop I and II; Poetry; Short Stories; Planning and Making a Film; Feature Journalism; Writing for Theatre; Writing for Young People; Life writing; Fiction Project; Writing for New Media; Digital Publishing.

Course assessment

Assessment is by coursework only. At all three levels, great importance is attached to the process of drafting, redrafting and improving work, in response to workshop discussion and public performance.

As a student you will join a community of practicing writers across the University including Professor Tim Liardet (poet), Ms Lucy English (poet and novelist; Reader in Creative Writing), Dr Steve May (scriptwriter and novelist, Dean of the School of Humanities and Cultural Industries), Professor Gerard Woodward (poet and novelist), Dr Carrie Etter (poet and critic), Ms Julia Green (writer for young people), Ms Celia Brayfield (novelist and journalist), Dr Mimi Thebo (novelist), Ms Katharine Reeve (editor, author and Subject Leader: Publishing), Dr Paul Meyer (novelist and advertising creative director; Subject Leader of Creative Writing) and Mr Steve Voake (writer for young people).

Students will also benefit from the experience of ten Professors of Creative Writing: Naomi Alderman, David Almond, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Tessa Hadley, Philip Hensher, Kate Pullinger and Fay Weldon.

We also host a lively programme of visiting agents, publishers, writers and representatives of the broadcasting industries which are open to and often organised by undergraduate students.

Creative Writing at Bath Spa University will help you develop a number of skills valued highly by employers such as clear communication, language skills, sensitivity to different audiences, the ability to organise your own time and ideas, and project management.

Resources:

The state-of-the-art equipment in our Artswork Broadcast and Publishing labs is at your disposal to help you make your dreams a reality. For those with a technical bent there is also the opportunity to work in our Artswork Media facility at the Paintworks development in Bristol.

 

Teaching methods

Creative Writing is taught through a mixture of workshops, lectures, presentations and tutorials. Workshops offer you the opportunity to read and discuss each other's work in a supportive, informal and informative atmosphere. Lectures are used to introduce techniques and themes in detail. Tutorials provide you with the opportunity to discuss your work with your tutor on a one-to-one basis. Advanced students may also get the chance to work with industry mentors on project work.

We believe that for you to achieve your maximum potential you have to take yourself and your writing seriously, and that the best way to do this is to develop a professional approach. Therefore, wherever appropriate, our modules run to industry standards and adopt industry practices.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please write to Dr Paul Meyer, Subject Leader of Creative Writing, at p.meyer@bathspa.ac.uk, or the Admissions team listed above.

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points. including A- level English Literature, English Language, Theatre Studies or a related subject at grade B.

Candidates are sometimes asked to send samples of creative writing.

 

Career opportunities

Our graduates are communicators. They can talk, they can listen, and they can persuade. They are confident. They can manage projects through from initial idea to successful completion. They can work alone or as part of a team. That’s why recent graduates have found jobs with the BBC, Random House, and other media giants; they’ve gone into  journalism, teaching, social work, marketing: just about any career that requires a good Humanities degree.

External examiner:

“This is where the modules at Bath Spa are exceptional. The programme and module design is geared to the many facets of the industry. From journalism modules to enterprise projects, and modules involving scriptwriting and film making – all of which address industry standards and encourage external networking – the programme seems fully equipped to point students towards employment. Indeed, I saw evidence that student career choices found expression and sometimes advancement in project and course work. The quality and outcomes of the student work emphatically demonstrates that the programme is working well in this respect.” 

Since 2011, employers such as BMW/Mini, Wiltshire Police, Random House, Hot Press Magazine and Clarks have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including English Language Teacher, Music Journalism Intern, Retail Communications Coordinator Associate and Scriptwriter.

 

What students say...

Ivan Matsumoto (2012):

“Bath Spa recognizes the importance of work placements and will do their best to provide support and guidance. Now I feel even more confident that I have the education and relevant work experience to back up my degree.”

Victoria Knowles (2012):

“The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published.”

Ieva Lakute (2012):

"The class workshops helped me assess my own writing from a more professional angle. I learnt how to give and accept criticism, both positive and negative. The lecturers were really encouraging, and regularly informed me of new writing competitions and other opportunities to get my work published."

Rosie Mercer (2010):

“Since graduating I’ve set up my own review site. I now review books, television and audiobooks.”

A course that will develop your visual and graphic design ability and skills.

Why study Graphic Arts?

This course will enable you to express and articulate your ideas and study interests through a confidence in design. You will experience publishing your work in a variety of media (print, web, lens-based) and develop specialist areas of knowledge and ability by the end of the course.

As part of the Creative Arts programme you will select another subject to study alongside Visual Design, and your other subject will no doubt have a strong influence on your choices within the course. Visual Design can complement other routes by giving you the techniques and abilities to confidently express and communicate your ideas in a visual context.

You will choose one of the following subjects to study alongside Visual Design:

Course structure

In Year 1 the subject starts with the basics of design related to typography, image and layout. You will be taken through design principles and become familiar with concepts to help you learn how to layout text and graphics with confidence and knowledge. You’ll be shown how to use industry standard layout software in readiness for creating printed publications, such as magazines and books.

By the middle of the first year you will be introduced to aspects of web design, including developing personalised blog sites. This will allow you to develop research skills and methods of gathering and interpreting information. Your online presence is also increasingly vital way of self-marketing and you will develop this over the period of the course. Online publishing is also a rapidly expanding area with the electronic book and website enabling people to self-publish to the world.

The first year ends with an introduction to creating printed publications, making you aware of how to create books and binding techniques (how books are physically put together). You will have gathered content from research to make a publication of your own.

Year 2 will allow you to study a subject area of your choice related to visual design, for example typography, publications, visual design, lens based media. An emphasis will be placed on design narratives and you will be guided through your projects. In addition you will study how graphic designers work and how theory influences contemporary design.

Year 3 expects you to contextualise your work with increased sophistication. You will have a knowledge of contemporary design and be able to apply it to your own study area with independence. Supported by regular tutorials you will develop a body of work, a portfolio in readiness for a professional career, or self-employment.

Optional professional studies based modules allow you to increase your awareness of professional practice and improve your chances of gaining the career you want upon graduation.

 This subject is part of the Creative Arts programme, so you will select another subject to study with Visual Design.

Course assessment

Continuous assessment (100% course work)

You will benefit from specialist resources to equip you for eventual employment in this fast-moving field.

 

Teaching methods

Lecturing staff have a detailed understanding of the industry, and there is a strong practical element to the course in areas such as  typography, publications, visual design and lens based media. There is also an important emphasis on the support of practice by theory.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For more information please contact Martin Thomas on m.thomas2@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

If studying A Levels: 260 UCAS points from A Levels, including a grade B in an art/design related subject

If studying a BTEC Extended Diploma: Overall Merit grade (Merit Merit Merit)

Art Foundation Diploma:  Merit

If applying for a combination of Art, Textiles, Ceramics and Visual Design, then we would invite you for an interview and ask you to bring a portfolio of creative work with you to support your application.

Career opportunities

Career areas directly related to Visual Design include graphic design, web design, art-worker, publishing, artist, book illustrator. However, combined with your other subject, a wider choice is available allowing you to uniquely position yourself within the jobs market, or develop a successful freelance or self-employed career.

 

% going on to work and/or study for courses in this subject area: 90%