Matthew Salesses (2021) asks ‘How can we rethink craft, and the teaching of it, to better reach writers with diverse backgrounds? How can we invite diverse storytelling traditions into literary spaces?’ This paper applies these questions to students in the Arab Gulf, by presenting and analysing the results of a research project investigating the barriers (culturally, locally, and in terms of colonial conceptions of craft) that impede student creative writers in Qatar. Aided by a Provost Grant from Northwestern University, we carried out interviews among students from a range of universities in Qatar in order to catalogue local writing habits, beliefs, and practices. We applied a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke 2006; Russell and Vallade 2010) of the interview transcripts we had generated, coding the qualitative data set to identify, analyze, and note emerging patterns. This paper contextualizes the background to education, culture, and creative writing in the region, and then proceeds to discuss the results of the thematic analysis by examining the key emergent themes that affect students in Qatar, namely issues of defining creativity; educational backgrounds and pressures; family influence on study, hobbies and career paths; and the effects of the local culture. The results thus reveal much about the socio-cultural barriers and ensuing internal conflicts regarding pursuing creative writing among students in the region. The paper concludes by discussing how the results of the study might be used to help adapt thinking about creative writing conceptualisation and courses to better benefit specific local communities.
Meekings, Sam Dr; Assaf, Lujain; Gwiza, Gwiza; Kazim, Tayyibah; and Mubashar, Laiba
"Barriers to Creative Writing Among University Students in Qatar,"
Journal of Creative Writing Studies: Vol. 8:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://repository.rit.edu/jcws/vol8/iss1/5