Saturday 30 March, 10:00-17:00, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, London

This event is free of charge and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend. Registration is required for all events. Please sign up using the booking form below.

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‘If so large a part of creation is really criticism, is not a large part of what is called “critical writing” really creative?’, asked T. S. Eliot in ‘The Function of Criticism’. The last few decades have seen a steady erosion of any sharp distinction between the ‘creative’ and the ‘critical’, and of the borders marked out by each of these are not wholly satisfactory terms. Can ‘criticism’ itself aspire to being ‘creative’? Does ‘creative writing’ have a ‘critical’ force? Or should we dispense with these terms altogether?

New BA, MA and PhD programmes across the UK describe themselves as ‘creative-critical’, raising questions such as: How can critical understanding of previous works of literature feed creative writing? How can creative writing contribute to a critical engagement with works of literature? How can students at all levels be taught criticism in a way that enriches and is enriched by creative practice, so that the two sides of departments of literature are drawn together? These questions are also relevant at extra-mural and school level, where modes of creative response are long established.

The aim of this workshop is to draw together people whose teaching is in various ways creative-critical. Some are critics, some creative writers, some translators; most come from universities but one participant will speak about creative-critical practice at A-Level and another about teaching creative writing through imitation in extra-mural education. We will share our teaching with one another and discuss the methods we use, the possibilities creative-critical teaching offers, and the theoretical questions it raises.

Speakers confirmed thus far are:

  • Dr Stephen Benson (University of East Anglia)
  • Julia Bell (Birkbeck, University of London)
  • Barbara Bleiman (English and Media Centre)
  • Dr Clare Connors (University of East Anglia)
  • Dr Hannah Crawforth (King’s College London)
  • Dr Thomas Karshan (University of East Anglia)
  • Dr Gregory Leadbetter (Birmingham City University)
  • Katharine Lockton (South Bank Poetry)
  • Dr Thomas Roebuck (University of East Anglia)
  • Dr Elizabeth Scott-Baumann (King's College London)
  • Dr Simon Smith (University of Kent)
  • Matthew Welton (University of Nottingham)