• Natasja Grønkjær Abrahamsen
4. term, Danish, Master (Master Programme)
The following master’s thesis will be a study of the Danish writing schools. In the scope of a seem-ingly new tendency, where new writing schools and similar initiatives are surfacing frequently, the vision with the thesis is to map the landscape of writing schools in Denmark in 2018. One of the major motivations for the subject for my thesis is that there is no current research on the subject, why the field is open to exploration. Mapping the field, I found that there is a tendency for the schools to either specialize in genres, niches or in the recruitment or to be part of an already estab-lished institution, for example universities or publishing companies.
The theoretical background for the thesis is the institutional analysis, where theoretical works by Kristian Himmelstrup (2013) and Anders Troelsen (1985) will pose as the model for approaching the cases. As the institutional analysis rely on information about the institutions from different sources, the schools’ websites, brochures, articles, relevant theory, interviews with the schools and laws and declarations, comprise my empirical material. To be able to discuss and compare the cases, I will use the terms of capitals and field by Pierre Bourdieu.
With the mapping as a stepping-stone, my analysis will deal with three different writing schools for the purpose of showing that the writing school institution of today can take many forms. The three cases are: 1) Gladiatorskolen, a school originated from the publishing business of Forlaget Gladiator, 2) Skrivekunst, a university minor and part time education and 3) The South Gate Society School of Creative Writing, a self-governing institution with a four-year education program. The three cases turned out to have a few things in common: their status as self-governing institutions, the tuition fee, the teachers are all qualified by either academic or practical skills and the teaching meth-od, the joint text reading.
At the same time, the three schools also differed at some points: organizational structure, where the teachers at GS are writers and publishers, they are academics at SK; the financing at GS is from private investors and Gladiator while SK (and in the future possibly SGS) are partly gov-ernment-backed. The teaching format also differs; SK teaches both online and on campus, GS teaches night and weekend classes and SGS has ordinary class teaching. Looking at the recruitment, GS has most students with their 150 students annually, while SK has put a limitation and only ac-cepts 20 students and SGS so far only has seven students. Meanwhile, the cultural and social capi-tals are at a high level at GS due to the teachers and their competences and the many publications. SK also possess cultural capital in form of the teacher’s academic resources. Both GS and SK re-ceive symbolic capital from the institutions that they belong, which gives them an advantage for accumulating capitals in the field. SGS struggles with the economic capital, which might be why they does not have a prominent place in the field yet.
As a result of the mapping and the analysis, I have outlined the common traits for most writ-ing schools in Denmark today. They are characterized by being in the production stage in the literary network. Most are also self-governing institutions, not only with eye for economical profit but their purpose is also somewhat similar with the public educational institutions. The institutions also have an influence on society: most importantly, they are broadening the field for creative educations in Denmark and they are filling out a niche that has counterparts in educations specializing in music, theater and art.
The results from the thesis led me to discuss why so many writing schools can exist simultane-ously. I discussed that the demand from students is a major influence on the field. The field itself is complex, and there are differing opinions on the state of the field. Even though the field has faced some challenges, I will argue that there currently are social, historical and economic favorable cir-cumstances in the field that has helped clear the way for the schools. Finally, I discussed how writ-ing in the broadest terms increasingly has become a fundamental activity for the individual today, while writing literature and the like can be based on numerous different motivations.
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages80
ID: 280123857