Tag: short course (page 1 of 3)

The Art of Curating and Exhibition Management

What’s Your Vision?

At City short courses, our Curating and Exhibition Management course is run by Renée Pfister, an esteemed art consultant, curator, registrar and business development manager. She was part of the curatorial team at the British Museum, where she was involved in realising major projects such as the Great Court and the Weston Gallery of Roman-Britain. At the Tate Gallery she worked as a Registrar from 1999 to 2005 and was responsible for managing acquisitions and ground-breaking international exhibitions from the Tate’s collection. She also participated in a Registrars’ exchange programme at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, wrote a chapter for the Routledge publication Understanding International Art Markets & Management, and worked for the late Sir Anthony Caro as an advisor. Since 2010 she has run her own art and gallery consultancy.

Renée Pfister Art & Gallery Consultancy quickly established a loyal portfolio of clients: Whitney Museum of American Art; Morgan Library & Museum, both in New York; the British Embassy, Paris; the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Government Art Collection, the German Embassy and Waltham Forest Council, London; the Victoria Museum, Kiev and the Pushkin Museum State Museum of Fine Art, Moscow, providing them with a wide range of collection and exhibition management services. The Consultancy also represents many international artists: Peter Zimmermann, Chris Tille, Alexandra Carr and Elisa Bracher to name but a few. More recently Renée worked with the Serpentine Gallery London,  Torus Torus Studios Tyne & Wear; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit; National Library Canberra; Islamic Arts Biennale Jeddah and the Manar Light Project Abu Dhabi. Renée  also offers support to gallery owners new in the business and career mentoring services to emerging and mid-career artists.

Renée Pfister condition checking a painting in a private residence in Paris ©Renée Pfister.

As Renee explores in her City course, curating and exhibition management go beyond mere display to how stories are told and emotions provoked, and has the power to foster connections between audiences and artworks. In this blog, we delve into the essence of this process, exploring what it involves and how it shapes our cultural landscape.

Curating and Exhibition Management

Curating entails selecting, organising, and presenting artworks or artifacts within a defined indoor or outdoor space, within a thematic or conceptual framework. Exhibition management encompasses the legal, conservation, logistic and technical requirements of bringing these curatorial  visions to life, from planning and budgeting to installation and promotion. Together, they form one of the core activities of museums, galleries, and cultural institutions worldwide, shaping the way we engage with art, heritage, and our world.

The Value of Curating

  1. Interpretation: Curators interpret the significance of artworks and contextualise them within broader historical, cultural, political or social narratives. Through thoughtful selection and arrangement, they guide viewers on a journey of discovery, fostering deeper understanding and appreciation.
  2. Meaning: Exhibitions are designed to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and spark dialogue. Effective curation transforms spaces into dynamic environments where artworks come alive, forging connections between creators, audiences, and ideas.
  3. Cultural Heritage: Curation plays a pivotal role in preserving and promoting cultural heritage, safeguarding artworks for future generations. By curating exhibitions that celebrate diversity and inclusivity, they contribute to a more vibrant and inclusive cultural landscape.
  4. Innovation and Dialogue: By curating exhibitions that embrace experimentation and a diversity of perspectives, curators foster innovation and stimulate dialogue, driving cultural change.

Renée Pfister in conversation with Peter Zimmermann, discussing his exhibition ‘Colourscape’ at the German Embassy in London ©Peter Zimmermann, Thorsten Schneider and Renée Pfister.

The Curatorial and Exhibition Management Process

  1. Research and Concepts: Curators begin by conducting extensive research on artists, movements, and themes, identifying overarching concepts or narratives that will guide the exhibition.

    Beyond Display

  2. Selection, Collections and Loans: Curators select artworks from the museum’s collections and borrow additional key representations that align with the agreed concept, considering factors such as artistic quality, historical significance, and relevance to the theme.
  3. Design and Installation: Curators work closely with designers, conservators, registrars, and art handling technicians, to realise their vision. Taking care of the exhibits during the installation and exhibition period are of utmost importance. Lighting, spatial arrangement, and signage are all considered in an effort to enhance the viewer experience and to deliver an outstanding exhibition experience.
  4. Promotion and Outreach: Curators collaborate with marketing teams to promote the exhibition through social media and news outlets. Outreach efforts aim to attract diverse audiences and communities, offering physical and intellectual access to maximise engagement.

Curating and exhibition management represent the intersection of art, storytelling, and cultural stewardship. Curators shape our collective understanding of the world and enrich our cultural experiences. Their role remains crucial in preserving heritage, fostering innovation, and creating meaningful connections between art and society.

The next Curating and Exhibition Management short course at City will take place in October 2024.

For our full range of Creative Industry Short Courses, and all our other Short Courses, visit our home page HERE.

 

 

 

City Writes Creative Writing Spring 2024 Showcase Event Opens for Submissions

City Writes guest and Novel Studio alumna, Lara Haworth.

This term’s City Writes showcase for all the wonderful writing coming from City’s short creative writing courses will feature the fantastically talented artist, debut author and Novel Studio alumna, Lara Haworth, on the 10th July at 7pm over Zoom.

Lara’s novel, Monumenta, will be published by Canongate on the 4th July, less than a week before City Writes. Set in Belgrade, Monumenta follows the fortunes of Olga Pavic and her family as her home is requisitioned for demolition. In place of the house, there will be a monument to a massacre, but with three possible horrors to commemorate, which will be memorialised and what secrets is Olga hiding from her children? You can pre-order your copy here.

To join Lara on the virtual stage, all you need to do is submit your best 1,000 words of creative fiction or non-fiction (we do accept young adult fiction but don’t currently accept children’s fiction) on any subject to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk with details of the City short course you are taking or have taken by midnight on Friday 14th June. Competition and submission guidelines can be found here.

We can’t wait to read your submissions and if you are keen to secure your place for the night, you can register for the event here. Good luck!

Lost and Found: How to deal with Life’s Big Changes

Author Alessandra Lewis with her family

 

By Alessandra Lewis

Feeling lost? Youre definitely not the only one. Alessandra Lewis reveals how overwhelming change led her to finding happiness.

 

In August 2023, I moved from a coastal town in England to Trentino in northern Italy with my parents and my brother. It was the start of one of the most transformative seasons of my life. I just didn’t know it at the time.

The conversations, the planning, the preparation: it all started over five years before. I’m half English and half Italian; growing up I spent many summers in Italy, visiting family and exploring this beautiful country.

After 20 years living in Dorset, we decided to switch the sea for Italian meadows and mountains. A change of lifestyle. A change of pace. Of course, I was excited. But most of all I was in denial. I was holding on so tightly to the last few months of my life

in England – in between working and packing boxes – that I didn’t want to miss anything by thinking too much about the future. By overthinking. By worrying.

I knew the move would bring an incredible amount of change, and I preferred to assume I was ready enough, rather than actually consider how prepared I was. My state of denial was a coping mechanism. And for me, it worked. Am I suggesting this is a good way of coping with life’s changes, big or small? Absolutely not. But, did it enable me to fully enjoy the last few months, before the move, with the people I love most? Yes. Yes, it did. And for that I’ll always be grateful.

You may be wondering why I’m divulging all of this. It’s simple really. At the time, to say I was a bit lost and confused would have been a huge understatement. Is it the right thing to do? What if I’m not happy there? Am I going to regret it? The truth is, even a month after moving, I still didn’t have answers to any of these questions. Everything felt overwhelming.

I was so happy to be in Italy; who wouldn’t? But being away from loved ones and adjusting to a new life here wasn’t easy. So, I took things one day at a time.That’s the thing about life, isn’t it? We’ll always be wondering whether we’re doing the right thing. And the answer will probably always be changing, just as life changes. But that’s okay.

New friends, new places, new ways of thinking. Just a few of the things I wouldn’t have discovered had we not moved. I also wouldn’t have settled on my ideal study path – writing – ultimately leading me to take Maggie Richards’ wonderful copywriting course. August 2023 may have been a month of big changes and doubts, but her masterclass provided certainty. And inspiration.

It’s in these moments – the ‘glimmers’ – when life feels good and things are looking up that we are reminded how important the tough moments are. After all, it’s often only because of them that we find where we’re truly meant to be.

Alessandra Lewis is an aspiring multilingual copywriter with a love for books and exploring new places. Alessandra took Maggie Richards’ Introduction to Copywriting course, which runs monthly. The next one is in May and you can book here. Maggie also teaches City’s Writing for Business course which starts next week. As part of both courses, we offer students the chance to pitch a blog idea which, if successful, will be edited and published on our site. For more information about all our short courses, visit our home page HERE.

City Writes Summer 2023 Event: A Braw Night to Remember

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

There’s nothing like an evening of readings from brilliant writers to make a summer evening special and this term’s City Writes on the 5th July was a festival of writing filled with moments of tension, terror and tenderness.

 

We kicked off the evening with the first of our competition winners, Novel Writing and Longer Works alumnus, Richard Hastings, who read from his novel-in-progress. The extract, ‘Jumble’, took us into old boxes in his character’s mother’s cupboard where it turns out she’d kept the right half of several pairs of his old childhood shoes, right down to one tiny little wellington boot. The whole audience were drawn into that moment of connection between mother and son.

 

From the importance of one set of objects to the embodied resonance of a piano, we took a step into memoir and the importance of the matrilineal connection of music next with Novel Studio alumna, Helen Ferguson, who read from her memoir-in-progress. We were lucky enough to see, in the background of Helen’s screen, the very piano her extract, ‘My Grandmother’s Piano’, spoke so eloquently about. The words were music to our ears and we look forward to hearing more about this project.

 

We took a step into the dark and unpredictable world of the social media alias next, in an extract from another Novel Studio alumna, Lana Younis, reading from her revenge comedy, Play The Long Game. The chat buzzed with delight at the northern, scathing voice of the protagonist as she went over her day and discovered some salacious news in her evening bath with her glass of merlot. This is another novel-in-progress we’re eager to read more of.

 

We stepped away from the horrors in one mind, to the dangers of airport security next with an emotionally taut and affecting short story by Introduction to Copywriting alumna Camille Poole, ‘Brown Male’. Along with Camille the whole audience were moved by sharing the character’s experience of watching her brave, young superhero son face the humiliation of institutional racism, whilst shaming herself for daring to call it out. Such a powerful story that there was a real sense of pause before we could move on.

 

Novel Studio alumna, Emily Shamma had the difficult task of following Camille, but she took us on her own emotional journey in her piece, ‘Kate’, an extract from her novel-in-progress, The Complicit. The extract followed Kate as she navigated the complexities of a miscarriage that was initially an unintended pregnancy turned from happy uncertainty to grief.

 

Our audience were certainly on a rollercoaster of feeling that our final competition winner and Novel Studio alumna, Kate Henderson, refused to let us get off. She read her short story, ‘What Happened at Judith’s’, a masterful account of a young girl’s afternoon play date that ended with a painful revelation and a broken arm. Told in spars

e and meticulously navigated prose, it was a fabulous way to end the readers from this extremely talented bunch of City’s Creative Writing short course alumni.

 

Luckily, we had the joy of hearing from Writers’ Workshop alumna and prize-winning writer, Emma Grae next. Emma read short extracts from both her novels: her Scots Book of the Year 2022 debut, Be Guid tae yer Mammy, published by Unbound in 2021 and her second novel, The Tongue She Speaks published by Luath Press in October 2022.

 

Emma’s writing is rich with Scots and it was brilliant to get the chance to hear the writing come alive in her voice. Following these extracts, we were treated to a Q&A in which Emma explored not only the inspirations behind her work, but also her publishing journey. Teasing out the importance of valuing all voices and entering into the publishing industry with one’s eyes wide open, Emma gave us much to think about. She also shared great news about her new works, a book in Scots for children and a third novel. We can’t wait to read them.

 

City Writes Summer 2023 Event was a braw night indeed. If you missed it, you can watch the event HERE. And don’t forget City Writes is a termly event. Find out more and watch out for competition dates on this blog. If this term is anything to go by, the work at City Writes goes from strength to strength.

City Writes Autumn 2022 – Call for Submissions

By Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone
Portrait of author Elizabeth Chakrabarty by Jason Keith

Author photo of Elizabeth Chakrabarty by Jason Keith

City Writes is a termly event showcasing the best of City’s Short Courses Creative Writing talent and this term, alongside the readers from the termly competition, we are extremely excited to welcome Elizabeth Chakrabarty as our alumna guest author.

Alumna of the Novel Studio, Elizabeth Chakrabarty is an interdisciplinary writer using creative and critical writing, besides performance, to explore themes of race, gender and sexuality. Her debut novel, Lessons in Love and Other Crimesinspired by experience of race hate crime, was published in 2021 by the Indigo Press, along with her essay, On Closure and Crime. In 2022 Lessons in Love and Other Crimes was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, and also shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

Elizabeth was also shortlisted for the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022, for her story ‘That Last Summer’ published in The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022: Crime Stories by Comma Press. She was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize in 2016 for her story ‘Eurovision’ published in Dividing Lines (Dahlia, 2017).

Her shorter work includes poetry and creative-critical writing, and she has recently been published in Gal-Dem, New Writing DundeeWasafiri, and the anthology Imagined Spaces (Saraband, 2020), and in translation, by Glänta and Deus Ex Machina. She received an Authors’ Foundation Grant from The Society of Authors (UK) in December 2018, to support the writing of Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, and she was chosen as one of the runners up for the inaugural CrimeFest bursary for crime fiction authors of colour in 2022. She lives in London.

For your chance to read your work alongside this ground-breaking author, you need only send your best 1,000 words of fiction or creative non-fiction (no poetry, scripts or picture books) to rebekah.lattin-rawstrone.2@city.ac.uk by by midnight on Friday 18th November along with details of your current or past City Short Creative Writing Course.

Registration for City Writes Autumn 2022 event on the 14th of December at 7pm on Zoom is open now. Simply follow this link to sign up to hear Elizabeth Chakrabarty read from her fantastic debut, Lessons in Love and Other Crimes, alongside the competition winners to be announced later this term.

Full submission details can be found here.
We can’t wait to read your submissions and see you on the 14th December.

A Cautionary Tale of ‘Reply All’

We’ve all been there… you were either the recipient or the sender of an accidental reply-all email. It may have made you cringe. It may have made you wonder whether you should acknowledge your mistake. Should you apologise? Should you notify the sender? One thing is certain, it looks unprofessional. Writing for Business student, Karen Young, gives her top three reply-all blunders: how to deal with them, and how to avoid them.

 

Ready to send?

1.The time you didn’t check your email before replying all. The result: you’ve sent a comment that was meant specifically for one colleague and ended up offending the other external recipients.

We’ve all done it: hit reply-all by accident, whether it’s on your mobile or desktop, and not checked that all-important email before sending. You may have made a comment to your colleague and cc’d the external recipients. It could have been a response meant only for your colleagues.

What should you do? Acknowledge that you sent the email to the external recipients by mistake. And apologise: they could have been customers or third-party suppliers.

My advice: always triple-check your email before sending. Check the recipients and cc’s, the subject, and the body text. You will never regret doing so.

 

2.When a flurry of people reply-all to the whole company

A company-wide email is sent. The topic could be an upcoming event, a milestone, or a financial goal reached. If senior management acknowledge this, fine. But there’s no need for everyone to say “Fantastic”, or “Okay”, or “Thanks”. This type of reply-all clogs up inboxes and the server.

My advice: if you have a meaningful reply, select only those who need to hear it.

Think before you click?

3.You’ve accidentally replied all, and then those in copy purposefully reply-all to let you know you’ve replied all!

My advice: If you need to let the person know they’ve made the mistake of replying all, let them know. Everyone else on copy will already know. Reply to the sender only.

To aid the fight against the reply-all annoyance, Microsoft have helpfully enabled a feature to deal with email storms – a Reply All Storm Protection Feature. Check whether your organisation has this. It could save many headaches.

Above all, consider whether a reply-all is necessary and always triple-check your emails. It may take a few minutes when time is precious but it is always worthwhile!

Triple check before you hit send

About the author

Karen Young has worked in secretarial / assistant roles for 24 years in three different industries – law, private equity, and most recently mining. She holds a Level 3 Professional Diploma in Law through the Institute of Legal Executives. Karen enjoys learning to maintain her professional development, including the very rewarding City’s Writing for Business short course.

For more on the Writing for Business course Karen took, visit our webpage.

We are also running our Writing for Business course this summer as a one-week intensive. For more information visit the course page here.

To find out more about our vibrant writing short course portfolio, including our summer schools, visit our website here.

 

Sumo: A world of dedication and focus that epitomises Japanese business

The centuries-old world of traditional Japanese wrestling provides many insights for our rough-and-tumble world of business.

By Raju Thakrar

You might be surprised to learn that Japanese executives have always been huge fans of sumo. Not only is this because the sport is quintessentially Japanese, but it’s also due to the similarities between the sumo ring and the office. From the perspective of these high-level “salarymen”, the world of sumo and any single bout has the potential to teach them things that they can implement in their everyday work lives. These include dedication, the rewards for loyalty, thorough preparation, knowing your opponent, and treating others with respect. But Japanese executives are not the only people who can learn how sumo can improve their work lives – anyone working in a company can as well.

Keeping it in the family

Most recruits to a “sumo stable” – the name for the group where wrestlers live and train together – are on average 15 years old. Each stable is headed by a stable master and his wife, both of whom act as parental guides for the young sumo trainee.

Wrestlers belong to one stable their whole career. The stable repays their loyalty by investing a huge amount of time and money into ensuring they succeed as far as they can in the sport. Not only are the wrestlers given a roof over their heads and fed, but they are also provided with one-on-one instruction and welcomed into a system that looks after them throughout their career. Each wrestler, for example, is provided with a mentor who cares for them like a “big brother”.

It’s not an easy life being a sumo wrestler. But those young men who decide to dedicate their lives to it know that with hard work and determination, they could be rewarded with fame and glory – just like with business. This is the reason why young Japanese boys from poor, rural areas join: they want to better themselves. More recently, teenagers from Mongolia, a much poorer country than Japan with its own form of wrestling, have chosen to try their luck in the sumo world. Some of them have made it to the upper echelons of the sport.

Sharing the fruits of your success

No matter how successful a wrestler becomes, he never forgets that he belongs to a stable. Top-ranking wrestlers who are paid a monthly stipend have to share part of that with their stable. What’s more, whenever a wrestler wins prize money offered at a bout by sponsors – on occasion this can amount to thousands of pounds – the wrestler has to share the money with the rest of his stable.

When wrestlers reach the top ranks, it’s great PR for the stable, as it attracts wannabe wrestlers who believe that by joining the stable they too can one day become rich and famous. Talent is organically attracted to a successful stable. For example, Kokonoe stable, whose stable master was Chiyonofuji – one of the most famous wrestlers in recent years – now boasts more highly ranked wrestlers than any other stable in the sumo association.

A mindset of focus and mutual respect

Many sumo bouts only last for a few seconds. That means wrestlers prepare all day to be in the ring for a match that could be over in a blink of an eye. Preparation is thus key. In fact, wrestlers spend most mornings training all out so that they can win in tournaments and rise through the ranks. Chiyonofuji had these words of wisdom for wannabe sumo stars: “You must train to get stronger now but also to be stronger in three years from now”.

Even when they enter the ring, the bout does not immediately start. As part of a centuries-old ritual, the wrestlers normally face off four times before they actually charge full throttle at each other. This run-up period is where mind games are usually played, so much so that it’s often said that a bout’s outcome is decided at this stage. That’s why, as with business, keeping your cool is key in sumo. After the bout is over, win or lose, you are not allowed to show your feelings, out of respect for your opponent.

Sumo may have been around for hundreds of years, but some of the things that it can teach people are very much relevant to today’s corporate world: how companies can care for and reward their employees; how working hard on a daily basis can bring about long-lasting results; how business negotiations can change in an instant; and how, win or lose, respecting others is so important.

Which sport do you think best represents what an office environment is like?

Raju Thakrar is a consultant working at GR Japan, Japan’s leading government relations consultancy. He can be contacted via  his LinkedIn page.

Raju is a current student on City’s short Writing for Business course taught by Jenny Stallard. For more on our short writing courses, from novel writing to copywriting, please visit.

City Writes celebrates its first non-fiction guest: Ciaran Thapar

by Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone

City Writes is such a brilliant showcase for all the fabulous writing talent coming from City’s Creative Writing Short Courses and this Autumn’s Event was no different. There are always fascinating submissions from the Narrative Non-Fiction course run by Peter Forbes and this term we were able to celebrate some of the fruit of his teaching labours by sharing the work of Narrative Non-Fiction alumnus Ciaran Thapar whose book Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City is an insightful, honest and eye-opening exploration of knife crime and youth violence in London.

As always we began with the competition winners. We went from an exploration of infidelity and class in ‘Salesman of the Year’ by Laurence Kershook all the way to a drunken groom in Grayson Anderson-Brown’s ‘Mum’s Yard’.

Laurence is an alumnus of The Novel Studio and his story set a sinister tone for the evening. As is often the case, a theme seemed to emerge across the winners’ pieces and this time it was an exploration of relationships from people at the end of their relationship journey, through those at the start, towards those whose more intimate relationships are with their art.

We hope Laurence will come back and share his novel, The Broygus, which is due out in mid-2022.

From a jail cell (you read correctly) to a house call, we heard from Pasca Lane next as she read her story, ‘Creature of Habit’. Her main character was desperate to get rid of a fox, to rid his home of the remnants of his ex-wife. A hilariously unself-aware character, Pasca delivered his perspective with aplomb.

Alan Gray, alumnus of the Short Story Writing course, took us on a first date, expertly navigating us through the complications of desire and that human need for connection in his story ‘Nice Meeting You’. There were some great moments of dialogue and a weighty, uncertain end on a sofa.

Another Short Story Writing alumnus, Stephen Kehoe, chilled us with the opening of his novel-in-progress, Defence Mechanism next. A speculative near-future in which the protagonist exploits public officials for some unspecified end, left us all reeling and eager to find out more.

Emily Shammar took us into the world of a blind woman at a picnic next. An alumna of An Approach to Creative Writing this extract from her longer work, ‘The Complicit’ was a thrilling and unnerving ride into uncertainty.

Novel Studio alumnus, Grayson Anderson-Brown gave us some sharply drawn characters next, in his extract ‘Mum’s Yard’ in which two brothers and a cousin try to salvage a wedding day currently not going to plan. They fail to keep the groom’s hung-over dishelvement from Mum, all summoned to her flat for a dressing down.

Mike Clarke was the last of the competition winners to read. A self-confessed City writing course junkie, he read ‘Spray Can Angel’, an extract from his novel-in-progress, Burnt Fingers, in which a female graffiti artist risked serious injury dangling from a fire escape to repair her artwork. Left dangling alongside the protagonist, the audience were hoping to see that novel in print soon.

The evening then took a turn towards non-fiction and the brilliant blend of narrative and sharp political commentary in Ciaran Thapar’s work, Cut Short: Youth Violence, Loss and Hope in the City which was published by Viking UK (Penguin) in June 2021. Told through a mixture of character journeys based on real people and considered research and argument, the book draws a reader into the lives of those living with youth violence, gaining their empathy and understanding in order to help them see a path towards change.

Ciaran gave a short reading from Chapter Five in which Carl, a young school boy, is sitting in an isolation session at school and feeling worthless and depressed. In a Q&A with host, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, Ciaran then spoke further about the themes of the book and his hopes for building more supportive communities for young people. He was an inspirational guest and speaker, providing much food for thought among the audience who were also keen to ask questions. If you haven’t read it, buy it here. Ciaran will also be running a short course at City on Writing for Social Impact, which if his book is anything to go by, will instigate further fascinating and thought-provoking writing.

To experience the event for yourself, watch the full recording now. What a great way to start the festive season with fabulous fireside stories and provocation to think of others.

Facing the fear of career change: from data analyst to copywriter

After years of feeling directionless in my NHS job, I’ve finally found a calling that’s reignited my passion. Here’s how I’m pivoting in mid-life thanks to a City short course.

by Christopher Hunt

For five years I’ve considered changing careers. As a Data Analyst for the NHS, the prospect of changing not only to a new career but from an employee to freelance feels daunting. I have a mortgage and two children under 12 after all. And yet, while it’s easy to make excuses, I’ve realised the only way to confront my fear is to act.

Writing has always been part of my life. I’ve self-published a supernatural novel, written guitar-related blogs and even scripts for a short-lived YouTube comedy series. I also have a fascination with psychology. Searching the internet for jobs related to these interests I discovered a career called copywriting. I could be paid to write!

Introduction To Copywriting’ by City University runs over a single weekend, fitting conveniently around my job. The course is taught by author and copywriter Maggie Richards. One of the first things she said is from novelist Ernest Hemingway: “The only writing is rewriting”.

I love this quote because it can be interpreted in different ways. While on the surface it’s telling us to rewrite our work until concise, it also encourages action – to start writing and overcome the ‘fear of the blank page.’ We can refine our work later.

This encouragement to move toward the unknown resonates with my aspirations: the initial steps toward a new career are similar to the first tentative words a writer must put on the page. Many of my doubts and insecurities are really just fears of the unknown.

As author Seth Godin says in ‘The Practice’: “The career of every successful creative is… a  pattern of small bridges, each just scary enough to dissuade most people.” Much like the act of writing allows a writer to clarify their thoughts, it’s by taking action that we can find our next step and the step after that, slowly lifting the fog that obscures the path ahead.

City’s online workshop offered many opportunities to take action with practical copywriting exercises, working individually and in small groups. One of my favourite was writing home page copy for an imaginary app.

My team came up with ‘Fitness Friends’, where users meet new people sharing similar fitness goals:

 

Headline:          Meet, Motivate, Get Fit.

 

Introduction:     Walk, Run, Gym. Meet your goals with new local friends.

 

Call to Action:   Find Fitness Friends Now.

 

Maggie pointed out that the headline and introduction used the same three-part staccato punctuation. I realised the importance of varying the rhythm of the words, blending punch with flow. Creativity should not cloud clarity.

I’m now taking steps to start my copywriting career alongside my NHS job, hoping to eventually become a full-time copywriter. I’ve signed up to a freelancing website and contacted small business owners in my network, offering my writing assistance.

Writers spend so much time living in their heads that it can feel uncomfortable taking physical action.  But the pages of my life so far don’t have to dictate where my story goes next. Realising that no first draft is perfect, I now know I can shape my path until I reach the outcome I desired all along.

 

Christopher Hunt took City’s ‘Introduction To Copywriting’ course. You can find him on LinkedIn.

City offers short writing courses in everything from short story writing to writing for the web and digital media. To find out more about all our writing courses, view our full range here.

Novel Studio Showcase 2020

Readers and guests from The Novel Studio Showcase

Harriet Tyce introducing the night

Last Wednesday the Novel Studio showcase took place on Zoom for the very first time. And what a night it was. Hosted brilliantly by tutor Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, with an introduction by Novel Studio alumna and scholarship sponsor, Harriet Tyce, the event was attended by over 100 guests.

With 12 students reading 4 minute extracts from their novels-in-progress it was a chance for friends, family and industry attendees to hear the astonishing talent on display, and owing to Zoom’s chat facility, feedback was instantaneous and uniformly glowing. Any fears over a lack of atmosphere online were soon dispelled by the unexpected intimacy afforded by hearing the work on Zoom. As one observer commented, ‘It was like being read to in your own room.” A resounding success, one agent said it was her ‘favourite Zoom event by far this year.”

Thank you to the students, our tutors, all our guests and to our fantastic short course team who helped make the night possible.

For those who didn’t get a chance to be there on the night, the whole evening is available to view again here.

Congratulations class of 2020!!

For more information about the Novel Studio visit our course page here.

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