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Art and Ekphrasis: Creative Writing and the Modern Museum

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“Ekphrasis” is a term that refers to the literary response to, or representation of, a work of art and is a literary mode with a long history.

Made famous by John Keats’ “Ode to a Grecian Urn”, in which the poet describes an urn in exquisite detail and so emphasises the power of the creative imagination, this mode of creativity provides endless opportunities for inspiration.

On this module you will explore the interplay between art, artistic interpretation, and creative writing through a series of practical workshops, including visits to the art galleries at the National Museum of Wales in Cathays.

This module is a reimagination of the popular Creative Writing at the Museum series and will also involve reflecting on the way museums display art and artefacts.

This course is open to all and no prior knowledge is required.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through ten 2-hour sessions, made up of workshops, class discussions, and small group work.

Topics may include:

  • Understanding ekphrasis
  • Writing with artistic prompts
  • Understanding art in museums
  • Using reflective practice in creative writing contexts

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will complete a creative writing portfolio and will write reflectively about your own process. The portfolio will be around 1500-2000 words in length.

Reading suggestions

You will be provided with comprehensive reading suggestions at the beginning of the course. No pre-reading is required.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.