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The Doctors Dilemma ESC at Birkbeck/ 3 April 2009

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1 The Doctors Dilemma ESC at Birkbeck/ 3 April 2009

2 Three discussion areas (1) Context of the PhD in English - a profession at the crossroads (2) The Creative Writing PhD – another crossroads (3) Why become a doctor of something that cant be fixed? – pedagogical crossroads

3 (1) a profession at the Crossroads

4 Two major forces in the discipline, pulling in opposite directions AHRC – rhetoric of impact, dissemination, knowledge- transfer RAE/REF – rhetoric of excellences and esteem RAE AHRC

5 (2) The CW PhD – another crossroads

6 Are we training people to be published authors or reflective writers? Writer Autho r

7 The composite format of the CW PhD – weighting of the two components Uni 1:50,000 – 60,000 + 15,000 - 30,000 (4:1) Uni 2:Up to 60,000 + 15,000 (4:1) Uni 3: 100,000 total, 2/3 the work, 1/3 rest (2:1) Uni 4:40,000 + 40,000 (1: 1)

8 The composite format of the CW PhD – nature of the 2 nd component Uni. 1: self-reflective and evaluative analysis/or theoretical Uni. 2: extended critical essay/supporting and reflecting on the work Uni. 3: either on related genres/topics/themes, or reflective on the work, or more experimental, e.g. in different voices Uni, 4: on some aspect of the creative work, such as historical/cultural material, or on evolution of poetic form. [this is the only one not using some form of the word reflect]

9 PhD CW has wide variations in … Length-ratio of the two components Ranges from 4:1 to 1:1 Nature of the 2nd component: These range in emphasis from reflective to literary-historical, to literary theoretical to critical-creative Patterns of supervision Single supervisor or components separately supervised? Patterns of work Do candidates write the novel first, then reflect, or do the two processes run simultaneously? Overall aims To produce good writers or published writers? i.e. should we recognise that the PhD novel isnt a novel yet, just as the academic thesis isnt a book yet?

10 (3) Pedagogical Crossroads

11 Is there such a thing as (mono)disciplinarity? EnglishArts & Hums

12 Another Pedagogical Crossroads One reads eagerly, chapter to chapter, waiting to see what happens next (reviewers comment on an academic biography) The Uni.The World

13 The E nd

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