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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)

Two students in discussion

If you’d like to expand your skills base and become more confident about teaching creative writing in a range of settings the First Story bursaries, a collaboration between the University of Cambridge Centre for Creative Writing and First Story, could be for you.

The First Story bursaries provide reduced tuition fees for five students on next year’s Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge Institute for Continuing Education.

Open to those working in state-funded or non-profit organisations such as state schools, public libraries, local authorities, health or prison services, each bursary covers £2,100 of costs towards the one-year, part-time course.

The scheme is open to applicants from anywhere in the world, and, as Joint Course Director and Academic Director at ICE, Dr Midge Gillies, explains, you don’t have to think of yourself as a writer to take part:

“The First Story bursaries are for anyone working for the benefit of disadvantaged communities by teaching creative writing. If you work in schools, mental health services, unemployment or the voluntary sector, for example, this course gives you the tools and confidence to enhance your work, even if you don’t see yourself primarily as a creative writing tutor.”

It’s the third year ICE and First Story – a charity that encourages young people from all backgrounds to write creatively for pleasure and agency – have offered the bursaries after initially collaborating as part of the BBC National Short Story Awards.

“We met First Story and realised we had a very similar ethos,” says Midge. “We’re both trying to encourage those who might not see themselves as writers or readers to develop their skills and creative spirit. We both want to foster inclusivity and broaden opportunities for a more diverse range of people, so the partnership makes good sense.”

The Postgraduate Certificate grounds students in the philosophy, history and methodology of teaching creative writing, helps them design a creative writing course suitable for their teaching context, and explores techniques for providing constructive feedback.

“The Joint Course Director, Dr Lucy Durneen, and I designed the course that we wished we’d had when we started out in teaching,” says Midge. “It’s a great opportunity to keep up with trends such as decolonising the reading list and being aware of texts that could be inspiring for a more diverse classroom.

“People come to the Teaching Creative Writing course from a wide range of backgrounds; one of the great benefits is learning alongside students and sharing ideas and experiences. Peer-to-peer support is a really important part of the course.

“You don't have to be an aspiring writer to join the course, although you’ll probably enjoy taking part in some of the class writing exercises.”

The course starts in October 2021 and all bursary applications must be made by the registration deadline of 7th June 2021.


To find out more about the First Story Teaching Creative Writing bursaries, take a look at the Fees and Funding tab on the course page.

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