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Reading in Practice MA 2011 enrolement

Written by The Reader, 22nd February 2011

The Reader Organisation is involved in the development of the part-time MA degree in Reading in Practice, working with Professor Philip Davis and Dr Josie Billington in the School of English at the University of Liverpool.

Reading in Practice is a two-year, part-time degree, which encourages students to  find their own serious relationship to literature. The course also investigates the ways in which a number of significant writers have thought about reading, creativity, health, wholeness and being alive.

Reader development is a fast-expanding field – in libraries, in social regeneration and educational projects, and in health provision. Innovative non-traditional interventions, such as encouraging personal development through shared group reading, are increasingly sought by many agencies: while this MA is not a professional qualification, it will enhance the career prospects of those working, or wishing to work in the fields outlined above, as well as offering opportunities for personal growth and the acquiring of transferable skills.

I am currently doing this MA, and it's quite hard to stand back and write about it, whilst still immersed in it (I'm about to embark on my dissertation...) but I can say that it has been the most valuable, creative and challenging, course I have ever done. In fact, it's far deeper and vital than that: it's more like a personal journey, guided by some of our greatest literature, into the sphere of human life and potential. The Reading in Practice MA is concerned with, as Phil Davis the course director, says:

the wide and deep ways in which literature ‘finds’ people - the readers and the writers - emotionally and imaginatively by offering living models and visions of human troubles and human possibilities.

Here are a few thoughts from other students on the course about their experience of doing the MA:

‘Reading in Practice’ is the most challenging and rewarding course of study I have ever undertaken. It has taught me, through practical experience, what literature demands from you as a reader and, in turn, what you as a reader can demand from literature, as nourishment for a thinking, feeling, active life.

Being a student on the Reading in Practice MA has been an incredible experience. I started this course after studying English at degree level, and initially felt very daunted by the emphasis that this course placed on your own response to the literature that was being studied - I'd become used to the critic’s opinion or the theory being the information that mattered in an English essay. This is not the case on this course; your own feelings in relation to each text guide your study and thought. At times, this personal journey has felt very challenging, but the serious, deep thinking achieved in relation to some of the finest books ever written is hugely rewarding.

The next enrolment will take place in September 2011. Seminars take place on Thursday evenings, 6-8pm.


You should normally have an undergraduate degree - though not necessarily in English Literature. We wish to attract a wide range of lively and committed readers from diverse educational backgrounds and will consider candidates on an individual basis.

Click here for more information on the MA.

Click here for the application form.

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