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SEED projects 2017 – Writing, Writing Everywhere

Letting the letters run ahead of me; a study of writing practices that support creative thinking

Dr Alys LongleyDr Alys Longley (Creative Arts and Industries)

As part of this this teaching innovation project, Alys aimed to “highlight methods of teaching and supervising writing that support practice-led research and creative thinking in the University”. The idea was to run a series of workshops on writing for creative-practice research, discussing, testing and developing different models of writing. Alys hoped the workshops would highlight methods that translate to undergraduate teaching in diverse studio-led disciplines, potentially articulating the possibilities for academic writing to be (when projects demand it) playful, risky, intuitive, non-linear and adventurous, as well as (when projects demand it) readable, clear, focused, rigorous, structured, technical and linear.

As part of developing practical resources for writers that are useful to students in practice, Alys developed Smudge Skittle: A Little Inventory Entangling Creative Practice Research and Writing. This resource is a deck of 90 cards, each one with a different starting point for developing writing. It is organised around 10 provocations for understanding writing as supporting experimental, playful, intuitive, tangential thinking. Within each of the 10 themes, are 6-15 practical writing ideas, each on their own card. Some of the provocations from Smudge Skittle are: (1) Your state of embodiment is entangled with your practice of writing and the meanings your writing produces. (2) Style can enable new perspectives on how ideas are understood and shared. (3) Imagining and writing for different kinds of readers with different forms of written address can allow us to see our work in different lights.

This project also formed the basis for a contribution from Alys to a new publication on supervising creative practice.