New Creative Writing Leader Says Hello
Anyone who follows the OCA’s blog may already know a little about me – including the fact that I rather like blogging and all other forms of social media!
But I will take the chance to introduce myself here to anyone who’s escaped my posts so far.
Like many OCA students, I did all my studying part-time, while running a life alongside it. I did my degree and Masters degrees while working full-time and bringing up young children. It made me appreciate how to manage time and how to fit things that you want to do alongside all the things you have to do.
The last and most important qualification I got was a PhD in Creative Writing, which tends to raise a few eyebrows. I usually say that I’m the sort of doctor who can’t help if you have a heart attack, but I would do a great job of describing your feelings.
I’m now a published writer for children and for adults. I hope this means I am useful as a practitioner and that I also can help on the reflective, study-related side of things too. The notion that creative writing can be taught is something I believe very strongly, because I know what a big difference such a course made to my own work, transforming it from something rather amateur into writing of publishable quality.
I’ve been tutoring for the OCA since November 2013 and I also have a lot of experience in teaching at traditional universities too. Teaching is work I first did just to earn a living, but now it’s something I love.
In taking on the Programme Leader role, I am hoping to improve the experience and outcomes for the students. I have some initial ideas about this and they overlap in many ways with my hopes for improving the tutors’ experience too.
Improvements to the curriculum and student completion rates are needed and so these are the first things I will look at.
But so too are ways of bringing the tutor team to work together even more, to further share skills and good practice.
I think the OCA has a very highly skilled and talented creative writing department and I’m keen to raise its profile as a dynamic, prestigious place to study and to work – one that writers, tutors and students aspire to join.
As a former journalist, I am uneasy with jargon, so I promise that I have practical ideas in mind, not a collection of buzzwords and abstract concepts.
I want to be approachable too, so I hope that students and fellow tutors will bring me their thoughts, ideas or concerns. Come and share them, so that we can continue the excellent work that’s already being done in the OCA’s creative writing department and together form something truly outstanding.
Barbara Henderson. OCA Programme Leader, Tutor and Assessor.