Courses offered in MACWCP Programme
Stylistics and Aesthetics
This course aims to explore the field of literary stylistics and its relationship to aesthetics and phenomenology in a cross-cultural context. The course will enable students to better understand how both beauty and meaning are formed with words across various cultural and literary traditions and so better understand their own creative practice. A variety of academic and creative texts from across cultures will be studied. Having read model texts, students will compose new creative works – in prose, poetry, script etc. according to their preference – and discuss techniques and philosophies of writing related to stylistics and aesthetics.
Theory as Writing
As far back as Plato’s writings that were both philosophical and literary, a good number of philosophers and theorists in various cultural traditions have written texts that cross the border with creative writing, and many writers have incorporated the perspectives of philosophy and theory in their work. This interchange between theory and writing leads to an interrogation of genre conventions, including poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, as well as disciplinary boundaries, such feminist theory, post-colonial theory, and psychanalytical theory within literary texts. “Autotheory,” for example, has emerged as a term for contemporary works of literature that combine life writing with frameworks and language from various critical theories. At the heart of these works is a spirit of inquiry and experimentation that will serve as a touchstone for this course.
Cultural Professionals and Creative Industry
Recent decades witnessed a “creative turn” in which creative industries have become increasingly the core of economic and city planning, and young people are increasingly drawn to work in fields of art and culture. Informed by the present historical conjuncture, this course will examine a host of timely and thorny issues: precarity and caring, engagement and alienation, hope and hopelessness, in order to ask students what they think is “good work.” This course, as its title suggests, is made up of two parts. Alongside a presentation of major theoretical and empirical inquiries on creative work and industries, it invites a variety of veteran professionals to share not only their work experiences of creative work but also their vision on creativity and work at large.
Creative Writing and Non-Print Media
The course provides an interdisciplinary study of creative writing and other media and investigates how both traditional literary narratives and new textual genres interact with as well as are made possible by other media and arts, such as film, music, performance, visual arts, computer game, and the internet. It explores the dynamic relations between creative writing and media in contemporary artistic productions. Through diverse methodological approaches to inter-medial inquiry, the course investigates multiple forms of interaction between writing and non-print media, including adaptation, appropriation, transposition, transfer, recycling, grafting, recontextualization, intertextualization, transmedialization, and transcreation. It offers perspectives to refine our understanding of how inter-medial creations engage their audiences and stimulate creative responses, and how their interaction shapes their techniques of representation, strategies of communication, and negotiate their formats, and contents. The studies of creative writing and other media examine their aesthetic, and political stakes, and search for new ways of engaging with embodiment, agency, and technology.
This course aims at engaging students in an independent research under supervision on completing a research and/or creative project. The student will conduct an in-depth project in an area related to but not entirely covered in the taught courses.
Histories and Narratives
This course introduces fundamental theories concerning history as narrative. It will discuss selected texts of history writing and examine different narrative strategies across various cultural traditions such as in medias res, impersonation, stream of consciousness, magical realism, foreshadowing, self-fulfilling prophecy, poetic justice, multi-perspectivity, etc. It will also discuss the use of language and aesthetics in different historical narratives from various cultural perspectives, and then encourage students to write a piece of history of the world they are living in, e.g. Hong Kong, and connect it with his/her own biography.
When “diversity” has become a keyword in funding applications, personnel policies, and creative initiatives, this course highlights “gender” as an essential tool to unpack thinking and practices on writing. It introduces latest understandings on gender– theories, issues, politics – and mobilizes them to examine a wide range of texts, from state propaganda to protest slogans, from literary classics to Chinese pop lyrics, ultimately to address the question: Who writes, and who is being written? Drawing theories and Chinese/ local popular practices together, the course aims to transforms students’ pen with gender sensitivity, and their writing into possibilities of persuasion, empowerment, and intervention.
Text and Image
Numerous thinkers have approached images from a philosophical perspective, for example, Derrida (The Truth in Painting; Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins, etc.), Lyotard (Duchamp, Monory, Cézanne, etc.), Rancière (cinema), and Deleuze. Deleuze even defined philosophy as the activity of creating concepts from images and considered philosophy’s relation to images through such a creation. On the other hand, creative practitioners, including writers and painters, have explored different approaches of reinterpreting other media and making use of both images and text in their creative works. This includes the traditions of concrete poetry, modernist writers’ use of typography in printed works, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s use of Cubism’s painting techniques, and more contemporary works like Xu Bing’s artistic recreation of Chinese text in Tianshu (Book From the Sky). This course draws from traditions that examine the relation between text and images, and, along with theoretical and empirical inquiries, includes visits to local art museums and invites practitioners to share their artistic experiences. It also encourages students to explore the possibilities of creating multimedia works of their own.
This intensive writing bootcamp provides an interactive and supportive environment for students to work towards a piece of creative writing. The bootcamp will include lectures, talks, writing exercises, discussion, and feedback from peers. Students will be given time to work on their own writing and are expected to submit their work-in-progress for sharing during the bootcamp. Guest writers and artists will be invited to give craft talks and the course instructor will give personal consultation to students. Site-specific writing activities will be introduced depending on the venue of the bootcamp. The specific theme(s) and genre(s) of the workshop will be determined by the course instructor each year.
Writing (for) Performance
This course explores the role of writing in performance practices not only confined to performing arts but also extended to everyday life activities. Depicting and generating performativity and theatricality of dramas and events, the compelling writing can move across different genres and disciplines to experiment and produce new modes of performance. Through writing, we examine to what extent (gender) self-expression can be understood as creative performance, how history and politics can be rethought as theatre, how public event and character are cast as high drama, as well as in what way theater may act as an ethos and substance of our life. The course also helps student learn the many creative processes and crafts that may fuel writing and performance that matters in order to spur them to recognize their latent writing / performative selves.
Single Author / Artist Study
This course aims at an in-depth understanding of an author of Sinophone or/and Anglophone literature from the perspectives of both a reader and a writer. Authors who write in other languages or artists who work in various media may be chosen depending on the expertise of the instructor. The course instructor will guide students toward a critical understanding of the thematic and stylistic aspects of the author’s works through close readings of the major works and relevant critical essays. The sociopolitical, cultural and literary contexts of the works produced and the critical reception of the author’s work will be examined. The course will also explore the author’s development of his/her writing practices with reference to his/her personal letters, diaries, etc. At the end of the course, as readers, students will be expected to acquire basic knowledge of the author’s work and be able to challenge the predominate views on his/her work. As writers, students are expected to create a piece of work in response to the author’s work.
Writing for Diversity
This course introduces the basic theories about writing as a form of reflection, inclusiveness, and reconciliation to deal with cultural and social differences and to promote diversity and equity. It will read selected texts which represent different forms of attempts to reflect on challenging situations. Students will be encouraged to write their own texts in imagined or real situations of dispute, negotiation and/or challenges, and try to connect their personal thoughts and feelings with the world they find themselves in.
Practicum in Literary Publishing
This course will include a brief introduction to the history, latest trends, and the procedures involved in literary publishing. Its major focus is the students’ participation in the multi-stage process of publication. Under the guidance of the instructor, students will participate in editorial meetings to discuss and decide the topic and content of at least one issue of a literary venue associated with the HMW department. They will learn to develop and communicate their ideas as editors and present their decisions persuasively. Students will also research, write, and edit articles and creative pieces in response to a specific feature topic for the literary venue. They will also learn to perform close readings and develop editing skills. Lastly, they will be involved in the visual design and promotion of the publication.
Writing in Critical Situations
This course introduces forms of writing in or about critical situations like terminal disease, war, isolation, political repression and other humanity depriving situations in various cultural contexts. It will read selected texts representing these different forms of writings such as diary, first person record, realistic fiction, investigative report, etc. from various cultural traditions. It will also discuss existential questions reflected in these writings such as: what are the basic human needs, what distinguishes man from animal, what is the meaning of human existence, moral integrity, hope and despair, etc., as well as the power of writing in responding to these questions. Students will then be encouraged to write their own texts in imagined or real situations, and to examine the power of their writings in responding to the existential questions arising from these situations.