WRITING STUDIO: EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO EXPRESS

Bonjour people! How was your August? I expect it was phenomenal. Shall we start our fun-ride without further ado? Today, I would talk about the Writing Studio at my campus. Well… as the name suggests, it is a place where we put our pens to paper and learn the subtle art of expressing ourselves, both as an individual and as a group!! As they say, if writing is an individual way of expressing oneself, it is also a collective activity that builds bridges among individuals to form a community’.

At its 23rd meeting on December 20th, 2017, the Board of Governors approved setting up of a unique initiative called the ‘Writing Studio’ at IIT Gandhinagar as a service centre for enhancing the writing skills of its students. Soon after, in 2018 this idea became a reality due to the countless efforts of entire institute community. This radically new concept in the Indian education scenario aims to serve the students by exposing them to globally recognized writing practices and conventions with the motto- ‘practice till we perfect!’ With the objective to contribute towards a powerful intellectual culture through the practice of writing, our Institute aspires to develop a curriculum that builds interactive, collaborative and intense guidance for us. Isn’t it fascinating and educational?? Writing can be a source of great entertainment and information when all of us come together and just let our thoughts flow- but in the right direction… the Writing Studio came into existence to serve this purpose of providing the right direction to every student of the Institute.

Friends, now let me help you all form an outline of the diverse topics covered in this atelier. It encompasses a wide range of fields- academic writing, professional writing and creative writing being some of them. Did you notice all the variety that it offers?? On one hand, it inspires the students to use a structured format with accuracy, brevity and clarity to present an argument or hypothesis that helps readers to carefully evaluate the claims and supporting evidence. On the other, it helps us share our feelings, determined to make new worlds… As rightly said by David Morley, By choosing to act, by writing on that page, we are creating another version of time; we are playing out a new version of existence, of life even. We are creating an entirely fresh piece of space-time, and another version of ourself.” This studio focuses on bringing out the writer in us and it starts by building a strong foundation for the same. Yes, you all guessed it right folks- this strong foundation is the one and only… Grammer!!! Having a precise understanding of grammatical-rules gives us coherency and consistency in our writing and hence the Studio provides us with various tools and resources to polish and hone our grammer. On higher levels, it directs us on how to write a- research paper, literature review, lab report, research poster, resume and CV, academic cover letter, scientific proposal, e-mail, blog, story, poem and the list goes on… It also spreads awareness on subjects like how to- avoid plagiarism, decide when to paraphrase and when to quote, cite resources properly, etc. Writing is crucial in almost all phases of our life and IIT Gandhinagar has provided us with an excellent opportunity to master this art!!

Currently, the enthusiastic team behind this initiative comprises of 12 faculty members from diverse disciplines and 7 students who are working tirelessly to make it all a grand success. Since its inception, it has been the host of two major events. The first one which was held on March 17, 2018, tried to answer the most basic and most important question in the present-day world – ‘Why should somebody open and, more importantly, read your email?’ The session saw Ivan Brzev (Ex- Lead Business Analyst at Rolls-Royce, TV Journalist and PR Executive, Serbia and Canada) share his experiences and provide us with useful tips on how he successfully managed his emails. The second session, held on April 3, 2018, was led by Dr. Mona Mehta (Assistant Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Gandhinagar) and threw light on the conceptual and practical elements of writing an Opinion piece for popular media. Some questions which it tried to address were – ‘how does an Opinion Piece differ from a scholarly article and an editorial? What makes for a good quality Opinion Piece?’ The talk focused on instances of recent opinion pieces that have appeared in various reputed media outlets like The Wire.in, Scroll.in, The Guardian, The Indian Express etc. to identify the significance of this art in the present-age of information and new media revolution.

In words of Aristotle, “To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man”. The Writing Studio is striving very hard to inculcate both of these contrasting characters in us. Today, writing is a requirement in all known careers across the globe in some form or the other and IIT Gandhinagar wants all its students to be profound writers in their respective fields. The establishment of the Writing Studio is a giant leap in this direction.

So guys, I hope you all were able to get an impression of yet another distinguishing feature of my Institute that makes it special. William H. Gass once mentioned, The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words”. The IIT Ganghinagar family has helped me to discover my true potential and has empowered me to express myself… to communicate with you all… This is what makes it my home! See you all next month with yet another feature of my family… arrivederci!

By- Apeksha Srivastava, M.Tech student- Biological Engineering (16210113)

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