Creative writing programmes and patronage

Gupta, Suman (2019). Creative writing programmes and patronage. British Journal of Educational Studies, 67(3) pp. 321–336.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2019.1657558

Abstract

Creative Writing programmes in universities now offer both an education for and employment to literary writers. This papers asks how literary writers apprehend their relatively recently institutionalised position, as university staff and students. The concept of ‘patronage’, it is argued, offers a useful way into reflecting upon such academic institutionalisation. The argument is presented in three parts. The first outlines some of the conceptual nuances of patronage. The second examines the oft made claim that universities extend patronage to literary writers by enabling employment as Creative Writing staff. The third part engages with a question: what precisely does a student expect to gain from a Creative Writing programme and what does the degree validate? It is suggested that Creative Writing programmes are designed principally to offer supportive patronage, with a promise – but without guarantees – of entry into a financial patronage system. A brief conclusion considers the bearing of these arguments on Creative Writing as a school subject.

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