With heightened funding pressures on Australian universities, academics are
being placed under more pressure to increase class sizes. Creative writing
workshops, where students provide feedback on each other’s creative work,
can be rigorous and demanding sites for teachers in ways that differ from
‘traditional’ classroom settings. This article surveys critical research on class
sizes and the workshop model, as well as third-year University of Wollongong
creative writing student perspectives, arguing that the in-person workshop
model, while imperfect, remains vital to the discipline of creative writing.
When successful, it can teach students the technical elements of craft as well as
the skills to build workshop communities, consider process and develop a sense
of who their audiences are. However, increasing class sizes make it difficult, if
not impossible, to fulfil these potentials, and put the workshop at risk. If
creative writing academics don’t fight for manageable workshop student
numbers, our very discipline will be at risk with the rise of the information
economy, as outlined by Paul Mason (2015).