Stunning

Wowza, just seen a brand spanking new video that uncannily manages to capture the spirit of Edge Hill (here’s the link: http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/walkthroughwalls?utm_source=ehuacuk&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=walkthroughwalls). It’s set to the music of Kyla La Grange, who I’ve never listened to before, but the tune is fitting because of its energetic and euphoric vibe.

Sometimes I watch universities’ adverts on TV and I’m not going to mention any names, but some of them are quite austere and cold. It’s not that they have too much information to process or anything like that, they just don’t really inspire you. I can honestly say that after three years at Edge Hill, this video is a very good representation of my feelings about my time there: exciting, friendly and very well supported.

The first things you see are all the top Edge Hill campus landmarks (and there are plenty to choose from considering the campus covers 160 acres), including impressive lecture theatres, the main building (which is just one of many to have nice sculptures outside) and the recently opened HUB building (complete with lots of seating, big screen areas and food outlets serving plenty of tasty grub). The video also highlights the university’s well-recognized commitment to sports (those studying and just generally taking part) and performing arts, along with the amazingly well kitted-out environment that includes a great library, plenty of study areas to suit your style of learning and, when you need a break, plenty of opportunities to socialize and relax.

The best days of my life started when I came to Edge Hill and I’m sure that you too will enjoy every minute of your time here.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 3

Okay, so here is the third part of my ‘Memories’ series, where I look into the most memorable parts of my English and Creative Writing Degree. I think today I’ll look into the fiction writing part of the course, which is generally what most people I’ve spoken to think about when you mention that you write (specifically novels).

Again, all I can say is that in general Edge Hill has had the most positive influence in terms of challenging stereotypes and letting your passions run wild. When I first came to Edge Hill, I was thinking that I would write novels. Novels are what I’d read for GCSE and A-Level study, so I kind of naturally assumed that fiction revolved around the novel. How wrong I was.

Put simply, I’ve loved every moment of my time writing fiction at Edge Hill, but the time that I found most inspirational was when we looked not at the short story, but at something even shorter: flash fiction. The short story is something that Edge Hill is very passionate about, there are a number of short story competitions, but the fact is that their competitions are respected far more than just locally, and have genuinely improved the reputation of the short story as an art form within the country and beyond. All you need do is check the university’s press releases to see how much impact is has on the local area and even further.

But these flash fiction stories go beyond even the challenge of the short story. I recently entered a ‘flash’ competition recently where the word limit was 250 words. A whole story in 250 words? Believe me, you will feel inspired to tackle such challenges and then feel hungry for more when you come to Edge Hill. Our lesson in flash fiction included ‘stories in a sentence’ (think about Hemingway’s famous flash, as seen here: http://www.sixwordstories.net/2008/12/for-sale-baby-shoes-never-used-ernest-hemmingway/) and seriously, you will not find a more vibrant and inspirational atmosphere as you will at Edge Hill.

I used to be able to write fiction badly. Then I came to Edge Hill. Then I could really write stories. Narratives became easier to create, but then craft appeared and it became easier to write short stories and then flash fiction. I couldn’t have asked more from a course, when most people’s original perception of your creative area is ‘simply’ the novel. That’s why I recommend coming to Edge Hill. You don’t just learn, you’ll become creatively electrified.

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 2

Here lies the second in my series of posts on Edge Hill’s English and Creative Writing course’s ‘best bits’. Today I’m all about the poetry modules, which have all been great and it’s hard to pick out any single moment that’s better than the rest. I think the most memorable moments were at the start and the end of the three years to be honest, but that’s not to say that the second year was sub-par!

In fact, the second year had a well-structured and very inspiring look at different types of sensory poetry. That is to say, we looked at poetry for the ear, poetry for the eye, ‘mind poetry’ (based on unmediated thought, rather than self-censoring) and more. Looking at these different ways of writing poetry not only leads you to enjoy other poetry more on other levels, but also gives you a confidence about writing that is invaluable.

Even more striking than that though, was the module where it all kicked off: first year poetry. I think it could quite easily be described as explosive in the sense that a whole load of preconceptions and things I thought I knew were just blown out of the water. The enthusiasm of the tutors really was infectious (and they maintain that enthusiasm for the whole three years, believe me), and thought the attitude of a lot of people has been that poetry is their least favourite type of writing, I think we’ve all enjoyed poetry more than we thought we would based on their support.

 I’ve talked about the ‘Experimental Writing’ module from the third year before (I’m sure you love my writing so much you’re dying to check it out, so here y’are http://blogs.edgehill.ac.uk/martin/2012/02/12/the-forefront/), and I think it just gets the top spot for the best moments of the poetry part of the course. If the first year was explosive in dispelling myths and injecting energy, the third year has gone above and beyond. The look at different sensory poems has been developed in the sense of looking at new ways of performing and new ways of looking at the world and how that feeds into your writing. For example, using other people’s work to make a new poem is explored very thoroughly, and though you may be reluctant to enjoy poetry, this module will seem like something else.

Again, I’ve loved every minute of what Edge Hill’s offered me, and I don’t see how anyone else could fail to!

The Euros Are Here!

 

Yes indeedy, love or loathe football you’re gonna be hard pressed to escape it this next month as teams from the four corners of Europe come together to duke it out on the pitch. Don’t worry though, this isn’t going to be a post about my predictions for 2012, I’d only get them wrong anyway! No, this is a post about beginnings. It’s a beginning for footballers and fans across Europe, it’s the beginning of some better weather here in Ormksirk (it’s been gorgeous for ages but then we’ve had a few wet days lately) and hopefully your new beginning at Edge Hill only a matter of months away.

            I remember when I first started three fantastic years ago. It’s this time of year, when the weather’s nice and there’s plenty of reasons to go out that Ormskirk really comes alive. I stayed in halls my first year and the atmosphere is great. You make friends really quick when a load of you are living together, and in the evenings there were always a fair few kick-abouts happening on the grass on campus (for when the outdoor pitches were full, that is), so you get to know people from other halls quickly too. It’s such a friendly atmosphere, I can’t believe I was ever worried about going!

            Of course, if the kick-arounds don’t quench your appetite for footy, the uni bar will gladly oblige. Yes, my local in the first year was a grand total of two minutes away from my bed. You’ll never have it as good as you will at Edge Hill, I can guarantee you. I used to go and watch Liverpool play down there, the beers cheap and the bar staff are great, what more could you ask?

            If that doesn’t satisfy you, well then you are a true football fan! Liverpool is just a short train ride away and is home to some of the best football on the planet. My first time at Anfield was mind blowing. Really, there’s been nothing to compare it with, no live music I’ve ever seen or even playing sport myself, it was one of the best moment of my life. I suppose I should try and be more balanced in this post, I don’t want to upset anyone. Manchester is also close on the train, but there’s no point going there if you want to watch football… Do they have any teams down there? 😛

            So that’s it folks, if footy fever has got your temperature up at the minute you can’t do much better than come to Edge Hill. The friendly atmosphere and the opportunity to take part in many sports on many different levels are just a couple of reasons why the university is so popular, so supportive and so enjoyable. The future begins today!

Memories Are Made Of This – Part 1

I’ve been to the English office recently to get some assignments back (which Edge Hill is actually really good for, all feedback is usually well within four weeks so you don’t spend too much time fretting over the mark!) and reading back over the work and looking at the comments made me think back over the years. All this thinking (it doesn’t happen too often, I can assure you) led me to think a collection of ‘favourite moments’ would be a good theme for a series of these posts, giving you, dear reader, a look into the Edge Hill experience.

For English Literature, it’s very tough to pick out a favourite moment because there are so many to choose from. Even though it’s one of the smallest parts of my degree (a quarter of the credits in the ‘English and Creative Writing’ degree), it has covered a massive range, from the ‘birth’ of the novel, Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Modernists and, in the first year, we studied a modern novel too. That’s a time span of centuries, and this broad view of literary culture has really been inspiring. I think spending a whole year on one movement (namely Modernism) has been brilliant, because I have formed a really in-depth understanding of it, rather than a less developed sense. Of course, when applying to Edge Hill, there are many different options and combinations of degrees to suit your taste, so make sure you research and consider your options thoroughly.

Overall I think my favourite moment has been the completion of a long essay on the concept of Modernism. This was the last Literature assignment, and the longest one of all three years (2,500 words, give or take the customary ten per cent). The work put into that really showcased how much I’d learned throughout the year, drawing on knowledge that had been growing every lecture and seminar. It was also a pleasure to write the essay with all the support I got from the tutors. They not only did a great job getting me to learn about the topic in the first place, but also made sure I was ‘on the right tracks’ with regards to the essay. In-depth notes were available to everyone online via Edge Hill’s ‘Learning Edge’ system to give advice on how to tackle the beast, which worked really well when coupled with face-to-face time in seminars to discuss any issues.

I bet you think I’m joking, but I miss doing those essays! Edge Hill really does nurture your passion for your subject, and I hope that my upcoming ‘memories’ posts will stimulate you too.