Melbourne University Creative Writing

Melbourne University Creative Writing-32
There are a number of reasons for this: one is the increasing popularity of a ‘3 2’ university pathway (a generalist undergraduate arts degree, followed by a postgraduate masters specialisation), as in the Melbourne Model; another is cost.

There are a number of reasons for this: one is the increasing popularity of a ‘3 2’ university pathway (a generalist undergraduate arts degree, followed by a postgraduate masters specialisation), as in the Melbourne Model; another is cost.

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Last year I was fortunate enough to have the creative component of my Ph D published as a novel.

Would I say my Ph D has taught me how to write novels? As Helen Garner has famously said, ‘we have to learn to write again for each new book’.

Which begs the question: what do we students (have the right to) ask for?

Everything costs someone something – whether it’s cash, in kind, personal time or academic workload allocation.

While publishers continue to manage the author relationship at the commissioning and contracting stage, sometimes still undertaking the initial developmental edit, structural editing – along with copyediting and proofreading – has largely been outsourced.

Publishing’s shift to a freelance workforce marries with the media industry’s transition to a ‘gig’ economy, resulting in an increase reliance on sole-trader writers and editors who have no clear career trajectory, union-protected pay scale, or recourse to in-house professional development.Regardless of whether you agree at an undergraduate level, most would concur in the case of a student studying to be a doctor of philosophy.Though perhaps arts courses are not inevitably so productive: David Foster Wallace’s well-known commencement speech neatly articulates how teaching individuals to think also teaches them to recognise and resist certain kinds of ‘Think-Speak’.Perhaps research is what I’ve learnt: what it is, why to do it, how to do it well – in the context of both my creative work and its critical exegesis.But although I’ve been successful at presenting chapters from my dissertation as standalone papers and articles, my full thesis had an intimate audience of just three examiners (besides my supervisor).In this age of the ‘massification’ and corporatisation of universities, such an extravagant arrangement can be hard to defend.The cornerstone of most creative-writing courses is workshopping, where participants receive feedback from their peers, under the guidance of experienced tutors, who offer their own opinions and manifest best practice on how to present that.While she has ‘never received any satisfactory, effective or useful supervision’, I’ve been particularly fortunate in that two of my previous less-positive supervisory experiences have led to invaluable publishing and teaching opportunities.One individual in particular has proven to be as generous a guide, both personally and professionally, as any student could ask for.In the case of my Ph D I received: close editing of my work (as one creative to another, but, importantly, from an author who’d had extensive experience working with a seasoned editor); guidance on my writing career; advice on becoming an academic; and even reflections upon becoming a mother – and balancing (or, more actually, juggling) all these things.It may be relevant to confess here that my degree took me a long time to complete – a very long time. This was clearly a factor in the life events that occurred over the course of my candidature, and probably also played a role in the relationship with my supervisor that evolved.

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