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Creative Projects guidance

You may, if you wish, submit a creative project instead of the essays for EN3D7. 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 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 a sequel to Love's Labour's Lost work in light of the ending of Shakespeare's play?’), or it might be open-ended (for example, ‘How might a set design for Doctor Faustus respond to the play's verbal imagery?’). Either way, the aims of your project should be clear and focused, and expressed in the accompanying essay of 2500 words.

There is no lower word limit on creative projects. Some submissions (e.g. a set of poems or graphic novel or indeed material object like a painting, scupture or installation) will be relatively short in terms of word count. The maximum word limit is 7500 words. This means that the word limit for your creative project and reflective essay combined should total no more than 10,000 words. In practice, the word-count on many projects will be significantly shorter than this.

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.

In previous years, some students have chosen to submit educational or text-based workshops and rehearsals, dance choreography, stand-up comedy and other forms of live performance. These will, where appropriate, be examined in a 30-minute slot consisting of a performance/presentation followed by a short viva with the examiners. The Reflective Essay remains a mandatory and important part of assessment.

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.

It should be 2500 words long. You may wish to append material: this is fine, but any appended material must be referred to and explained in the essay itself. (Any appended material will not be marked in its own right.)

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.