I am a few months into the OCA BA Creative Writing, though I did complete a single OCA writing course several years ago. My interest in joining the OCASA committee is to help the college continue to improve the student experience.
The self-organisation and motivation required by the OCA approach to distance learning is a challenge for any student. It makes me reflect upon the differences in teaching and learning from the traditional style I knew, albeit many years ago. At the moment I’m feeling something of the loneliness of the long distance learner, and I guess this is the experience of many others.
There is a current emphasis on the economic value of higher education – for example our universities are grouped under the government’s business and skills department – and for many OCA students intending to embark on, or develop, a career or enterprise in the creative industries this makes sense. For others of us, perhaps post-career, the OCA offers an unmatched opportunity for working for different types of reward.
Whatever our motivation or career stage, the quality of our student experience of OCA teaching and learning depends in large part on the way in which the organisation manages and facilitates communications with us, and on its responses to any concerns. OCASA is a vital part of this communications task, and I look forward to representing the creative writing community within it.
I work as a copy editor, specialising in policy and research documents produced by non-native English speakers. My working background is in community development and capacity building in the UK, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Uzbekistan. I lived and worked in Brussels for a few years, in connection with the European Commission.
I am qualified in conflict resolution and am a former chair of a mediation charity. I am also qualified as a trainer and evaluator. I have been a magistrate, local councillor and parliamentary front-bench advisor. In recent years I was a member of the stakeholder board of a railway company.
From singing and playing guitar in folk clubs in my native North East of England, to exhibiting my paintings in the West Midlands, and having a hand in the first of what has become a major annual poetry festival, I have relaxed into iPad sketching, ukulele playing, and struggling with my OCA creative writing.
I live in Shoreham by Sea with my wife and 7 year-old boy. I have two adult daughters from an earlier marriage.