Griffith University

 

Nicola Boyd


Describing the creative writing thesis: a census of creative writing doctorates, 1993-2008

 

Abstract
This paper examines data collected on creative writing doctoral theses awarded in Australia and New Zealand up until June 2008 with regard to demographics, differences between awards, ease of access to theses and publishability. Using this analysis, ideas on further avenues for creative writing research are considered - including focus on popular genres.
This paper responds to calls within the discipline, notably from Webb and Brien's 2006 paper 'Strategic Directions for Research in Writing: A Wish List', to increase the discipline's strategic understanding of what has already been achieved in order to improve the sustainability of the discipline, provide better information for decision-making and promote the discipline's ability to deliver high quality research.
This paper presents only a small portion of the research needed regarding qualifications offered in the discipline and shines light on the gaps that remain.

 


Introduction

How many doctorates have been awarded to creative writing theses in Australia? Which universities did these come from? What kind of creative works are submitted as part of these theses? How publishable is the 'publishable quality' of the creative writing doctorate? Are there differences between theses written for Doctor of Creative Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees? How easy is it to access creative writing theses?

Despite more than a decade of discussion of postgraduate creative writing in TEXT, many questions remain unanswered. Webb and Brien in their 2006 paper 'Strategic Directions for Research in Writing: A Wish List' note that 'writing remains an under-researched discipline, nationally and internationally'. They advocate that more research be conducted on creative writing programs because '[b]asic, foundational data on this sector is … unavailable' (Webb and Brien 2006).

In this paper I hope to add to the pool of knowledge about creative writing doctorates through the discussion of a census, data gathering and analysis I have conducted on the topic. I also hope to promote awareness of the complex, diverse and eminently publishable nature of creative writing doctoral theses in Australia.


Building a database: gathering data and limitations

The student who proposes to complete his graduate studies
with a creative thesis faces problems which his fellow students,
pursuing more conventional research paths, never encounter …
his path is, to say the least, uncharted. (Moody 1958: 223)

My census, taken during 2007/2008, set out to discover all creative writing PhDs and DCAs submitted in Australia and New Zealand up to June 2008. As it turned out, all the theses sourced were from Australian universities in the last fifteen years (the first being written by Graeme Harper, University of Technology, Sydney, in 1993). The census was undertaken via a variety of gathering means (see below) and recorded in a Microsoft Excel worksheet; it includes information such as name, gender and publishing history of candidate, university of origin, year of award, description of creative product and exegesis, subsequent publication history of the thesis, and so on. The data has been analysed using descriptive statistics - pivot tables and formulae. While my database of 199 successful submissions cannot be verified as the full and absolute population of awarded doctoral theses in creative writing, it is a population as close as anyone could reasonably be expected to find in the current circumstances.

The challenges in collecting this information are discussed here in some detail, along with the implications for postgraduates attempting to contextualise their own creative theses. There are gaps in this data that result from issues surrounding the data gathering. The key challenge of this aspect of the research has been: what is a creative writing PhD/DCA?

There is substantial variance in length, structure and content in the PhDs and DCAs awarded in the scoped period from the earliest submitted Australian thesis, in 1993, up to June 2008. Initially I looked to examine a sample of PhDs and DCAs across the world, but the difficulty in identifying and obtaining such data caused me to re-evaluate this idea and concentrate on building a database from the population of doctoral theses in creative writing submitted in Australia and New Zealand.

The particular issues that prompted the new parameters were precipitated by failed attempts to source creative writing PhDs from the USA Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) and UK Electronic Theses: EThOS - the Electronic Theses Online Service which had poor to non-existent information. The library entries of individual universities in all countries have substantial variation in the usefulness of searches and completeness of information in order to identify doctoral theses. The most useful and complete information source for Australian theses was the Australian Digital Theses (ADT) Program site (Australian Digital Theses Program n.d.), and even this showed considerable gaps. Once I identified what I thought to be a creative writing PhD or DCA the problems I encountered included:

  • several universities would not provide their theses under any circumstances via interlibrary loan or even via personal pick-up
  • of those universities which would not provide copies for interlibrary loan, some could be obtained either by going to the library in person or by purchasing a copy at substantial cost
  • a few universities had restrictions on use such as 'Access to this thesis is RESTRICTED to academic staff and research students of Flinders University until…' (Flinders University library catalogue n.d.). This is a restriction imposed by the university. The special collections librarian at Flinders University informed me that 'under university regulations we are required to impose the restriction unless the student explicitly waives it' (Dooley 2008)
  • some authors have embargoed their theses for reasons such as the possibility of future publication
  • some libraries could not provide additional details about their theses in order to identify them as indeed creative writing PhDs and also not for other awards such as Master of Arts or PhD in Performing Arts
  • due to the nature of creative writing PhDs, which can sometimes be cross-disciplinary, it was often difficult to classify the creative writing PhD
  • the search functions for catalogues and thesis repositories are very limited and therefore I could not identify or further investigate gaps in the information I had gathered.

I would like to note that I am by no means singling out Flinders University for restrictions to accessing creative writing theses. However, by examining Australian universities based on the affiliation they have with university groupings, and the purpose of each group, it may be possible to speculate about the types of universities which have more restrictive practices. According to the Australian Education Network website:

  • 'The Group of Eight (go8) markets itself as the group of "Australia's Leading Universities".
  • 'The Australian Technology Network (ATN) is a coalition of five Australian universities that share a common focus on the practical application of tertiary studies and research … [and is] closely aligned to the needs of industry and the wider society.
  • 'Innovative Research Universities Australia (IRU Australia) is a group of six universities that share a common mode of operation… [and] the group believes that they will be able to establish research concentrations and investment across the universities.
  • 'The New Generation Universities (NGU) grouping is limited to institutions that have received university accreditation since 1970 … [They have] a distinctive approach to university operations in the way this is based on the interactions of learning, teaching, research, and community engagement.' (Australian Education Network 2009)[note 1]

I experienced restrictive practices in my attempts to borrow theses from:

  • University of Melbourne (Go8)
  • University of Queensland (Go8)
  • University of Sydney (Go8)
  • University of Western Australia (Go8)
  • Curtin University (ATN)
  • Queensland University of Technology (ATN)
  • University of Technology, Sydney (ATN)
  • Flinders University (IRU Australia)
  • University of Newcastle (IRU Australia)
  • Southern Cross University (NGU)
  • University of Western Sydney (NGU)
  • Macquarie University (IRU Australia)
  • University of Wollongong (Not Affiliated)
  • and, to a small degree, University of New South Wales (Go8).

All but two of the Go8 and ATN universities restricted access to theses to in-person visits to the university library, full payment for a whole thesis and/or no access under any circumstances to external staff or students. Conversely, a high proportion of the IRU Australia and the now non-aligned (previously NGU) universities provided online access or access at nominal cost. The nature of the grouping affiliation may provide some insight into this. Go8 universities have a privilege of position that could contribute to their valorising the research of their graduates over other universities (making them loath to share). ATN universities, which put themselves forward as industry-focused, and IRU Australia universities, concerned about investment in research, might be seen to foster the perspective of the commercial value of new ideas (perhaps contributing to their restrictive practices). Later, I will examine these ideas further.

Further complicating this research was a lack of information on, and variations in the definitions used to identify, creative writing theses. After an initial search of library catalogues and Australian Digital Theses (ADT), and the narrowing of parameters to Australian and New Zealand universities, I contacted key academics at each university offering creative writing PhDs and DCAs, using the AAWP's list of writing courses and contacts (The Australian Association of Writing Programs n.d.). (I can truthfully say here that in the early stages of my investigation I naively expected the AAWP would have a bibliography of creative writing doctorates as part of promoting high level research being conducted in the discipline.) Sometimes, where academics couldn't help or if the key academic could not be identified, especially in cases where creative theses are produced in a variety of schools in a university, I contacted school secretaries, university librarians; and postgraduate research or graduation units.

Most of the information I gathered was sourced from key academics, but often it relied heavily on information those academics themselves had to hand, and it was variable. Some lecturers could provide all of the information, others just the postgraduate's name. What was interesting when communicating with the academics was the difference between their perception of access to PhD submissions and the reality. Several lecturers suggested it would be relatively easy for me to find the theses and that all of them would be available through electronic access. This perception was no fault of the academics; certainly it would be reasonable to assume that ADT would have at least a catalogue entry on all theses.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a lack of emphasis placed by universities on ensuring this kind of information is correct and easily available. At one time the National Library required a copy of all theses to be submitted; now a copy may or may not go to ADT and often theses are entirely absent from this site. Academics did their best to give me full and correct information, but remain unsupported due to what seems to be a lack of oversight in the process of preserving theses Australia-wide. I am not alone in noticing the issues regarding accessing information on the creative writing doctorate in Australia. Krauth's paper, 'The Creative Writing Doctorate in Australia: An Initial Survey', written almost a decade ago, states:

The survey showed up, rather alarmingly, the difficulty a prospective student will find in locating information about the current small crop of creative writing doctorates in both web-based and print materials disseminated by the 8 universities involved. (Krauth 2001)

The situation persists today, and is worse, due to the much greater number of schools and theses involved.

Cleaning the data I gathered included: filling information gaps; checking the graduate had achieved the qualification that was in scope; and evaluating available information to correctly categorise it (e.g. genre, type of creative work). I used the following methods to obtain much of the bibliographic information about PhDs and DCAs:

  • Interlibrary Loan
  • download from the Australian Digital Theses Program website
  • visit in person to the university, when the university was local to Brisbane
  • searches of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations website
  • document delivery for parts of the thesis (usually the Abstract, Table of Contents, parts of the Bibliography, Creative work and Exegesis on a fair dealing basis).

Other information, such as the publication history of the authors of creative theses and specifically if any element of the creative thesis was published, was primarily sourced from Austlit: The Australian Literature Resource (n.d.), author blogs, publisher websites and general web searches. This information may not be complete, but every effort to identify publishing history of authors and theses has been made.

I have identified 199 Australian university creative writing doctoral submissions in the process of this research; and I have gained full access to 116 of them. The lack of access is mainly due to the restrictive practices of some universities and lack of reciprocal borrowing. Twenty submissions for which I had titles were not available at all and an additional 63 were not available at nominal cost. As a creative writer I consider the restriction of a creative thesis by the author for a few years, in order to attempt publication, quite reasonable. However, blanket policies by universities that temporarily or permanently restrict all theses is clearly knowledge-hoarding and a barrier to research in the discipline. Additionally, in the spirit of knowledge-sharing and parity among institutions, I believe that unrestricted theses should only incur a nominal cost for borrowing or copying - particularly to other universities for research. Some universities have all or almost all of their theses online or available for borrowing, notably:

  • University of Adelaide (Go8)
  • University of New South Wales (Go8) (all but one)
  • University of South Australia (ATN)
  • Griffith University (IRU Australia)
  • La Trobe University (IRU Australia)
  • Murdoch University (IRU Australia)
  • University of Canberra (NGU)
  • Edith Cowan University (NGU)
  • Victoria University (NGU), and
  • Deakin University ((not affiliated).

These universities are predominantly from Innovative Research Universities Australia or the now non-aligned (previously NGU) groupings that, from their group descriptions, have a focus on sharing research across universities and the community. It might be reasonable to assume in light of the Go8 and ATN universities being more restrictive of access to their theses overall that there is a culture here of valorising the output of 'higher level' or commercially-focused universities.

Purchasing whole theses (estimated at over $6000 for my research purposes) or undertaking interstate travel to substantially benefit my project, has not been financially viable - thus there are gaps in my final database. Even if this were not the case, on principle I find the idea that a postgraduate's original contribution to knowledge is not shared freely with his/her peers by their university is in violation of a key purpose of completing this kind of qualification. Specifically, an original contribution to knowledge should be freely available to benefit others working in the discipline.

The blanket policies at work here restrict information for the privilege of universities' own members. I argue that if I cannot see my peers' work at a nominal cost and instead must pay a substantial fee or travel to see it, then selected universities are inferring that their own students' work is more valuable than those in universities which have more accessible PhDs. In a very real sense this does graduates of these universities no favours since the students' theses are not allowed to do the work for which they were produced.

Another key aspect of the research problem is one of classification. There is no universal classification of creative writing PhDs on the Australian Digital Theses Program website and many are missing altogether to be found only on university school websites or library catalogues, albeit with often limited information. Also, classification criteria for theses ranges from: which supervisor the candidate worked with, to the form of the thesis or the type of award. The records are cryptic and incomplete and I mapped my journey, metaphorically speaking, through the research process by marching down dead end roads, finding new routes and peering at broken street signs. There is no central place where all creative writing PhDs can be found and no sure way of searching them all out.

Fortunately, with information gathered from many sources, I have been able to build a database which includes considerable information about the population of creative writing PhDs and DCAs, and their publishing history, accessibility and form; but my database cannot yet be validated as a complete list of doctoral theses in creative writing awarded.


Data parameters

My research identifies 199 creative writing PhDs, DCAs and a 'Doctorate' awarded between January 1993 and June 2008. The database contains information on type of award; author gender and publishing history; title, genre and form of creative work, exegesis and thesis; and year, school and university in which the qualification was awarded. The purpose of the data analysis is to convey an overview of the shape of high level creative theses in Australia and New Zealand, and answer several questions which are important to the discipline:

  • What type of qualification is most frequently awarded and where?
  • When were the qualifications awarded? Has the popularity of creative theses grown since they first became available?
  • What is the gender of authors awarded creative writing PhDs and DCAs, and does this differ from other disciplines?
  • What types of submission are most common and most commonly published after completion?
  • How likely are creative writing theses, awarded at this level, to be published?
  • Is there a difference, in quality and quantity of academic work or publishability, between DCAs and PhDs?
  • Which genre of creative work is more common and which more publishable amongst these theses?

Twenty-seven Australian universities offered the awards I tracked, but there were no New Zealand universities offering, or which had graduated, creative writing doctorates by June 2008. I did discover one PhD at University of Auckland that fitted the format and style of a creative writing PhD, but was submitted for a different discipline (University of Auckland does not offer a creative doctorate). This submission, 'Locating the Story of Betty Wark; A Biographical Narrative with Reflective Annotations' by Helene Connor, submitted to the Faculty of Arts, is formed in two parts: a creative work (a biography) and a thesis comprised of 'theoretical underpinnings of Maori feminism and Kaupapa Maori as they relate to biography as a research method into the lives of Maori women' (Connor 2006). The structure of this thesis, comparable with the exegesis-creative product model, but not identified as such, seems to highlight the difficulty in defining the creative writing thesis.


Demographics

What type of qualification is most frequently awarded and where?
153 PhDs, 45 DCAs and one Professional Doctorate have been identified as successfully submitted for the highest postgraduate award in creative writing across 27 universities. Bond University, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of New England offer a creative doctorate, but had not awarded any by mid-2008. This is shown graphically below (Figure 1: 'Type and number of thesis awarded by university') with an additional breakdown of the number and type of qualifications awarded per university. It should be noted that some universities offer both PhDs and DCAs and I will refer to all awards collectively as theses.

Figure 1: Type and number of thesis awarded by university by 30 June 2008

The top ten thesis-producing universities have between them awarded 154 theses. In the first five years of creative writing doctorates being awarded (1993-1998), seven of these top ten universities awarded at least one PhD or DCA. This suggests that the length of time that the qualification has been available at a university has a substantial impact on how many have been awarded in total. However, the University of Adelaide and Edith Cowan University only began awarding these qualifications in 2002/2003 and have now awarded the second and third largest number overall.

It can be seen from Figure 1 that University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), University of Western Sydney (UWS), Curtin University and University of Wollongong (UW) are the only universities to award DCAs in Creative Writing, but they all also offer PhDs. These four universities have awarded nearly thirty per cent (29.6%) of the total qualifications and were among the first universities to award any type of creative writing doctorate. In the case of UTS, UWS and UW (first, fourth and eighth respectively in terms of output) it seems likely that, by being among the first to offer these qualifications and by offering both professional and academic doctorates, they were able to attract higher numbers of students.[note 2] These universities have further claims to being pioneers in the creative writing discipline since three of them (UTS, Curtin and UWS) were previously Colleges of Advanced Education [CAEs] at which 'second-tier' level of education much early development of undergraduate creative writing teaching occurred. This was a likely contributor to their success in attracting postgraduate students. And Wollongong was the first of any tertiary institution to offer a DCA.[note 3]

When were the qualifications awarded? Has the popularity of creative theses grown since they first became available?
From the following graph (Figure 2: 'Number of creative writing doctorates awarded each year') it appears that the peak year for theses awarded was 2006. (It should be noted, however, that only six months of 2008 were included in the parameters of research.)

Figure 2: Number of creative writing doctorates awarded each year

University of Adelaide and Edith Cowan University began offering the creative writing PhD a decade ago and have significantly contributed to the rise in numbers with 48 awarded between them from 2002. The University of Adelaide made research higher degrees in writing a priority with the establishment of the first Chair of Creative Writing in Australia in 1997 (University of Adelaide 2009). 'The Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide is the only dedicated chair of creative writing in Australia, and is part funded by the South Australian Government through Arts SA' (University of Adelaide 2008). This showed a commitment by the university to promote research in the creative writing discipline, and was further supported by a publishing alliance the university made with Wakefield Press (Ellis 1997).

Associate Professor Glen Phillips, the founder of the creative writing program at Edith Cowan University (ECU), credits the success of the ECU creative writing PhD with a broad strategy:

  • beginning with a strong undergraduate writing program, to ensure high quality postgraduate students worked their way from the undergraduate to postgraduate programs;
  • having a writer in residence from 1970 - the first for an Australian university;
  • linking the writing program with the prestige of the university by installing a community-based writers centre at Edith Cowan's renovated cottage - giving students access to professional writers;
  • strong ties with publishers though relationships built with key staff and networking through existing publications; and
  • introducing public relations in the university as part of writing and English which enabled strong PR graduates to move into postgraduate creative writing.

This laid the foundation for the creative writing PhD, which he believed became 'in some ways a bit unstoppable' (Phillips 2009). As in many schools, the creative writing PhD at ECU was slipped under the radar. Emeritus Professor Andrew Taylor stated that: 'With the [ECU] PhD I decided initially it was best not to designate this specifically as a PhD in Writing for several reasons':

  • A PhD was considered a University rather than a Faculty award, and until then rarely had a discipline designation;
  • The university Council was reluctant to proliferate distinct awards;
  • Any attempt to label it as 'Writing' would probably have met resistance from other disciplines which would have objected to it being classed as a 'research' degree since it did not conform to the traditional definitions of university research. This has, as you know, been a long battle which only gradually has been won. (Taylor 2009)

Both agree that there were multiple strategies in place to ensure success, from the quality of the students and supervisors to an active university and community environment.

Other possible causes for the peak in creative doctorates awarded could include the push by universities, in the late 1990s, for academics to obtain a high level qualification in the discipline in order to continue teaching or be promoted; many theses completed were written by university lecturers and tutors.

What is the gender of authors awarded creative writing doctorates, and does this differ from other disciplines?
It can be seen in the following graph (Figure 3: 'Gender of authors awarded a creative writing doctorate') that in my database women are more likely to be awarded the highest qualification in creative writing with 62% of doctoral theses in creative writing having a female author (and thus just 38% being male).

Figure 3: Gender of authors awarded a creative writing doctorate

Statistics offered in A Decadic Review of PhDs in Australia which used data from the 1996 Australian Research Council report, Patterns of Research Activity in Australian Universities, indicated that in 1996 of the '31,140 students enrolled in doctorates by research … 16,368 are female (53%)' (Evans, Macauley et al. 2003: 3). More specifically, data in Figure 4 below shows an aggregate of information from the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations regarding the gender breakdown in creative arts doctorates by research in which 56% were awarded to females (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008a).


Figure 4: Aggregate of award course completions for creative arts doctorate by research
by gender, 2001-2007

Year
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
Total
% of total
Doctorate by research - males
79
80
77
52
61
61
43
453
44%
Doctorate by research - females
123
105
103
87
72
48
37
575
56%
Totals
202
185
180
139
133
109
80
1028
100%


From these comparison figures, it would be reasonable to expect a higher proportion of female graduates with creative writing doctoral theses than male. While this is a trend in all doctorates by research, there is still a somewhat higher proportion of women being awarded creative writing doctorates than male.

How publishable are creative writing doctorates?
The publishability of creative theses at this level is gratifyingly high with 100 of 199, or 50.3%, published in some way, whole or in part, and another 4.0% of the total soon to be published (i.e. forthcoming). The publishability of creative and exegetical elements is shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: Count and percentage of creative and exegetical elements of creative theses published

Type
Number published
% of total creative theses
(199
)
Creative
90
45%
Exegesis
34
17%
Both creative & exegesis
24
12%
Either creative or exegesis
100
50%


It is clear from Figure 5 that the creative works from doctoral theses are highly publishable; however, the exegesis has less than half the publication rate of the creative work. This may have something to do with the criterion for assessing the creative work, which is almost universally required to be of 'publishable quality'; therefore more emphasis is placed on publishing industry standards and commercial viability in the creative output of the thesis. (See Figures 16 and 17 below for a further breakdown of creative works published by genre category.) While there is a small, but noteworthy number of theses (i.e. 24 or 12%) which have had some or all of both the exegesis and creative work published, all but five of these particular authors had been published in some form before the creative doctorates were awarded, which would likely increase their overall chances of publication.

Figure 6 shows actual and forthcoming publication of both components of the creative writing thesis. ('Forthcoming' means there has been a notice by the author or publisher that the work will soon be published.)


Figure 6: Count and percentage of creative and exegetical elements of creative theses
published & forthcoming

Type
Number published
% of total creative theses
(199
)
Creative
98
49%
Exegesis
36
18%
Both creative & exegesis
25
13%
Either creative or exegesis
108
54%


It would be reasonable to assume that many creative writers complete a creative doctorate with publication in mind. With a 54% chance of having something published and 49% chance of having the creative work published in part or full, the creative doctorate is an attractive proposition on those terms.

Also of note is how well each university performs regarding their graduates achieving publication. Of the 24 universities who have awarded a creative writing doctorate, only four have had no publications so far, seemingly because Central Queensland University, Flinders University, La Trobe University, and the University of South Australia have so far only graduated one or two at this level. Likewise three universities that hold a 100% publication rate for one or more categories have only graduated one or two doctorates (University of Sydney; University of Newcastle; Murdoch University). A full list can be seen in Figures 7, 8 and 9 below. Please note that Figure 7 shows actual publications and Figure 9 shows actual and forthcoming publications.


Figure 7: Actual publication as a proportion of total awarded creative writing doctorates
per university

University
Creative
Exegesis
Number of part or all of a thesis published
Total awarded per university
% of total theses with one or more parts published per university
Central Queensland University
0
0
0
1
0%
Flinders University
0
0
0
2
0%
La Trobe University
0
0
0
1
0%
University of South Australia
0
0
0
2
0%
University of New South Wales
0
1
1
11
9%
Macquarie University
0
1
1
3
33%
Queensland University of Technology
0
1
1
3
33%
Southern Cross University
1
0
1
3
33%
University of Adelaide
9
2
10
27
37%
Victoria University
4
1
5
13
39%
Curtin University
1
1
1
2
50%
University of Canberra
1
1
2
4
50%
University of Melbourne
3
1
3
6
50%
University of Western Australia
2
0
2
4
50%
University of Western Sydney
8
5
8
15
53%
Edith Cowan University
12
0
12
21
57%
University of Technology, Sydney
17
6
17
29
59%
Deakin University
7
3
8
13
62%
Griffith University
6
4
8
13
62%
University of Wollongong
8
4
9
13
69%
University of Queensland
7
3
7
9
78%
Murdoch University
1
0
1
1
100%
University of Newcastle
2
0
2
2
100%
University of Sydney
1
0
1
1
100%
Total
90
34
109
199
N/A


Universities promote their history of publication. Certainly it seems that universities have enjoyed high levels of publication with the following publishers: Allen & Unwin; Fremantle Arts Centre Press; Five Islands Press; HarperCollins; Text Publishing; University of Queensland Press; Vintage; UWA Press; and Wakefield Press.

Having worked for a publisher, I understand that the printing of a book is the least expensive part. The less work that has to be done in preparation for printing a book, the less it costs and the more profitable it is likely to be. This would almost certainly make creative works from creative writing doctorates very attractive to publishers as the development of the manuscript has already been supervised and assessed by professionals.

However, another aspect of the publication of theses can be taken into account: 75% of all authors awarded a creative writing doctorate were published in some way, either academically or creatively, before they received their award. As can be seen from Figure 8 below, 13 of the 24 universities (54%) have more than 75% of their graduates with a publishing history prior to award; while just eight (33%) have more than 75% published outcomes so far.


Figure 8: Publication of authors before and after being awarded a creative doctorate

University
Published before creative doctorate awarded
% published before creative doctorate awarded
Published after creative doctorate awarded
% published after creative doctorate awarded
Total number of theses
Central Queensland University
0
0%
0
0%
1
University of South Australia
0
0%
1
50%
2
Southern Cross University
1
33%
0
0%
3
Macquarie University
1
33%
2
67%
3
University of New South Wales
4
36%
3
27%
11
Deakin University
6
46%
10
77%
13
Curtin University
1
50%
1
50%
2
University of Newcastle
1
50%
2
100%
2
Queensland University of Technology
2
67%
2
67%
3
University of Western Sydney
10
67%
12
80%
15
Edith Cowan University
15
71%
13
62%
21
Victoria University
10
77%
8
62%
13
Griffith University
10
77%
10
77%
13
University of Wollongong
11
85%
9
69%
13
University of Adelaide
23
85%
15
56%
27
University of Queensland
8
89%
9
100%
9
University of Technology, Sydney
27
93%
24
83%
29
La Trobe University
1
100%
0
0%
1
Flinders University
2
100%
1
50%
2
Murdoch University
1
100%
1
100%
1
University of Canberra
4
100%
1
25%
4
University of Sydney
1
100%
1
100%
1
University of Western Australia
4
100%
3
75%
4
University of Melbourne
6
100%
4
67%
6
Total
149
75%
132
66%
199


Of note in Figure 8 are those universities where the percentage of publications after award is less than prior to award. A key case here appears to be the University of Adelaide - 85% of its candidates arrived with a publishing history but only 56% of awarded submissions have any sort of publication so far. At the other end of the scale are those universities where the percentage of publications after award is higher than prior to award. For example, Deakin University appears to have a good record in accepting only 46% published candidates and turning out overall 77% publications. However, the dates of the award could influence this result as Deakin had most of its graduations between 2001 and 2003 and Adelaide between 2005 and 2007. This means Deakin graduates have had significantly more time to publish their PhDs and recover from the PhD process to continue their creative projects than have University of Adelaide graduates.

As an extension of the data in Figure 7 above, Figure 9 below includes forthcoming publications (as also included in Figure 8). It can take several years to achieve publication, particularly with larger works such as novels, thus snapshot statistics can be misleading. Thirty-five per cent of doctorates in my data were awarded in the last three years, and their publishability is still an active quotient.


Figure 9: Actual and forthcoming publication as a proportion of total awarded creative writing doctorates
per university

University Creative Exegesis Number of part or all of a thesis published Total awarded per university % of total theses with one or more parts published per university
Central Queensland University 0 0 0 1 0%
Latrobe University 0 0 0 1 0%
University of South Australia 0 0 0 2 0%
University of New South Wales 0 1 1 11 9%
Macquarie University 0 1 1 3 33%
Queensland University of Technology 0 1 1 3 33%
Southern Cross University 1 0 1 3 33%
Victoria University 4 1 5 13 39%
University of Adelaide 11 2 12 27 44%
Curtin University 1 1 1 2 50%
Flinders University 1 0 1 2 50%
University of Canberra 1 1 2 4 50%
University of Western Sydney 8 5 8 15 53%
Deakin University 7 3 8 13 62%
Griffith University 6 4 8 13 62%
University of Technology, Sydney 17 7 18 29 62%
Edith Cowan University 14 0 14 21 67%
University of Melbourne 4 1 4 6 67%
University of Wollongong 8 4 9 13 69%
University of Western Australia 3 1 3 4 75%
University of Queensland 8 3 8 9 89%
Murdoch University 1 0 1 1 100%
University of Newcastle 2 0 2 2 100%
University of Sydney 1 0 1 1 100%
Total 98 36 109 199 N/A



DCAs and PhDs compared

How big are the exegeses for DCAs and PhDs?
I recorded, wherever possible, the page count and length of bibliography for each exegesis in order to have some kind of quantitative measure to compare DCAs and PhDs. I excluded thirteen blended theses and the 'Doctorate' from this count, as these are either not applicable due to the style of the thesis or outside the scope of the question. Additionally, there were insufficient details available on a further 45 theses.

The page count of an exegesis does not give a quantifiable indication of its sophistication or critical value. From my reading I have noted that some of the longest exegeses are descriptions of the basic processes and proposals of the creative work with little substantial textual engagement or use of theory, while some of the shortest are clearly expressed theoretical and experimental works which address wider disciplinary issues. There is substantial variation in length and content of exegeses, but there appears to be little overall difference in the depth and critical quality of exegeses across qualifications.

On a quantitative level, I used measures of central tendency to examine the differences in exegeses between PhDs and DCAs. Twenty DCAs and 120 PhDs had enough information to be included. Although this is not a proportionate representation of the total population, there is only a 9% difference in the proportionate representation, between the PhDs/DCAs with enough details to be included in the analysis, and the total number of PhDs/DCAs - as can be seen in Figure 10. Most exegeses were double spaced, so the content across theses was approximately equal on a page-by-page basis.


Figure 10: Proportion of exegeses and measures of central tendency on number of pages in exegeses across awards

Data DCA PhD All exegeses
Average page numbers 158 115 121
Average page numbers of bibliography 13 12 12
Median page number 131 97 91
Range 73 - 411 32 - 411 32-411
Interquartile range 98.5 - 110 68.5 - 129.5 72 - 146
Percentage of total population 23% 77% 100%
Percentage of theses with details available 14% 86% 100%


It can be seen that there was less variance in exegeses for DCAs (which have a range of 73 to 411 pages and an interquartile range of 98.5 to 110 pages) compared with PhDs (which have a range of 32 to 411 pages and an interquartile range of 68.5 to 129.5 pages), although it is likely that the smaller number of DCAs measured contributed to this outcome. The length of bibliography might be deemed likely as an analysable measure of the scope of research undertaken for an exegesis. The average length of bibliography for DCAs was 13 pages and for PhDs 12 pages. It is clear that quantitative measures on page count and length of bibliography show DCA exegeses tend to be longer, but that greater length is not significantly reflected in the length of the bibliography.

DCAs are written predominantly by authors with a strong publishing history (see data for UTS and Wollongong in Figures 1 and 8). Thus a broader experience in writing may contribute to the increased size of a DCA exegesis. On the other hand, one might speculate that candidates coming from writing industries rather than academic backgrounds may wish to write exegeses at greater length in order to ensure the academic standard of their submission. Krauth suggests that there is parity between the PhD and DCA when he states: 'In the published documentation [from UTS and Wollongong] it is emphasised that the DCAs are equivalent to PhDs' (Krauth 2001); however, anecdotal evidence I have heard suggests that the DCA still struggles for prestige (now eight years after Krauth's survey) against its more established relative.

How publishable are DCAs and PhDs?
The general publishability of elements from creative theses across DCAs and PhDs is worth consideration. Publication is one of the key drivers of the creative writing discipline, so an analysis of how publishable the output is from each qualification is valuable in this context. I have used a basic method in assessing publishability; i.e. whether or not any part of the creative thesis has been published. The DCA is again ahead of the PhD with 26 of 45 DCAs (57.7%) being published in some way in contrast to 73 of 153 PhDs (47.7%). If forthcoming publication is included, the figures are slightly better for DCAs at 60% and considerably better for PhDs at 52.9%.

Thus the DCA appears to be more publishable than the PhD. However, this does not take into account the backgrounds of candidates. Almost all the authors of DCAs, 40 of 45 (88.8%), had been published before being awarded their DCA, usually with a long publication history; whereas only 45 of 153 (29.4%) of PhDs awarded had authors who had published before the PhD. This might suggest that one of the criteria universities use to decide who to accept as a DCA candidate is publication history, or that the DCA is more accessible to candidates who have a professional rather than academic background.

The statistics aren't all in favour of the DCA, however. The publishability of authors could also be considered to be a measure of quality, and authors awarded PhDs appear to have an increased publishability than those awarded DCAs. The number of authors published before being awarded a DCA was 40 of 45 (88.8%), and 36 (80%) have been published subsequent to award. The number of authors published before being awarded a PhD were 108 of 153 (70.5%), and 104 (68%) have been published after award. This shows that there is a smaller drop in publication if a PhD is completed instead of a DCA. It should be noted that many of these awards were recently conferred; authors would not have yet had time to organise publication.


Creative shape: questions about the creative work

Creative Writing is the study of writing (including poetry, fiction, drama and
creative non-fiction) and its contexts through creative production
and reflection on process. By writing, we mean not only books and
other printed materials, but also scripted and unscripted performances,
oral and recorded outputs, and the variety of forms possible in
electronic, digital and other new media. Creative Writing can use
any form or genre of writing as an exemplary subject of study,
but the productions of Creative Writing tend not to be informational,
but imaginative interpretations of the world that invite the complex participation
of the audience or reader. (Higher Education Committee of the National
Association of Writers in Education 2008: 2
)

What types of creative works are most common and most commonly published?
The most common creative work submitted as part of a creative doctorate is the novel, with 70.4% of theses having at least one novel submitted (not including verse novels or novellas). As might be expected, the novel is also the most published overall with 60%-63% (i.e. published, or published plus forthcoming) of the total published creative works. However, although less published, poetry can be considered more publishable. Of the 132 novels submitted with creative theses, 42% have actually been published, while 89% of the 18 theses with poetry included as the main creative form, have part or all of the creative work published. It is almost certainly the ability of verse novels and collections of poems to be published in part which increases the chance of publication.

Two figures below represent the form of creative works in the census. Figure 11 shows all works in theses including the thirteen blended theses. (Creative works by Catherine Le Nevez, Jan Hutchinson and Katrina Cosgrove were not included in this analysis as insufficient information was available from any source to classify the creative work so 196 theses are represented in Figures 11 and 12 below.)

Figure 12 groups the works where more than one have been included in the creative work for the thesis - therefore a total of 208 instances are represented across 196 theses. The form of creative work is only counted once per thesis even if multiple creative works were submitted.

These figures demonstrate a diversity of form and experimentation in the creative works submitted in doctoral theses, while confirming what has previously only been anecdotally known to the discipline - the novel is the most popular form of creative work submitted. However, poetry and plays are also popular, with several scripts/dramatic works accompanying essays having an interdisciplinary flavour across theatre and film studies. It is possible that the novel has attained popularity for this award due to the length of submission required to fulfil requirements - this being a substantial work of 40,000-80,000 words depending on the university guidelines.


Figure 11: Form of creative work in creative writing theses

While the novel is clearly the most commonly submitted creative work for creative writing doctoral theses, Figure 11 demonstrates the diversity of submissions across a range of forms. Often more than one creative work was submitted, or creative forms were blended or the subject of experimentation.

Figure 12: Type of creative work grouped into category forms


When grouped into the categories used in Figure 12, it becomes clear that the novel, play and poetry are the most common forms. Many of the exegeses which accompanied plays had a more performative element or discussed screen production. In the case of poetry and verse novels, the form of the thesis was more often blended than in the other forms, exegetical and creative elements being interspersed. However, while many novels were accompanied by a more traditional exegesis, a number were sites of experimentation or ficto-critical or theoretical exploration in which the academic voice was blended with the creative voice. These were predominantly literary, but a couple of the genre novels also followed this focus - specifically Snowmelt (Simpson Nikakis 1997), which subverts the masculine domination of the fantasy hero quest and The Fuzzboys (O'Mara 2005) which challenges the sexual orientation framework of adolescent fiction.

Which genre is most common?
The overall breakdown of genre type over 195 theses can be seen as overwhelmingly literary. Figure 13 below, 'Creative works categorised by overall type of genre', shows 85.6% of all creative works to be part of a literary genre, with 13.3% part of a popular genre. (Again, creative works by Le Nevez, Hutchinson and Cosgrove are excluded here and also Janet Gail Harrow's as there was insufficient information for classification.)


Figure 13: Creative works categorised by overall type of genre


The Macquarie dictionary defines literary as 'relating to or of the nature of books and writings, especially those classed as literature' (Delbridge, Bernard et al. 1991: 1035). It describes popular as 'suited to or intended for the general mass of people…[and] adapted to the ordinary intelligence or taste' (Delbridge, Bernard et al. 1991: 1376). The Encyclopædia Britannica online states:

Popular literature includes those writings intended for the masses and those that find favour with large audiences. It can be distinguished from artistic literature in that it is designed primarily to entertain. Popular literature, unlike high literature, generally does not seek a high degree of formal beauty or subtlety and is not intended to endure. (Encyclopædia Britannica 2009)

Taking these into account, I define a 'literary' genre as something consciously intellectual and stylistically imitative of canonical and 'high art' literature, whereas 'popular' genre literature is designed to entertain, is less self conscious and focuses on modern cultural concerns or subjects. When evaluating the creative works as part of this research, I was sometimes told which category the creative work fulfilled - literary, literary and popular, or popular - but usually used the above definitions as criteria to evaluate it.

The literary/popular divide has been commented on at some length within the discipline. While genre is considered appropriate to be taught in pop lit classes at undergraduate levels, there is still a perceived academic cultural bias toward the literary in postgraduate work. Kroll claims:

Popular can be understood in a variety of senses, too. Used pejoratively, it suggests inferior work; it can simply mean, however, literature that is "well-liked by many people" (Strinati 2-3), as Dominic Strinati points out in An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture. As writer-teachers who prize originality and craft, the popular work we would worry about would possess a cliché-ridden style or formulaic plot. If we accept that imagination is the basis of creativity, then we want creative product to be substantially from the student's imagination. Does popular literature simply have fewer dimensions than serious literature then? I think that it does, which means it can be used in fewer ways by fewer groups of readers. (Kroll 1999)

Kroll's position is challenged by Wilkins, who was awarded a creative writing PhD out of which her fantasy novel Giants of the Frost was later published by Harper Collins:

'Genre' is almost a dirty word among creative writers. It seems to imply something derivative rather than original, commercial rather than artistic, prescriptive rather than innovative. These perspectives, however, can be called into question by recognising that genres are not static, ahistorical categories. Rather, genres are processes. They are formed, negotiated and reformed, both tacitly and explicitly, by the interactions of authors, readers and (importantly) institutions. At work in any genre are regimes of verisimilitude: loose rules of plausibility and probability which mean that certain generic elements are expected and therefore indispensable if a genre is to be recognisable (to authors, readers, institutions) at specific times. (Wilkins 2005)

The debate about the value of popular genres can be cast in a different light when considering the creative writing doctoral thesis. The key examinable criterion for the creative work across universities is that it be of publishable quality. If the literary and the popular are examined within the frame of 'publishable quality', indeed publishability, it becomes clear that Wilkins' position is the stronger. (See my further discussion of creative works published by genre category at Figures 16 and 17 below.)

This raises questions regarding the intellectual quality of the creative thesis and whether it is possible, in the case of a popular genre creative component, for a thesis to be both publishable and not a contribution to knowledge. Publishability (perhaps depending on the publisher involved - again an area for further research) may indeed indicate an increased cultural or intellectual value of the ideas being put forward.

Many of the creative works were hard to categorise, no doubt a function of the fact that the doctoral creative product has been a site of genre experimentation and cross-genre work. While the specific genre itself was usually described or stated by the author or the academic providing information about the thesis, the categorisation of those genres was predominantly assigned by me. Genre can be subjective and in some cases can flip between popular and literary: for instance, a biography of a popular football celebrity written for a general audience is very different from a feminist theory-informed biography of an historically-obscure poisoner. In many cases my criteria for considering the work as literary or popular is derived from a speculation upon the type of publisher who would be interested in the work. There is substantial diversity across the doctoral theses, with 85 specific genres identified, as can be seen in Figure 14 below.


Figure 14: Creative works categorised by specific type of genre

Specific genre
Literary
Popular
Literary & popular
Total
Adolescent Fantasy Fiction
-
2
-
2
Adolescent Fiction
-
4
-
4
Auto/Biographical Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Auto/Biographical Memoir
1
-
-
1
Auto/Biography
2
-
-
2
Autobiography
6
1
-
7
Biography
3
-
-
3
Children's Literature
-
1
-
1
Contemporary Australian Fiction
6
-
-
6
Contemporary Drama
2
-
-
2
Contemporary Feminist Literary Fiction
1
-
-
1
Contemporary Gothic
-
-
1
1
Contemporary Literary Fiction
10
-
-
10
Contemporary Post-Avant Poetry
1
-
-
1
Crime Fiction
-
4
-
4
Cross Cultural/Cross-lingual Literary Fiction
1
-
-
1
Cross-Cultural Literary Fiction
8
-
-
8
Eco-Poetry
1
-
-
1
Eco-Poetry/ Mythological Poetry
1
-
-
1
Educational Comedy
-
1
-
1
Electronic Poetry
-
1
-
1
Environmental Fiction
1
-
-
1
Epic Drama
1
-
-
1
Epic Fantasy
-
1
-
1
Epic Performance Poetry
1
-
-
1
Epic Poetry
2
-
-
2
Experimental Fiction
1
-
-
1
Experimental Poetry
2
-
-
2
Experimental Poetry/Biography
1
-
-
1
Experimental/Quasi-Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Fantasy
-
1
-
1
Fantasy, Space Opera & Science Fiction
-
1
-
1
Fantasy/Narrative Poetry
-
1
-
1
Fictionalised Biography
2
-
-
2
Fictionalized Auto/Biography
1
-
-
1
Ficto-Critical
5
-
-
5
Ficto-Critical Adolescent Memoir
1
-
-
1
Ficto-Critical Autobiographical History
1
-
-
1
Ficto-Critical Autobiography
1
-
-
1
Ficto-Critical Autobiography & Biography
1
-
-
1
Geographically Focused Fiction
2
-
-
2
Ghosts Fiction/ Feminist Fiction
1
-
-
1
Gothic Literary
1
-
-
1
Historical Crime Fiction
1
1
-
2
Historical Fantasy
-
1
-
1
Historical Fiction
8
-
-
8
Historical Socialist Fiction
1
-
-
1
Holocaust Fiction
2
-
-
2
Hybridised Contemporary Neo-Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Life writing
2
-
-
2
Literary Fiction
11
-
-
11
Magic Realism
5
-
-
5
Memoir
8
-
-
8
Modern Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Modern Historical Fiction 'Factorial'
-
1
-
1
Modern History Neo-Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Modern Poetry
6
-
-
6
Multimedia
1
-
-
1
Mythological Neo-Historical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Neo-Biographical Fiction
1
-
-
1
Neo-Historical Biography
3
-
-
3
Neo-Historical Feminist Fiction
1
-
-
1
Neo-Historical Fiction
6
-
-
6
Noir
-
1
-
1
Non-Fiction Crime
-
1
-
1
Non-Fiction Survivor Narratives
1
-
-
1
Oral Tradition/Folk Tales
-
1
-
1
Pastoral Drama
1
-
-
1
Pastoral Poetry
1
-
-
1
Poetry & Poetry soundscape
1
-
-
1
Performance Poetry
1
-
-
1
Postcolonial Immigrant Fiction
1
-
-
1
Political Autobiography
1
-
-
1
Realism
18
-
1
19
Religious Fiction
1
-
-
1
Satire
1
-
-
1
Science Fiction
-
1
-
1
Speculative Fiction
-
1
-
1
Third World Political Fiction
1
-
-
1
Thriller
1
-
-
1
Tragedy
1
-
-
1
Translated Poetry
1
-
-
1
Urban Fiction
3
-
-
3
WWII Historical Adolescent Fiction
1
-
-
1
WWII Historical Fiction
2
-
-
2
Total
167
26
2
195


Figure 14 represents the initial raw categories I identified. Extensive cross-genre experimentation has been undertaken in these creative works, and I gained a better genre understanding by grouping them into broader categories which I have called 'types'. It thereby becomes clear that Biography and Autobiography, often themselves combined, remain the genre types most commonly chosen. The prevalence of Autobiography / Biography genres, alongside literary fiction, realism and historical fiction genres, seems due to the influence of the debate regarding the valorisation of literary genres. My own experience when proposing to write in a popular genre for my doctoral thesis was that in 2003 it was still considered to be a somewhat uncertain proposition.


Figure 15: Genres grouped by type


One might contend that Figure 15 can be read as an indication of favoured sites of contestation as much as a list of increasing difficulty of endeavour in the academic context. 'Literary', 'Historical' and 'Realism' are not necessarily safe types to work with in the creative writing academy; and 'Experimental' or 'Ficto-critical' are not the only types where significant experimentation takes place.

Which genre is most publishable?
Here I have resorted to the three basic categories: literary, literary and popular, and popular (see Figure 13). The relative publishability of popular genres can be seen to be higher than literary genres in the following tables (Figures 16 and 17). (Please note, four works could not be classified or included due to a lack of information on those theses.)

Figure 16: Creative works published by genre category

Genre
Not published
Published
Total works
% of total in the genre published
Literary
92
75
167
45%
Literary & popular
2
0
2
0%
Popular
11
15
26
58%
Total
105
90
195
N/A


If forthcoming publication is included, the popular genres continue to be more publishable, with 65% of popular genre creative work published or soon to publish.


Figure 17: Creative works published and forthcoming by genre category

Genre
Not published
Published
Total works
% of total in the genre published
Literary
87
80
167
48%
Literary & popular
1
1
2
50%
Popular
9
17
26
65%
Total
97
98
195
N/A


There continues to be an academic focus on the publishability of creative works as the primary assessment benchmark. Ironically, universities appear to encourage less publishable literary creative works to form part of the creative writing doctorate. If the assessment for a creative work continues to be its potential as published work, then universities may wish to reconsider their position regarding popular genres. Popular genres remain the second-class citizens of creative doctorates, sometimes reviled or dismissed as inferior to literary genres; but this stance can no longer be supported by the very criteria with which they are assessed - publishability.

If experimentation within the creative doctorate is to continue in congruence with the aim of publication, then it seems reasonable to suggest that popular genres could be reframed within the academy as possible new sites of radical engagement. This does not mean the end of more traditional exegesis-plus-creative-work models; quite the opposite. There is an opportunity to expand the horizons of the creative writing thesis to bring the literary to the popular, the popular to the academic, and stylistic equality to the award.

With the continuing decline of independent publishing and the literary novel in Australia, the discipline needs to find new ways to support and encourage writers to be published. If popular genres are considered to have a less than academic flavour, then there is now the chance for creative writing doctorates to experiment with injecting a literary flavour into those genres. And vice versa: if literature is being less read, academic experimentation may discover the reason and the cure. The exegesis will continue to be a place where boundaries are pushed or ignored and literary genres enjoy a burgeoning experimental drive. Personally, I see the new point on the horizon as the popular genre.

Notes

1. Universities which were previously New Generation Universities (a group disbanded in 2007) are now non-aligned. I have used this grouping in order to examine the current and historical affiliation to see if it has any correlation with current policies on the availability of doctoral theses from these universities. return to text

2. Differences in university student numbers do not seem to play a role in the number of creative doctorates that have been awarded at these universities: UTS, at the top of the list, in 2006 had 33,000 students; Melbourne and Curtin, much further down the list, had 43,000 and 39,000 respectively. Adelaide and Edith Cowan, second and third on the list, are relatively smaller universities with 19,000 and 24,000 respectively (Department of Education, Science and Training 2007). Possibly, the strength of the creative arts program in a particular university, or the availability of other creative writing awards in the locality, is of greater significance. From Figure 1 it is clear, however, that the creative writing doctorate is particularly flourishing in Sydney (total 59), which is currently well ahead of Melbourne (total 33). return to text

3. There is still contention about who started creative writing in Australian universities, in particular undergraduate programs. Many claims have been made, but to my knowledge no definitive study has been conducted. Each claimant appears to have a different criterion that puts them first. Some of the claims are:

  • University of Canberra and Curtin University (then an IHE) both claim to have instituted undergraduate creative writing programs in 1970
  • Dawson (2001) identifies the University of Canberra establishing its program in 1970 as a diploma course, and by 1974 it was a 3 year degree course
  • Curtin University and the University of Technology, Sydney offered a major in writing in the 1970s
  • University of Adelaide was the first to have a creative writing chair
  • Edith Cowan University was the first to have a writer in residence
  • Etc.

Many pioneer CAEs and universities contributed to the quality of educational experiences in the creative writing discipline in Australia. There is certainly prestige attached to the first teaching of creative writing in the tertiary sector, but further research is required to establish who did it. return to text


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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank all the academics who helped me complete this research and gave so generously of their time. In particular, I would like to thank Associate Professor Glen Phillips and Emeritus Professor Andrew Taylor for providing insight into the history of creative writing at Edith Cowan University. Also, for his support, advice, encouragement and editing skills, I very much appreciate the help of my PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Nigel Krauth.

 

Nicola Boyd is a part-time PhD student in Creative Writing at Griffith University, Gold Coast and a full-time statistical officer with the Queensland Government. She has a background in the publishing industry and project management. In her PhD exegesis she examines the creative thesis using strange loop theory and the history of confession to explore the possibility of creating new models and research frameworks for creative writers in the academy. The thesis includes a cyberpunk detective science fiction novel dealing with the nature of intelligence, rights and reality.

 

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TEXT
Vol 13 No 1 April 2009
http://www.textjournal.com.au
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Jen Webb
Text@griffith.edu.au