A week-long journey to the heart of creative writing concluded successfully for four University of Iceland students who traveled to Olomouc in Czechia, funded by the Aurora University Network.
AURORA is a network of European research universities collaborating to shape the future of higher education. It is driven by systematic pedagogical development and innovation, aiming to equip students with competencies needed for thriving future generations. The recent Creative Writing Workshop at Palacky University was a part of this initiative.
The University of Iceland was proud to participate alongside the University of East Anglia, University of Duisburg-Essen, and Palacky University, with each institution sending students to take part in the immersive workshop. For a week, the city of Olomouc became a hub of literary exploration, where students from different cultures and academic backgrounds came together to develop their prose, poetry, and character writing skills. Many students were aspiring to careers in writing, while others were looking to incorporate or experiment with creative styles of writing to improve the skill and reach of their voice as communicators, leading to a great diversity of styles and ideas that all benefitted from.
Each day of the workshop was structured around various writing exercises, curated meticulously to foster creativity and innovation among the students. The participants had the opportunity to dive deep into their thoughts and emotions, refining their unique literary voices. As part of the process, the students had the opportunity to read some of their writings in small groups, where they received valuable feedback from both professors and fellow workshop participants.
[…]As she walked into the yard, her cane sinking softly into the soft grass with every step, she notices the thousands and thousands of bees all around her. Gently flying from flower to flower, while humming a song only they know.[…]
Written by Antonia Hamann with the prompt “Let your character react to a natural phenomenon.”
The icing on the cake was the one-on-one feedback sessions. Each student received personalised constructive criticism on their writing, allowing them to understand their strengths and areas of improvement better. This approach not only ensured the enhancement of writing skills but also instilled in them a sense of resilience and the drive to keep improving. This also served as a great milestone for each student exploring the value of creative writing in their future aspirations, as the students had the opportunity to reflect on their new and developing writing skills with the professors and hear their insight on how this could supplement their background knowledge to reveal new possible opportunities.
The culmination of the workshop was a final reading session, in which each participant presented their most worked-on piece of writing to all the workshop attendees. This proved to be a meaningful exercise, not just in showcasing the talent nurtured over the week, but also in fostering confidence and public speaking skills among the students.
[…]As beautiful and fast as an airplane; as accommodating as a coach; as cozy, expensive and flamboyant as a yacht; as relevant as a forklift; to some organizations, the forklift is the brain behind their success; to some people, the airplane is the drive of their career. From one point in time to another, we keep moving forward and upward and our dreams, hopes and goals become the VEHICLE […]
Written by Friend Osuorji from the prompt “Vehicle.”
A special part of the journey was the guided tour of the city of Olomouc. It was led by David Livingstone, a professor at Palacky University, who has been living in Czechia for the past 30 years. Originally from America, Professor Livingstone offered the students a unique perspective on Czech history, culture, and customs. This experience allowed the students to gain insights beyond their specific academic focus, which is an essential aspect of Aurora's pedagogical vision.
By the end of the week, international bonds were forged, and friendships were developed among the students from the three universities. These connections are seen as the seeds for future collaborations in writing and beyond, embodying the ideals of the Aurora network. The four students from the University of Iceland returned home brimming with new ideas and a renewed sense of inspiration.
As the Aurora project continues to evolve, the University of Iceland, alongside its European counterparts, looks forward to participating in similar initiatives, proving its commitment towards crafting a holistic and global educational experience for its students.
For more information about future workshops and opportunities, teaching staff and students can find out more on the Aurora Network website. The next phase of Aurora's ambitious project involves more such courses and programmes aimed at broadening the horizons of pedagogical development and fostering a spirit of international collaboration.
Get ready to be a part of the University of the future!
Written by: Antonia Hamann, Friend Nnadozie Osuorji, Harrison Collins and Matei Popescu