I don't rock climb, I don't run half-marathons, I don't globe-trot ... truth is, when I'm not working I'm either reading or watching Emmerdale. I know it's a cliche but I love reading - and I think English students should love it too.
I read many novels but I'm also really interested in creative non-fiction and how fact and fiction meet to create literary and/or journalistic writing. As such, I defend women’s magazines – predominantly written by women for women – and see them as an interesting and natural extension to the celebrated New Journalism by the likes of Hunter S Thompson and Tom Wolfe. I was a staff writer for That’s Life magazine Australia and for the News of the World's Sunday magazine and found both jobs a hoot.
I enjoy it. As a tabloid journalist I didn't envisage a career in teaching but, having contributed to MMU's widening participation programme, I was hooked.
I believe education should be available to all and access to university to those who can and want to study. At its best its education is enjoyable for both students and teachers. A good teacher facilitates learning and elicits an understanding using a mixture of experiential and theoretical approaches. I aim to encourage students to be life-long learners and for them to see education as a pleasure not a means to an end. I want students to be equipped with academic and vocational skills and also with the ability to recognise their transferable skills and achievements to develop their confidence.
You should recognise the significant transferable skills you bring to and learn while studying for an English degree. Not only are they attractive to employers but can influence and inspire your creativity, academic career and employability. English has a huge scope in terms of employability, be that as a staff member or freelance, and the possibilities are more exciting than some students realise. What you enjoy can influence where and how you work.
Also, you shouldn't see your education as only a means to finding a job. Learning is much more important than that.
With as much energy, creativity, inclusivity and fun as is possible.
PGC Academic Practice
MA Creative Writing
NCE Newspaper Reporting (NCTJ)
Liverpool John Moore's University: Lecturer teaching undergraduate and postgraduate journalism
Creative Partnerships: Creative Agent project managing educational programmes schools
Guardian Media Group: Manchester Metro News Features Editor
Pacific Publications: Senior Feature Writer That's Life Australia
News International: Senior Feature Writer News of the World
At undergraduate level I have taught: Writing Skills (an introduction to creative writing, which includes sessions on journalistic writing) and UK News Reporting (teaching the basic skills of broadcasting and print journalism); Contemporary Media Theory (focussing on theorists and their relevance in current media events); Current Issues in Media Communications (considering globalisation and convergence in media) and Media, Society and Culture. Other units I have taught include: Writing Exercises (creative approaches to managing writers’ block and generating creativity/new ideas/capturing ideas); workshops as part of the Continuing Professional Development/Pedagogic Studies strand for teachers and English Study Skills (an entry-level unit fostering academic research and presentation); Professional Development and Employability (a cross-faculty unit focusing on the relevance of academic study and drawing on industry experience); Writing Exercises (an introduction to creative writing and critiquing); English In Practice (developing professional transferable skills from an English degree) and Prose Workshop (a course focusing on the development of short story writing and editing skills).
I also supervise Creative Writing dissertations for BA English students and International Journalism dissertations for MA Journalism students.
At postgraduate level I have written and delivered a successful Continuing Professional Development course in Journalism for Creative Writers, training a mixed cohorts of teachers, writers and arts professionals, fostering a creative approach to the teaching of journalism skills, with an eye on industry practice.
I have also contributed to the Teaching Creative Writing CPD unit and currently lead the Enabling New Writing unit.
I have supervised and marked MA International Journalism dissertations in my role as Associate Lecturer at LIverpool John Moores University
I have been involved in public engagement, academic enterprise, knowledge transfer and income generation, and, as such, I have, for example, led a number of journalism projects for primary school pupils linked with the University’s Children’s Book Festival training the pupils to repor. As such, I ran a press room and website during two Manchester Children’s Book Festival where material, such as interviews with the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy conducted by pupils, went live during the Festival. I also submitted articles to the Manchester Evening News promoting the Festival's activities.
Media consultancy: Providing media training, research, copy and press release. • Clients include: Unionlearn; National Union of Journalists; Manchester Fiction Prize; Manchester Poetry Prize; Centre for Learning and Teaching; Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research; Lancashire Local Involvement Network.
I have worked as a practitioner - delivering journalism and creative writing projects - in numerous primary and secondary schools and FE colleges.
I have organised, led and delivered projects with the Intergenerational Social Media Project at MMU, aimed at bringing together underprivileged groups of young people and adults to explore creative ways of telling stories; with Trafford’s Pulling Together young Asian women’s groups; with Tameside’s Shining Stars cared-for children group; in inner city schools with pupils identified as having low self-esteem or as needing an understanding of multicultural society; and Young Apprentices.
My outreach work with Manchester Metropolitan University, meanwhile meant working with Aim Higher, Higher Futures For You, Gifted and Talented and non curriculum-based projects including: Moss Side Stories which elicited experiences of pupils attending Manchester Academy, many with English as an additional language; with Manchester Children’s Book Festival, working in schools in Crumpsall and Burnage teaching primary pupils to be journalists and deliver reports using a multimedia approach; and editing the All Write anthology of pupils’ writing from across the North West.
I am a volunteer at RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Particpatory Action Research) a human rights charity in Manchester.
I am the vice-chair of the Manchester and Salford branch of the National Union of Journalists and was previously elected to the national Disabled Members' Council.
I have been a regional and national, news and feature journalist for more than 20 years.