My MA course at Birmingham City University (BCU) is now complete. I am absolutely delighted as I have the transcript and, now, the certificate that states I gained a distinction. To say I am relieved and delighted is an understatement. Tim Bancroft, MA. 🙂 It’s been a long haul and a lot of pain. Will I go for a PhD? Don;t know, yet: we’ll have to see.
This page, though, has been adjusted to reflect the historical log (as quotes) and final reflections. So:
“I’ve pulled this out into a separate page as I have no idea what this course will generate. Given I need to earn an income and, due to my disability options are limited, I thought it best to train myself up as a writer. The best course available for what I wanted was that at Birmingham City University where they have a highly pragmatic Masters (MA) in Writing.”
I was “really impressed with the quality of the writers on the course. All seem to have had some form of previous experience whether in magazine publishing, articles, radio, TV… You name it, the previous experience has been experienced! The level of the teaching and quality of the modules and tutors I have had is also impressive.”
I was only able to do the course part-time given my Pain Management so I completed one module per semester. However, I was encouraged to sit in on suitable undergraduates’ modules and ‘audited’ (took part in but was not assessed) the Radio Writing and SF Criticism modules. Both were extremely useful and enjoyable – the first covering the fundamentals in writing for radio and the latter the core concepts in SF literary criticism.
Overall, it has been good fun and, of course, hard work. The course leader, Greg Leadbetter, listened to what I intended to do (careerwise) and recommended the modules I eventually took – and his recommendations and suggestions about the undergraduate modules proved to be very useful. For me, the two modules that stood out most were the first, Screenwriting, run by the excellent Andy Conway, that was immensely helpful across all aspects of my writing, and the last, Fiction, led by my tutor, Dr Anna Lawrence-Pietroni. The latter proved an excellent opportunity to explore and enhance my writing, first on a cross-genre book and, for my Final Project, a SF novel.
That is not to say I did not enjoy the other modules; indeed, the whole course has been a tremendous opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and investigating the use of clothing as a signifier of character in the poems of the Gawain- (or Pearl-) poet. ‘Enker green’, for example, the special green worn by the Green Knight, was a very rare colour requiring superb, very white cloth base that was dyed with both good yellow and blue dies, very different from the inks used to colour in the manuscripts. Not only was the Green Man strange but the significance to the audience of the period of his clothing could not be underestimated. Similar findings were wonderful revelations: ‘hoodies’ were complained about in the 15th century in exactly the same way as they are in the early 21st!
The Non-fiction module led by Ian Marchant was an opportunity to try out a variation of my book on Pain Management, now placed on a separate blog.
Overall, a fantastic experience. There are two people, though, who helped me through and who deserve a special mention. The first – always – is my wife, Rosemary, whose proofreading skills, comments, encouragement and care awes me. Continually and Repeatedly. The second is my notetaker, Saima Alam, who was not only professionally very helpful, flexible and adaptable but continually encouraging.