CRWT30150 Writing the Environment

Academic Year 2022/2023

Students should note that this module will require site visits to Bull Island during term-time, which may be difficult to accommodate with the timetabling of other modules.]

Nature’s decline is unprecedented, with one million species threatened with extinction at an accelerating rate. The causes are due to changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species.
The interconnectedness of things has always been the business of creative writing, and this module will provide an opportunity for participants to develop the practice of environmental writing in the context of a specific and special place.
Situated in Dublin Bay, about 5km from the city centre, Bull Island was designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. It is a nature reserve, which has been heavily shaped by human activity, and continues to be a site of multiple and sometimes conflicting uses.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, participants will be able to:
1. Engage with both critical and creative texts on nature and the environment
2. Produce their own poems and prose (fiction and non-fiction) inspired by, and about the environment
3. Position their own writing within the tradition of nature and environmental writing
4. Identify some of the problems facing the environment, locally and globally
5. Reflect on ways in which their writing can be a form of activism.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Participants of this module will will have the opportunity to explore the island and to meet and engage with scientists and reserve management in Week 2, Week 10, and on two mornings during the March fieldwork period. They will engage with both creative and critical texts and will learn to position their writing within nature and environmental writing traditions. They will consider aspects of craft such as image, symbolism, character and voice through the lens of environmental writing. They will explore problems and ask questions that matter in the context of the current crisis, including the who’s, what’s, why’s, when’s and how’s of activism. And they will respond through stories, essays and poems.

Teaching strategies include lectures/talks, walkshops, discussion and writing. Peer- and tutor-led feedback will be delivered throughout the semester. Tutor feedback will be available post-assessment. There will also be an opportunity for individual consultations. These will take place during office hours, in Week 11, or by appointment.

As some of the course will take place on the island, often outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions, participants are advised to dress in weather-appropriate clothing and footwear.

Bull Island can be reached from the city centre via the 130 bus or the DART (to Clontarf Road, 3.2 km from the island). The island can be accessed on foot or bike. There is a free beach wheelchair service on Dollymount Strand which gives enhanced access to the beach for those who have mobility restrictions, details at this link
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Portfolio: End of semester Essay / Portfolio / Project (70%). Mixed-media is encouraged, for example vlogs, podcasts, graphic stories, etc. Collaborations are welcome. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Continuous Assessment: Takes account of preparedness for workshops, participation in class discussions and exercises, in-class presentations, and maintenance of weekly journal. Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback individually to students on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment. Self-assessment activities throughout semester. Peer review activities throughout semester.