SOAS University of London

School of Arts

Writing Across the Arts

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

As a vital means of communication with diverse audiences, writing serves a practical purpose across professions, but also enables deeper thinking through processes of reflection and revision. This module introduces first-year students to ways of writing across the arts and creative industries, teaching them to recognize and value the creativity, independent thinking, and intellectual risk-taking involved in effective academic writing. This module will equip students with a necessary toolkit for writing at the university level and in their subsequent careers, with interdisciplinary and practical application in Art History, Music, English, and Film, and beyond.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Learn to recognize conventions of writing—including style, voice, tone, and diction—that are distinctive to specific disciplines, and to use these conventions in ways that are appropriate for specific audiences, genres, and situations
  • Develop and consolidate a recursive writing practice that involves drafting, revising, and implementing feedback from readers at any and every point along the way
  • Define a compelling and viable research problem, question, or project, and to formulate a coherent thesis in response to the problem, question, or project
  • Understand how to use sources effectively and with academic integrity, including using the library and other research tools to locate sources and manage searches efficiently and ethically, and engaging with sources in a robust intellectual dialogue, always distinguishing one’s own ideas from those of others
  • Cultivate other beneficial practices and habits of research, reading, writing, and peer review, such as: planning and documenting the steps or stages of a writing project, keeping track of source citations, and insightfully critique their own writing and the writing of others


2-hour seminars per week.

Method of assessment

  • One 500 word film or album review - 15%
  • One 500 word discussion paper - 15%
  • One 2,000 word essay - 60%
  • Attendance, class preparation, in-class writing activities (e.g. peer-review work) and participation - 10%

Suggested reading

  • D'Alleva, Anne. Look!: The Fundamentals of Art History. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J. ; Harlow: Pearson Education, 2010.
  • Hjortshoj, Keith. The Transition to College Writing. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009.
  • Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel K. Durst. "they Say / I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, with Readings. New York; London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.
  • Williams, Joseph M, and Joseph Bizup. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, 2015.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules