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Delegation from Sun Yat– sen University, China set to inspire UOW writing students  

University of Wollongong, Creative Writing Students write their way to China

This week, visiting scholars, Professor Fan DAI, Director of the Centre for Creative Writing, School of Foreign Languages and Professor Chenguang CHANG, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, from Sun Yat-sen University in Southern China spoke with Creative Writing Students from University of Wollongong (UOW) in a bid to build writing networks and experiential learning opportunities between the two Universities.
Sun Yat-sen University is home to China’s first English language writing program.  10 UOW students have been selected to participate in a 10 day writing program in China in December 2014 aimed at second and third year creative writing students.  During their visit, Catherine Cole, Professor of Creative Writing at UOW said the writing program is a new initiative between the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts and Sun Yat– sen University.
“We are thrilled with the partnership as it offers students from both writing programs the opportunity to write and learn together and gain insights into each culture as they write.  The Asia-Bound project will provide students the opportunity to examine, research and write about China’s unique approaches to creative writing” she said.
The visit has also let to discussions other prospective student activities, publications, joint research and the potential of tri-partitite projects with other international Universities. Professor Fan DAI and Professor Chenguang CHANG also met with the Professor Joe Chicharo, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), Dr Bill Damachis, Director, Transnational Education & Alliances and Ms Jessica Sun, Senior Coordinator, Offshore and Twinning (North East Asia).
Creative Arts students majoring in Creative Writing intending on completing Honours were encouraged to apply to take part in the program.  As part of their application, students had to submit a 2000 word creative piece of any genre along with a statement about why they wanted to go to China and how the experience would benefit their writing.  The successful students met with both Professors this week for the first time.
English Creative Writing classes were virtually unheard of in China until 2005.  The first Creative Writing course in Sun Yat-sen University ran for a full academic year from September 2009.  Professor Dai said Creative Writing is still relatively new in China and such there have not been previous studies about its educational and humanist potential. Research on the teaching of writing in China she said was mainly focused on the benefits of writing in improving proficiency in English as a second language.
“My experience of teaching Creative Writing at Sun Yat-sen University has allowed students to write what they wish to write, which has typically concerned their experiences, personal lives, and their relationships. They are encouraged to think critically by critiquing their peers’ stories in workshops, sharing their experiences and, ultimately, writing their own ‘inside stories’ for a wider English-reading audience. This has led to an increased engagement in the program that, incidentally, has also strengthened the teaching of traditional writing skills, although in a less obvious (but arguably more powerful) fashion” she said.
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Last reviewed: 16 May, 2014