Unlocking Creativity

Unlocking Creativity: Teaching Students How to Write Stories by Peter d’Arcy Clynes

Teaching creative writing is a contentious issue. Many writers themselves will argue that creativity can’t be taught, that writing courses are exercises in futility, or worse, exercises in sustained pretension. Many people worry that a writer’s skill is innate and that having something to say is essentially useless if you weren’t simply born lucky. Nic Brasch, lecturer of Professional and Creative Writing at Swinburne University, brings a no-nonsense approach to the practice of teaching creative writing. Unlocking Creativity, presented in partnership with Swinburne University, was a crashcourse guide to breaking down storytelling into its mechanical functions, and neatly conveying these functions to writers from pre-primary to undergraduate backgrounds. The focus of the workshop was on demystifying storytelling. Brasch’s style is totally pragmatic, with an emphasis on exploring the real techniques which drive readers to engage with stories. His style as a teacher has everything to do with engagement, participation and practice. The workshop was a real joy for me. I really disagree with the idea that writing is a skill you either ‘do or don’t’ have. For too long, the western canon has been defined by wealthy white men, preaching from their ivory towers. Being able to break down the skill of storytelling into a set of real, actionable practices, means breaking down the barriers of participation in English literature. When we talk practically about ways to write, we make practical headway on bringing new and diverse stories into the forefront of our social consciousness. Brasch’s workshop was a great example of how we can open up writing to people from all walks of life.

– Emerging Writers Gazette, 17 June 2016

Nicolas Brasch

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