Word, tone, shape
‘Word, Tone, Shape: How to Communicate your Research in Writing’. A writing skills workshop for graduate music students and practice-based researchers in the arts, School of Music, University of Leeds, July 2007, and University of Huddersfield, October 2007
As a workshop leader for graduate music students and practice-based researchers in the arts, I conducted two day-long seminars aimed at improving writing skills. The first, at Leeds University, was designed for researchers in fine art, music, dance, communications, design and drama; the second, at Huddersfield University, was designed for music students, including composers.
Through a stepped series of paper-and-pencil tasks, students learned how to improve the clarity, confidence and structure of their written presentations. All had the chance to work alone and in pairs, trying out simple editing techniques with advice and feedback at every stage. Working first on a few anonymized samples helped illustrate some basic tips before facing the bigger challenge of self-editing.
Word-Tone-Shape itself offers a memorable guide for how to start improving a piece of writing. Students progressed from considering usage, grammar and word choice, to activating mood, voice and angle, to re-thinking sentence structure and argument.
The ultimate goal was for each person's writing to reflect the high quality of his or her practical research and nail the positive research outcomes for a reader. In nearly all cases, a careful application of self-editing led to clearer thinking about content.
'I found her comments really helpful'
'The day was very useful indeed ... it really made me sit up and think'
'I would highly recommend this training to my colleagues'
3 students on the course