• Creative writing: mapping the subject

      Belas, Oliver (The English Association, 2018-03-06)
      [From the introduction] My aim is to stitch together a three-part patchwork, to piece together some thoughts on: (i) Creative Writing as an academic discipline; (ii) the textual dynamics and contradictory cultural logic of the map; and (iii) knowledge, particularly the talk of ‘knowledge-based’ education that has driven recent reform in secondary education. Under the influence of Michel de Certeau and in light of an examination of the work of the map and of mapping, i will argue that Creative Writing, while it exemplifies a very real mode of knowing, is not and cannot be recognized as a site or space of knowledge by England’s current secondary-educational politics.
    • The perfectionist call of intelligibility : secondary English, creative writing, and moral education

      Belas, Oliver (The Canadian Philosophy of Education Society, 2016-11-29)
      This article puts forward moral-philosophical arguments for re-building and re-thinking secondary-level (high-school equivalent) English studies around creative writing practices. I take it that when educators and policy makers talk about such entities as the “well-rounded learner,” what we have, or should have, in mind is moral agents whose capacities for moral dialogue, judgement, and discourse are increased as a result of their formal educational experiences. In its current form, secondary English is built mainly, though not exclusively, around reading assessment; around, that is, demonstration of students’ “comprehension” of texts. There is little or no sense that the tradition and practice of literary criticism upon which this type of assessment is based is a writerly tradition. By making writing practices central to what it is to do English in the secondary classroom, I argue that we stand a better chance at helping students develop their capacities for self-expression, for articulating their developing webs of belief and for scrutinizing those webs of belief. I thus wish to think about English and Creative Writing Studies in light of Cavell’s moral perfectionism, and to conceive of it as an arts-practical subject and a mode by which one might, in Baldacchino’s sense, undergo a process of “unlearning.” My arguments are tailored to the English educational context. 
    • The Story Engine: offering an online platform for making “unofficial” creative writing work

      Connolly, Steve M.; Burn, Andrew; University of Bedfordshire; University College London (Wiley, 2017-12-01)
      This article describes the outcomes of a research project conducted at the Ministry of Stories (a London-based writing centre) which sought to develop an online, mentor- assisted, writing platform. Across a three month period, at four different sites across the UK, more than a hundred Year 7 pupils took part in the project, using the platform to write stories and get feedback from mentors who came from a variety of backgrounds. For reasons of space, pupil/mentor interactions are not discussed extensively in the article; however, these stories were collected and analysed alongside a range of other survey and interview data to establish how creative writing might be developed through  online mentoring, the use of an online interface and the intersection of both these tools. The article seeks to answer some questions raised by the data collected in the project, and in turn, uses both the questions and the data to interrogate some of the discourses which surround the teaching of creative writing both in and outside the classroom, and in particular the tensions that occur between the teaching of writing skills, "official versions" of writing in the classroom and children's use of their own cultural resources in creative writing