The event took place at the Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York on May 16th.
article written by Kathy Halliday (Founder & Prose Editor)
York St John University’s annual Create events showcase the work of graduating Faculty of Arts students, though in recent years has expanded to include work from both level 1 and 2 students too. This year’s eagerly anticipated Create ’13 played host to performances and displays from across all subject areas, showing the high standard of students graduating from the faculty this year.
The Humanities Showcase of Literature and History was no exception, as the students impressed guests with their grasp of the spoken and written word. This year’s main event took place at the Hospitium, situated within York’s beautiful Museum Gardens. Inside the stunning venue, the work of English Literature, Creative Writing and History students was on display to the guests. This included an exhibit of various works from English Literature’s first research trip to Paris, which took place in January of this year. Amongst some of the iconic monuments the students visited was The Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, which houses an extensive archive of letters and manuscripts by writers such as André Breton, Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway to name a few. The visit inspired the students, who went away and produced poetry, prose, illustrations and critical reflections of their time in the City of Light, many of which were on display at the Hospitium. The trip was a great success, and marks the beginning of many exciting opportunities available to future students joining the course.
Create ’13 also saw the launch of York St John’s first anthology of Creative Writing, entitled Beyond the Walls. For many involved, this marks their first official print publication and a step towards their future writing careers. The anthology includes poetry and prose from both the Joint Honours and MA students, with a foreword written by lecturers and poets Abi Curtis and J.T. Welsch. For the Joint Honours students especially, this publication commemorates three years as York St John’s first group of Creative Writers. All of the editorial team here at The City Fox have taken the Joint Honours in Creative Writing, and have had such a wonderful experience. To have everyone’s work together in one publication is really special for all those involved. Three years ago we were mere strangers, now we are all part of a somewhat dysfunctional family of writers who have continuously provided each other with feedback and support throughout, which can be seen in Beyond the Walls.
Alongside this, a pamphlet of critical work entitled Texts and Contexts was released. This included essay extracts taken from some of the exciting modules available at level 3, such as Sex in the City: Culture and Society in the Eighteenth-Century Metropolis and Post-World War 2 American Literature. The students have studied authors such as Daniel Defoe, Ezra Pound, Michael Cunningham, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, through which they have gained considerable insight into the social and historical implications of literature. All extracts included in the pamphlet were taken from papers awarded firsts, which again evidences the quality of the students on the course. Their drive and determination is clear in the arguments they explore in each topic, generating lively debates with their peers. Both the anthology and pamphlet were available to take away on the night.
The night’s festivities began with an inspirational talk given by Cherie Federico, Managing Director & Editor of Aesthetica Magazine, on creativity and the magazine’s humble beginnings within the heart of York. She encouraged the students to pursue their desires, and set the tone for what promised to be an exciting evening. Cherie herself was a graduate of York St John, and is a prime example of the future these students are capable of achieving for themselves. After Cherie’s speech, York St John’s students presented Poetry and Persuasion, readings of both their creative and critical works. This included excerpts of short fiction, essays and poetry in a variety of forms. With the support of family, friends and peers, they were able to overcome their nerves to give exceptional performances. The guests were stunned into silence or laughing whole heartedly with each reading, as the students held their own on the floor. The readings were a fantastic way to end three successful years, and were thoroughly enjoyed by all those who attended.
As one chapter concludes, a fresh page is presented to each of these graduating students, so they may write their own path in the world. They are more than capable, as Create ’13 has demonstrated, in becoming the next generation of academics, authors, curators, or whatever their hearts desire. They need only set pen to paper.