Refreshing the curriculum

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


Creative writing courses have expanded remarkably since the mid-twentieth century, and now around the world there are degrees offered at undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels, as well as national and international peak bodies to support creative writing scholars, lobby for the discipline, and exchange resources. Over this same period, and alongside the increasing academic-professionalism of creative writing programmes, universities and the government bodies that regulate them have increasingly demanded that all graduates are prepared for the workforce, with success measured by graduate employment levels. For creative writers, this constitutes a problem: as with other art practices, their work remains outside the flow of capital. All the evidence gathered over past decades shows that graduates who continue their creative practice typically experience either precarity and underemployment or engage in what Bernard Lahire terms a ‘double life’—as a writer, as employee. This places on universities the responsibility to incorporate within the curriculum both the life skills and the professional skills that will allow creative graduates to build satisfying and productive futures. While curriculum designers point to graduate attributes, it is clear that creative writing graduates are not finding much success in transferring those qualities into income-generating activities. Most courses focus on practice—the creative writing workshop or tutorial—along with attention to traditional and contemporary literature, and some training in theory. More recently, professional (‘career’, or business skills) training has been incorporated in most courses, but feedback from graduates suggests that these are not effective, not sufficient, or not offered at the right point in their degrees. Drawing on data from a recent study into the careers of creative writing graduates in two UNESCO cities of culture—Melbourne and Shanghai—in this chapter suggest some changes to the design of courses that may support graduates in crafting life-long careers that provide sufficient income without diminishing their creative capacities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreative Writing Scholars on the Publishing Trade
Subtitle of host publicationPractice, Praxis, Print
EditorsSam Meekings, Marshall Moore
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781003041559
ISBN (Print)978-0367485412
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameStudies in Creative Writing series


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