Writing Across the Arts

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts

Module overview

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. Activities and assessments will not only help students develop skills in interpretative analysis and critical argumentation, but also encourage an aptitude for different styles of writing in response to the arts.

These skills are exercised through in-class activities and short assessments, such as writing didactic wall labels, and film, book and exhibition reviews, with a culminating and more substantial piece of critical writing shaped through incremental processes of revision.

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, Creative Arts, Film Studies and beyond.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Recognize conventions of writing 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
  • 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.
  • Use study skills effectively.


  • Seminars: 2hrs per week

Scope and syllabus

The module will address critical respones to art, music and film; critical writing and reading; the art of the review; modes of presenting; developing research questions; peer-review and revision.

Method of assessment

  • One 500-word review/report (worth 30%)
  • One 1,500-word essay/report (worth 70%)

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.



Marcus Gilroy-Ware


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules