Today we were all planning to head to Bath to explore the ancient city! However, this trip hit a snag when the bus didn’t arrive, only for us to discover that the company had made a mistake and scheduled us in for Sunday, tomorrow. With the day free we decided to do some exploring. First, heading to the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum before heading to Checkers, a local pub, for lunch. We followed this by heading to an Oxford street party before winding up at another local pub, The Rose and Crown, for a casual evening of drinks and discussion. With such a diverse group of people present it was exciting to hear all about the different cultures and lifestyles across the world. It’s always a hilarious discussion when words get lost in translation.
Bath 2, as we decided to call it, happened on Sunday. Exploring the ancient city was a truly humbling experience. I, for one, was awed by how ancient this place truly is. The history was astounding. As creative writers we were all very interested in exploring where Jane Austen grew up, and as a group we explored several places of note regarding her early life and inspiration before taking the opportunity to relax in the sunshine. The Roman Baths were incredible, and seeing such a historic town in person was breathtaking.
Monday evening in the dining hall as a group, we met for a unique experience of cultural exchange. People from a wide range of nationalities all contributed a dance from their culture, with dances from Chile, India, Wales, Italy and so many more, it was a fantastically enjoyable evening of fun with an amazing group of people. There was endless laughing especially when Alyssa and I performed The Nutbush as an Australian dance (we do know that technically the song is American but since no one from America or any other country had ever seen the dance before we claimed it as Australian). People were quite surprised at how athletic the dance turned out to be. It was exciting to get to share something of my life back home with everyone here.
The evenings continued to be filled with fun activities. Wednesday involved seeing an outdoor production of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Oxford Castle, and on Thursday was a ghost tour led by Richard and Friday Karaoke. Naturally the first time it had rained all week was at the outdoor production.
The days themselves were split between exploring the amazing sites of Oxford such as climbing St Mary’s Cathedral Tower or traditional activities such as punting while also attending the incredible seminars and lectures. Analysing texts, looking at famous works, differing forms and writing our own pieces based on these ideas was immensely helpful to my development as a writer. The teaching staff are incredibly adept at fostering our creativity. The lectures themselves were an amazing experience in that they gave us unique insights into the different aspects of the creative process.
These involved talks on Historical Fiction by Lorna Fergusson, Digital Innovations and the Creative Writer by Frank Egerton, A History of Publishing by Dr Jane Potter, Writing for Radio Broadcasts by Dr Rachel Bentham, and a talk about bookselling by Zool Verjee. Each of the lecturers was able to engage the audience in their own way and made it enjoyable to learn about all the different aspects and avenues involved with creative writing.