Creative Writing and Publishing

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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.”

‘Students have the opportunity to undertake a deep analysis of industry and to emerge with not only practical understanding of the current requirements but an ability to consider likely future developments. They emerge as highly employable.’

External Examiner, 2015

This is a practical course developing student's creative making skills and critical judgment of publications (books, magazines, ebooks, websites, and Apps)

  • BSU student magazine, MILK run by Publishing students
  • Publishing Lab with the latest professional facilities including two Mac suites with latest industry software and equipment
  • Students work on live industry projects 
  • Paid graduate publishing internships at companies such as Parragon Books

Why study Publishing?

'Publishing modules complemented my literature qualification. The staff have been supportive and friendly; I am confident that the skills and industry knowledge that the Publishing course has given me will be invaluable.'

Rosie Maynard, 2015 English Literature and Publishing graduate

Publishing (print and digital) taken as part of a Combined Award adds a practical dimension to your study at university and will give you the edge when applying for jobs in terms of practical industry experience and a stunning portfolio of varied work. Our students are the content creators and shapers of a digital future where handmade is important too.

Publishing is one of the UK’s largest creative industries and is in the process of adapting its creative strategy and business models to the challenges and opportunities that digital technology brings. Students learn core skills (e.g. copywriting and editing) and importantly, a wide range of practical digital making skills. Through work on live projects and collaborations, students gain work experience, confidence and a strategic approach to their work. Students don't spend their time glued to a screen, we work in sketchbooks, make physical prototypes, get out and meet people who we might want to work with.

The publishing industry needs people who can think creatively across a range of media, platforms, and markets to develop and promote innovative and engaging content. Publishing students carried out the R&D and branding for a new Bath Spa University magazine, Milk, and launched it as a digital magazine in 2012. Other ventures planned for next year include a commission from TEDxYouthBath for our Social Media Experiment project developed for the international digital think-tank X Media Lab. We work with international and local clients such as X Media Lab, the National Trust and Bath Film Festival. 

Students carry out work experience, and often freelance work, during their course and we support them in that. Our lecturers are all experienced publishers and continue to practice, putting them in an excellent position to help graduates with networking opportunities and in their early careers. We also offer 6 paid graduate publishing internships at Parragon Books.

 

 

Course structure

All students take a 40-credit core publishing module in each of the three years. These teach the essentials of contemporary publishing: writing concise copy and developing effective content; creating professional blogs, websites, and integrated social media; text editing and communicating brand identity; researching and developing an ebook or iPhone app and presenting the results. You will learn layout and image manipulation using industry-standard software, and compile a wide-ranging portfolio of your work ready for interviews.

Additional modules offer the chance to specialise and deepen your knowledge and skill base, and to work on larger personal projects.

Students take part in a variety of live projects with outside organisations and run the new BSU student magazine, Milk. You will be able to further your personal interests through specialist projects and industry briefs. There are also opportunities to develop your skills in photography, design and layout, App creation, and in video interviewing to create multimedia content. We offer the innovative Digital Natives course for all students to develop their digital making and publishing skills.

NOTE: This is part of a Combined Award so you will need to study another subject to study with Publishing.

 

Publishing BA Routes

You can opt to take Publishing as a Major, Joint or Minor subject within a Combined Award (though you will start in Year 1 studying both your subjects in equal depth).

  • Minor: You will take the core course only
  • Joint: You will take the core course with one additional 20-credit module in each of the three years
  • Major: You will take the core course with one additional 40-credit publishing module in each of the three years (please note - one 40-credit module can be replaced with two 20-credit publishing modules)

Modules

Year 1
  • Introduction to Publishing: Copywriting and text editing (40 credits)*
  • Digital Natives (20 credits)
  • Understanding Media Communications (40 credits)
Year 2
  • Contemporary Publishing: The Business of Publishing (40 credits)*
  • Editorial: New Product Development (40 credits)
  • Writing for New Media (20 credits)
  • Feature Journalism (20 credits)
Year 3
  • Digital Publishing (40 credits)*
  • Professional Writing (20 credits)
  • Food Writing and Editing (20 credits)
  • Literary Journal (20 credits)
  • Creative Enterprise Project (40 credits)

* Core module.

Course assessment

Students are assessed by coursework.

Assessment is mainly through the creation, over the year, of professional-standard portfolios of varied work to briefs set by your tutors or industry collaborators, and personal project work. There are regular points in the year when students have to prepare their work in progress for presentation to the tutor for feedback.

There is also an element of writing reflective commentaries and sharing your work through short, informal presentations.

‘Publishing modules at BSU offer an unequalled range of employability initiatives at undergraduate level, through engaged and structured industry contact through delivery … the strong emphasis on a curriculum that is relevant to the workplace offers a vibrant and stimulating learning experience for students.’

‘There are very high levels of engagement and availability from the teaching staff… staff are extremely generous in sharing their contacts and projects.’

External Examiner, 2015

Publishing involves conceptualising, shaping and producing content for books and magazines (print and digital); multimedia websites and mobile apps; ebooks, and social media. It also centres on communication and collaboration. This is an exciting time to get involved in publishing as digital technology is changing things fast offering opportunities to those combine digital skills with creative ability. This innovative course will add a practical dimension to your study at university, and you can opt to take Publishing as a Major, Joint or Minor subject within a Combined Award

We want to help you find out what it is you are especially good at - and then help you find a way to get even better at it. For some this might mean focusing on fashion or sport in various projects, researching the subject broadly and deeply to develop specialist knowledge, for others it might involve researching user-experience in Apps. It also means building relevant work experience into your third-year project work, giving you an opportunity to showcase your talent for a particular area of publishing.

We have industry standard facilities in our two Publishing Labs with full Mac suite and the latest software. We have iPads and phones, ebook readers and digital cameras available for student use. Our expert, dedicated Lab staff offer software training at all levels, so that all students emerge with a full range of practical making skills, enabling you to realise your creative potential.

 

Teaching methods

External academic adviser, 2011:

'The learning resources on offer to the students are both impressive and varied. The expertise in training around the digital side of the publishing industry is particularly noteworthy.'

You will learn through a series of mini-lectures, practical workshops, software training, tutor-guided independent and group project work. This will mainly be carried out in the Publishing Lab where the facilities include two Mac suites with full industry software, and a range of digital devices such as camera equipment, iPads, iPhones, and Kindles. We also run industry skills tests (introductory and intermediate levels) in copyediting and InDesign layout software.

Staff have extensive publishing industry experience, continue to develop their practice and share this (and their industry contacts) with students. Talks by visiting industry speakers have included: the CEO of the Publishers Association, social media experts, book production directors, and the online marketing director of The Bookseller and its digital arm, Futurebook. Specialist advice is available for work placements, careers, and job applications.

Teaching quality excellence

All lecturers are experienced publishers across a range of fields and continue to practice, enabling continuous updating of courses and access to industry networks.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact Course Leader, Katharine Reeve to find out more: k.reeve@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points

Career opportunities

What graduates say:

'From developing social media strategies to creating interactive websites, digital publishing is an exciting, innovative course that teaches the essential skills needed to enter the ever-developing world of modern publishing.'

Holly Smithson (2015) Production Editor, Taylor & Francis

‘It taught me industry relevant skills and gave me the opportunity to tailor my learning to suit my theatrical interests.’

Laura Haynes (2014) Digital Marketing, Sadler’s Wells

‘The Publishing course opened many doors for me. I landed a magazine Web Editor job straight out of university.’

Dulcie Carey (2013) Events Organiser, Media Clash Publishing

‘It was great to go straight into a Editorial Assistant internship. The digital publishing module was invaluable, enabling me to work in digital environments.’

Kara Rennie (2012) Digital Marketing Coordinator, The Booksellers Association

‘In my interview I was able to speak about social media and blogs with a degree of knowledge due to this course.’

Rebecca Mears, 2010 Graduate, Co-Head of Community and Local, Mumsnet

‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without the broad skills and wealth of knowledge I gained and the excellent staff who run it.’

Alex Goddard, 2009 Graduate, Senior Production Controller, Penguin Random House

Publishing graduates will go on to a variety of roles within the publishing industry (such as editorial, production, marketing, digital); marketing and publicity roles within a wide variety of organisations and companies (from charities and fashion to business and cultural); digital roles such as web editor, social media manager, Digital strategist for schools.

 

% going on to work and/or study for courses in this subject area: 85%

 

 

What students say...

'The publishing course gave me all the real-life experience and forward-thinking skills I needed for the workplace. Support from staff and fellow students allowed me to explore my creativity and fully develop my ideas.'

Joele Forrester (2015) Editorial Assistant, Food & Drink Ltd.

‘Innovative lecturers and knowledgeable technical staff will help you build 'real world' experience and equip you with unique skills. Hard work, but highly rewarding.’

Joshua Ryall (2015) Web and Social Media Coordinator, Bath Spa University

‘The Publishing course gave me versatility – the chance to create print and digital magazines, websites, and apps.’

Katie Curran (2014) Junior Project Manager, Upfront Promotions Agency

‘Publishing and English Literature gave me confidence in my editorial, technical and digital skills and to take all the opportunities that were given to me.’

Bridie Roman (2013) Editorial Assistant, Titan Books

‘The course allows you to gain experience to land that dream job. Very supportive tutors who helped me discover and develop my strengths; three years well spent!’

Nina Camacho (2012) Digital Editor, Mollie Makes, Immediate Publishing