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Why not do something “expressive and beautiful and positive”?

Here in the English department at the University of Chester, we never stand still. Our tutors are constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance their teaching and Dr Eileen Pollard, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, has created something really special.

Chester Retold: Unspoken Stories, Put into Words

This innovative project is on offer as an experiential learning module at Level 5 (second year) where students have the opportunity to take storytelling out into the community of Chester. Not only is it fun and exciting, it also enhances your employability by helping you with skills such as creativity, working with others and high level communication.

Each session is taught either at the University of Chester’s main campus or at Storyhouse, the city’s fabulous new arts hub.

Every year, the module collaborates with a different Chester-based community partner that works to include socially marginalised groups. Chester Retold has previously had ‘short-course’ students from Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (2018), a charity helping people recover from addiction and mental health problems through movement and dance, and LIVE! Cheshire (2019) who work to include young people with physical and/or learning disabilities.

The photograph shows the participants from LIVE! Cheshire with Eileen (taking the picture) and the undergraduates outside Storyhouse. It gives a sense of the genuine buzz around this project!

The teaching has taken a range of forms, including talks, small group discussions, bring and shares, walks around the city walls, drawing, acting and meditation exercises – as well as flashmobs in the Storyhouse foyer!

This year, English Language students enrolled on Cestrian English will be involved in some sessions, while they research local Chester and Cheshire dialects and accents.

To find out more about Chester Retold, why not watch Dr Pollard's TEDx on it here: Teaching English Using Compassion 

Here’s some feedback from our undergraduates…

‘It has been the most enjoyable module at university so far. An amazing end to a stressful year’

‘This module is a breath of fresh air in terms of assessment. The pressure is still there, but it is a different type; one that doesn’t feel overbearing. Fun, interesting and new’

‘I’ve learnt that I can take my experiences – even negatives – and do something expressive and beautiful and positive with them’

…and from our community students:

‘Exchange of ideas. Experimenting. Stimulation. Interacting with fabulous young brains and hearts. Storyhouse almond croissants. Flexibility. Warmth. Reflection’

‘A renewed sense of the enjoyment and fulfilment of learning. I simply wish to learn more on the back of this module’

‘The people were probably the best thing. The students were bright and lively. The lecturers were all specialists in their area but even more were so enthusiastic about their topic it was a joy’

If this sort of student experience appeals to you check out our Undergraduate Degree programmes.