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Experimental writing workshops

Please accept our apologies, the Experimental Writing Workshops 1-3 detailed below have been cancelled due to staff illness. We hope to reschedule these in the following term - more details to follow.

This series comprises three units, each including three two hour sessions, that will consider different aspects and forms of experimental writing.

This series is recommended for students in their second year onwards who wish to develop more creative approaches to writing.

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Autumn term - Creative tools for writing the PhD

This series of short workshops aims to support students in their PhD writing. It will provide a free and safe space within which to begin or continue writing, it will encourage creativity and intends to remove barriers, such as insecurity, formal conventions and presumptions about what writing is. Students will leave empowered and with sections of writing they can build upon in their own time to use as part of their submissions.

Cancelled: Session 1 - Dr Nicola McCartney

8 November 2021, 14.00–16.00 | Online: Teams

Start writing: Begin in the middle

Students are encouraged to bring in or along an object or image to analyse. Using free-writing techniques, we will produce a short body of analysis that, in reading back, will illuminate what theoretical frameworks could shape the wider debates provoked by this piece of visual or material culture. Working outward from a case study helps the writer identify what other arguments might need to be considered, what other examples are relevant and helps identify or strengthen an ‘argument’ or research question that frames it. Students also leave with a piece of writing they can tweak later and a technique that allows them to write with no-judgement. Writing informs research, much like research informs writing. Starting in the middle removes the constraints of a linear process, which few of us think in, and stops one from thinking they need to ‘read everything first’!

Cancelled: Session 2 - Dr Nicola McCartney

15 November 2021, 14.00–16.00 | Online: Teams

Breaking down the Literature Review

Students consider and share multiple research questions and possible PhD titles with each other, anonymously and with images. Troubleshooting these, we compose limited character soundbites of the PhD. We consider, what would people look-up to find your thesis in a search? Working backwards from this, what should you be ‘searching for’ as part of your theoretical or methodological framework? This exercise helps situate your project in a field and trajectory of contextualised studies that ought to be considered for the Literature Review and consolidates the project’s main tenants, but also other areas or sectors of research that could be relevant which haven’t yet been identified.

To begin the Literature Review, students are asked to bring an article they have read, which they want to include. As an exercise, we will write a short, word-capped annotated bibliography on this text. This is an accessible methodology that can be extended for more literature, and acts as a skeleton that can be fleshed out in the students’ own time. Students leave having written a short, draft section of their Literature Review, with a formula they can deploy, if they wish, and the confidence to add to this as and when they like.

Cancelled: Session 3 - Dr Nicola McCartney

22 November 2021, 14.00–16.00 | Online: Teams

End with the beginning

Students are asked to reflect on the last two sessions and consider a narrative analogy for their PhD. Could this act as a preface for the project, setting up the ‘problem’ they are trying to relay, resolve or observe? Could a fictional story provide a structure for the writing: is there a main character they ought to introduce early on? Is there a plot twist or ending they need to explain more clearly? These ideas will be written in a time-based exercise and shared for peer-feedback to help students reconsider what their PhD is really about, what should be clearer and potentially foregrounded in their Preface or Introduction.

Spring term - Shapeshifter: Writing out of a canon

These three sessions will each focus on a different assumed voice of authority within academic texts and look at examples of writing that seek to challenge this. In each case I will talk through my own practices (art-making, writing and pedagogy) and perform new works, as well as providing examples from within art-writing/contemporary art practice to discuss as a group.

Session 1 - Dr Zoe Mendelson,  Glasgow School of Art

1 February 2022, 15.30–17.30 | Online: Teams

When a fictional researcher wrote my thesis

Writing through imagined others.

Session 2 - Dr Zoe Mendelson,  Glasgow School of Art

15 February 2022, 15.30–17.30 | Online: Teams

No Theory, No Cry

Engaging auto-theory as a route into (and out of) critical writing.

Session 3 - Dr Zoe Mendelson,  Glasgow School of Art

8 March 2022, 15.30–17.30 | Online: Teams

Bibliographies as creative indexing

The list as a generative architecture.

Summer term - TBC

Session 1


Session 2


Session 3