E301 – The Art of English
‘All literacy practices contain creative elements.’
Discuss, using examples of texts that might not be traditionally considered creative and illustrating your explanations with ideas and theories from Part 1 of the module.
The following essay will work from the idea that creative elements are present in all forms of literary practices of everyday life. The discussion will use examples of texts and ideas that are not traditionally considered to be creative, including Graffiti, and the ways in which prisoners communicate within the prison walls. I will also use an example from my own personal experience. Much of this essay looks at the social context of the literacy practices, and I will make reference to Carter’s linguistic models to illustrate how vital the social context is when considering the creative elements of literacy practices. However, before beginning an analysis of the above statement, I will provide an explanation of what is meant by the terms ‘literacy practices’ and ‘creativity’.
Papen and Tusting define literacy practices as the different ‘ways people use and interact with texts in particular contexts, and the meanings that these hold for them’ (Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.312).
It is the outcome of a written activity that has on objective and the idea that literacy practices is more about the relationship between the people and the texts, depending on the context that they are in, is an interesting one. Wilson argues that creativity in literacy practices ‘can be found in the most unlikely places, being used by an unlikely group of people’, (Wilson, 2006, p.349) and this is certainly true of Graffiti artists and prisoners, which I discuss later on in this essay. I will now follow this with a brief definition of creativity in terms of literacy practices.
TMA 3: ‘All literacy practices contain creative elements.’ Discuss, using examples of texts that might not be traditionally considered creative illustrating your explanations with ideas and theories ... department. As Papen and Tusting (2008) point out, 'Any given contexts associated with a particular set of possibilities' ([Maybin and Swann ...
The creativity within the literacy practices comes from the relationship that is formed between the individual partaking in the literacy practice and the social context which it takes place in. As Papen and Tusting explain, ‘creativity in literacy is emergent not from an individual mind, nor from the social context, but from a relationship between the two’, (Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.331).
Carter’s sociocultural model suggests that creativity is ‘socially and culturally determined’, (Swann, 2006, p.10) and I will look at the ways in which creative elements in literacy practices are subject to the social constraints and affordances that they find themselves within.
The social context is an important factor when considering the creative element of any literacy practice, in that individuals are influenced considerably by their surrounding environment. We respond to the constraints and affordances of our environment in a creative manner. Every literacy practice has an intention, and the individual achieves their intention by using creative elements within the constraints and affordances of their social context, ‘all meaning making is creative’, (Maybin, 2006, p.414).
There are many reasons behind the intentions of literacy practices. These include an individual’s need for self-expression, acceptance and recognition in society. These intentions are realised through the creative combination of past experiences and ideas with modern ones. This can be seen in Reading A of Chapter 7. In this extract, Camitta looks at how a group of high school students ‘express their inner life through writing’, (Camitta in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.339).
These vernacular writings are, at the heart of them, ‘quests for meaning and identity’, (Camitta in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.332) and the creative ways in which they go back achieving their quests included exchanges during class with notes written during their free time, exchanges at their lockers and even a student who used a desk shared with another student at a different time period.
... suggest difference in literacy practices of high school debaters. Debaters use common literacy practices reading, writing and speech but in ... students only outlet for creativity and practicing these literacy skills. Social interaction at school is limited to ... believe a more expansive definition of literacy, tournaments mean acquiring social literacy skills unlike most high students' experience ...
The types of literacy practices these students indulged in included personal diaries, correspondence and poetry. They each felt that their writing was a form of self-expression and that it was ‘central to transacting social relationships’, (Camitta in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.332) which reiterates the idea of how important the social context is in literacy practices. Even though the writings are simplistic in their form, one can still see a strong connection between the individual and the world around them. Another way, in which the students used literacy practices in a creative way, was with the creation of the “dialogue-note”. This enabled the students to communicate with one another during class by passing a note back and forth writing and responding to each other. This emphasises how the social constraints that the students find themselves in influences their creativity in literacy practices; ‘an important component of their writing was its social aspect’, (Camitta in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.332).
Another example which emphasises the connection between creativity in literacy practices being dependent upon the social constraints is Wilson’s extract which focuses on prison literacy. The literacy practices in this example emerge as a result of the restraints upon the prisoners. We learn that writing for them is not just a way to pass time, but also a need they have to communicate ‘in a world where communication is severely restricted, and in order to keep one’s mind’, (Wilson in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.343).
So here we see that the intention behind the literacy practice is the prisoners’ sanity.
There are various forms that the literacy practices in prison take on. One of the key forms of literacy within the prison is obviously the letters to family and friends in the outside world. However, an interesting point with regard to their letters is the creativity taken into the planning and of the actual writing itself writing. Prison life is routine, so a lot more thought goes into what is going to be written, ‘there’s a lot of (…) planning [with] pages where people (…) write the body text and then write around the body text and then round and round and round, sort of fitting as much on the page as possible, and on the other side and then it could continue on the envelope’, (CD ROM 1, Band 22, Prison Literacy).
... tenses in verbs (either present or past tense) s CREATIVE WRITING ON THE CONCEPT OF BELONGING Selecting a topic on belonging ... Clear link / response to the question Conclusion – surprising / unpredictable PRACTICE WRITING TASK Using an event as a trigger for ensuing action ... links with people, community or the larger world writing imaginatively means writing in a way that is different to the everyday ...
Prisoners are also creative in the ways in which they communicate with one another inside prison. Kropotkin discusses a mode of communication ‘where literacy and numeracy, the written, the spoken and the heard are meshed together in a creative and successful way’, (Wilson in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.344).
The image of ‘meshing’ these different forms of communication together is an interesting one, and it is also very creative. This idea of creating a new form of communication is illustrated even further with the “digger code”. In order to be able to communicate successfully with one another, and without others finding out, prisoners have created a code which ‘relies on systems of syllabic juxtaposition or embellishment’, (Wilson in Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.345).
The fact that the code is changed continuously emphasises the creativity in its creation.
Graffiti is a very different form of literacy that ‘suggests interesting connections between writing, creativity and identity’, (Maybin, 2006, p.273).
Graffiti is not only an aesthetic form of literacy but it also uses common literacy devices such as pun, repetition, rhythm and rhyme. Since the 1970’s, graffiti has exploded onto the scene in a colorful array of decorative lettering covering city walls, trains and other public spaces. In her extract, Macdonald suggests that there is extreme competition between the graffiti artists and the way in which one graffiti artist responds to another means something more than just writing on the wall. For example, the placement of two different ‘tags’ on the same space could mean a complete lack of respect, if a name is placed over a name that is already there, or a sign of respect if placed next to each other.
There is also a lot of creative thought that goes into being a graffiti artist, and it all begins with choosing the name as Prime, a graffiti artists says ‘it’s not just a name, it’s, it’s a personality’, (CD ROM 1, Band 20, Graffiti).
... ? It certainly doesn’t work as a sourcebook or a handbook of how to improve literacy practices in any given situation – ... ; and nor is it meant to. What it does work as is as ... the ways in which even the most ‘mundane’ literacy practices are heavily influenced by discrete parameters of culture, society and ...
The name is then reflected in the style of the lettering. For instance, a macho sounding name will usually be displayed in an aggressive style. Macdonald suggests that a ‘name seems to work best when it conjures up some form of desirable image’, (Macdonald in Maybin, 2006, p.297).
This is an excellent example of creativity being present in a literacy practice. Again, much of the creativity in this literacy practice comes down to the social context and the issue of identity. The graffiti artist is someone who is trying to find their place in society, much like the students who exchange notes in my earlier example are.
The idea that all literacy practices contain creative elements got me to thinking about the creative elements that I come across in the literacy practices of my everyday life. I work in recruitment in Cyprus and use the facility of email on a daily basis to communicate with clients and candidates. I have a language barrier to contend with so I have to be creative in the way that I plan and word my emails to make sure that the intention behind them is understood. When writing to a client with whom I hoping to establish a relationship with my emails have a certain level of professionalism and polished finish that I wouldn’t necessarily have with a client with whom I have a long established relationship with. I am less formal with those clients, and the emails are slightly more personal.
I also have to be creative in the way that I write job descriptions to attract candidates. Writing job descriptions is an essential part of my daily work routine and the information contained in them has to be specific and to the point. If a job description contains too much text, it can discourage candidates to apply for the role as they are overloaded with information that may be considered to be irrelevant. Therefore I have to be creative in the way I write them. I try to make them sharp, and resourceful whilst making sure that they contain all the necessary information so that the potential candidate knows exactly what role they are applying for and know that they fit the profile of the role. I also work with the layout of the job adverts. For example, I find that using bullet points to highlight essential requirements and qualifications works a lot better than if the advert is just one large body of text.
This essay has explored various examples to prove that creativity exists in everyday literacy practices. I have concluded that there is a strong connection between the different forms of literacy practices and creative elements and ‘such practices are shaped by people drawing actively on the possibilities offered by the particular social situations in which they are embedded, in order to achieve their own goals and purposes,’ (Papen and Tusting, 2006, p.312).
The Essay on Explain how practitioners can take steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting
... steps to protect themselves within their everyday practice in the work setting and on off site visits. ... a representative of a trade union or a work colleague. • They will be provided with support ... misconduct or malpractice that is occurring in your work setting you should report it to your manager ... provide protection against the person in the work place against victimisation or any form of punishment ...
Creativity seems to be at the very foundation of every literacy practice, no matter what that activity is. It can be something as trite as a work email, to something as significant as a prisoner writing a letter to a loved one. At the very heart there is a goal that is realised through the creative way in which the literacy practice is completed within the constraints and affordances of the social context within which it is found.
Maybin, J. and Swann, J (eds) (2006) The art of English: everyday creativity, Palgrave Macmillan, The Open University.
E301: The Art of English, CD ROM 1, The Art of English: everyday creativity