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Graduate Showcase student guidance: writing

student notebook on table
student notebook on table
Notebook of Rebecca Derine, BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation, Central Saint Martins

How to write about your work

Read our top tips for writing about your creative practice clearly for a broad international audience, pitfalls to avoid, and where to get help with your writing.

Top tips

Plan ahead

Writing is most difficult when we’re not sure what we want to communicate. Start the process by thinking about what you would like to say and who your audience is. Map out which points you need to make and in what order. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to write.

Keep it simple

Your reader will begin at the first sentence, but they may not read the last one. Always start your text with the key information that you would like people to know about your work. Your text cannot contain every detail and facet of your practice (that’s impossible), but it does need to represent your work in a comprehensible and exciting way. Keep your sentences short and your language direct.

The audience for the Graduate Showcase will be broad and international. Use simple language that can be easily understood by diverse readers, including those for whom English is an additional language. Complicated ideas can still be expressed using accessible language. For consistency, we ask for text to be written in British English. Please set any spelling or grammar checker to British English rather than American.

Edit and proofread

After writing your first draft, have a break and come back to it. Read it aloud to yourself. This can help you notice how it can be improved to be clearer, more concise and engaging. For example, you should avoid repeating the same words or phrases close together. Always double check spellings of names, accuracy of dates and any other facts. Test your writing by sharing it with your friends and family or do a swap with students from your course. Take notice if there’s anything they don’t understand. All writing benefits from a second set of eyes.

woman reading notebook
Lara van Huyssteen, Wimbledon College of Arts

Things to avoid

  • Try to avoid writing in shorthand or SMS language, unless this is an integral part of your project.
  • Try to avoid jargon – beware of buzzwords specific to your discipline, especially those that you think sound good, but are not entirely sure of the meaning.
  • Be wary of using abbreviations, as these may not be understood by everyone.
  • Avoid writing in italics and block capitals unnecessarily, as readers with dyslexia or visual impairments may find these hard to read. Italics should only be used for the titles of artworks, films or projects etc.
  • Use only your own words. Don’t use other people’s writing without attributing them with a quotation.
student working on a laptop
Charlie Bartlett, Wimbledon College of Arts

Need some support?

student and tutor working together