UntitledLJMU English students and lecturer recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s major new series Five Hundred Years of Friendship

Level 6 students Cleo Chalk, Steve Clark, John England and Victoria Hoffman co-wrote a blog post on ‘Memories of Improvement’ and LJMU Reader, Dr Helen Rogers, was interviewed by Radio 4 presenter Dr Thomas Dixon for the programme on ‘Felons and Oddfellows’

While developing the series Thomas asked Helen whether working-class autobiographers wrote about their friends. Since this is a question that researchers have yet to study, Helen decided to ask her students on the ‘Writing Lives’ module.

On Writing Lives, students have selected an author from the unpublished manuscripts in the John Burnett Collection of Working Class Autobiography and have researched and written about an aspect of their author’s life and memoir and published their findings each week on the Writing Lives website. ‘The Memories of Improvement’ article explores what friendship meant to four of these authors.

Along with Helen’s Level 5 module, Prison Voices, Writing Lives is designed to enhance students’ skills in online research, writing for a public audience and using social media. Helen holds a Teaching Development Grant from the Higher Education Authority to develop public blogging as a form of student learning.


 Level 6 English student John England said:

“The Writing Lives module has been the most unique experience of my undergraduate degree. By introducing me to blogging it has given me a great opportunity to see my work published for wide audience.”

Helen added:

“I have found it tremendously rewarding working with all the Writing Lives students on the module and seeing our website develop. It has been an honour for us to take part in the ‘Five Hundred Years of Friendship’ series. Through it we have shown how undergraduates can make a valuable contribution to new research.”

Read the Author Blogs by visiting http://www.writinglives.org.

The blogs also featured on ‘Education of the Heart’ and included a quotation from Harry West’s memoir that Cleo Chalk wrote about in her author blog.

Students from Writing Lives and Prison Voices will be presenting with Helen on their experiences of doing online research at LJMU’s Teaching and Learning Conference on 16 June 2014. You can follow their work on twitter @Writing__Lives and @Prison_Voices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *