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Bruce Taylor

Career Path: Primary Teacher, City of Edinburgh Council
Location: Edinburgh, UK

I love creative writing and loved performing. The course seemed like an excellent way to combine those elements, along with other skills such as other performance (music, comedy, etc.) and teaching/public speaking. I enjoyed teaching before and through completing elements of the course I discovered my love for teaching and decided to pursue it as my career.

What are you doing now?

I am a newly qualified Primary School teacher in Edinburgh, teaching a class of thirty 7-8 year olds.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I loved the location, the course description and that the course involved completing a piece of script work and submitting a portfolio. It made me feel professional and it was nice to be judged on a portfolio of completed work as opposed to a one-off audition or interview. This felt like a fairer assessment of my qualification for the course.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

There was a great mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and group tasks. The collaborative element of the course was the most appealing in many ways, though could be frustrating at times.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

The staff in the Performing Arts Department at Northumbria were really impressive; they clearly had great depths of knowledge about their chosen fields and their passion for these shone through in their teaching. Most were also very approachable and excellent at taking an interest in you as a person, student and writer/performer, which made you feel very valued. They also tended to offer sound advice.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course was very well connected with the local theatre industry and the local area in general, such as local schools, which was immensely helpful in giving an idea of the theatre industry, as well as offering glimpses of how to apply your skills outside of the industry. The focused nature of the course was one of its great strengths, though it would sometimes be nice to be reminded that there are other avenues available to use your skills in.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/give your career an edge?

Having a performance and creative writing background has been hugely helpful in my teaching career, as has my experience of teaching/speaking publicly on the course. It impresses the majority of staff who work with me, as many are less comfortable in teaching the expressive arts. It is also useful for making your classroom manner more interesting and dynamic.

What was the best thing about your course?

The collaborative elements of the course bred a really strong sense of community amongst all of the performing arts students and I still have close friends from my course to this day, despite living in another city now. The knowledge of lecturers, particularly on the scriptwriting course, was invaluable.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Story structure, creative language, having a presence, games and activities to use in various classroom contexts, acting as a character (sometimes as a teacher), diction, planning ahead (planning scripts is similar in many ways to planning lessons) and organisational skills.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Making friends, chatting to lecturers outside lectures (meetings and workshops), learning about a craft I enjoyed and being able to experiment with a different career path (the Professional Directions module). The city of Newcastle is amazing.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Do it. Enjoy the city, enjoy the university and its facilities (particularly the Students' Union) and try not to stress too much.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Interesting, enlightening and different.

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