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Guidance on Creative Projects

You may, if you wish, submit a creative project instead of one of the essays for European Theatre. Creative projects must be devised in consultation with your tutor, and handed in by the same deadline as the essays.

What is a creative project?

Your creative project should respond to one or more of the texts or authors studied on the module. Like an essay, it should be driven by a clear research question – this question might be specific (for example, ‘How might one compose music to Brecht’s songs in order to achieve the Verfremdungseffekt?’), or it might be open-ended (for example, ‘What might a painting based on Beckett’s imagery in Endgame reveal about the text’s use of metaphor?’). Either way, the aims of your project should be clear and focused, and expressed in the accompanying essay.

What form can a creative project take?

You should discuss the form of your creative project with your tutor. Examples include (but are not confined to):

  • Creative writing (poetry, plays, screenplays, short stories, novel chapters)
  • Visual art (paintings, photography, drawings, sculptures, graphic novels, scrapbooks)
  • Design (set, costume, publicity images, projections)
  • Performance (drama, dance, music, monologue, installation)
  • Media (short film, radio drama, recorded music, computer game)
  • Lesson/workshop plans

You may also wish to submit a record of the development of your ideas alongside your final piece, in the form of a scrapbook, a ‘commonplace book’, a blog or a journal. This is not compulsory, but it can help to document projects with a strong developmental aspect.

Please keep your project on a manageable scale (for example, write a short story rather than a novel; a film scenario and sample scene rather than an entire screenplay; a sonata rather than a symphony…). You should discuss the scale of your project with your tutor.

What should I include in the essay?

The essay should indicate the thinking, analysis and research which has led to the creative piece. It should not be written as a journal; rather, it should be structured in the manner of a normal academic essay, with a clear sense of focused, analytical thinking and wider reading. You should certainly reflect on the extent to which your project has helped you to explore, and perhaps answer, your research question. The essay should include a bibliography and be presented to normal scholarly standards. You may wish to append material: this is fine, but any appended material must be referred to and explained in the essay itself.

How should I manage my project?

It’s important to propose your project early so that you have enough time to develop it. You may wish to think about timescales for such activities as rehearsals, sourcing materials, preparatory sketches, filming, etc. Please remember that the department provides no budget for creative projects.

The University Health and Safety department provides guidance on all aspects of health and safety at the university for all staff, students and visitors. When planning project or creative work please do discuss your planned work with your tutor and also one of the health and safety advisers who will be able to provide assistance with regard to any additional requirements or unusual activities. This is very important.

How should I submit my project?

All accompanying essays must be submitted via Tabula. If the Tabula submission accompanies a physical submission, you should make a note to this effect prominently at the top of the essay.

  • If your creative project can be submitted via Tabula in the usual way, you should do this (for example, pieces of creative writing or lesson plans).
  • If your project is electronic in form but cannot be submitted via Tabula (for example, a film or a piece of music), you should make arrangements with your tutor to have it delivered straight to him or her on USB flash drive, CD or DVD. This submission must take place before the deadline.
  • If you have produced a physical artefact, you should likewise make arrangements with your tutor to have it delivered straight to him or her. This submission must take place before the deadline.
  • If your project involves a live performance, you should speak to your tutor as soon as possible to arrange a time for the performance which is convenient for both markers. You will be responsible for the booking of rooms and equipment yourself.

How will my project be marked?

The project will be marked according to the assessment criteria in the English handbook. Clearly these criteria apply more to the essay than the project itself. The essay should therefore make the rationale for the project and the thinking behind it as clear as possible, since it is ultimately by this that the project itself will be judged. You are not, remember, being marked on your ability to create a skilfully-produced artefact: the project will be marked first and foremost as a piece of intellectual exploration.