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WRT3120 Biographical and Autobiographical Writing
Credit Points: 15

In this unit students learn research skills by focusing on an auto/biographical topic of their own choice; for example a literature student may wish to research and write the life of a favourite author. Students survey a large range of autobiographical and biographical writing, life stories and personal history narratives in order to examine, analyse and practise different models. They learn various methods of preparation prior to writing, and then how to write their auto/biography in workshops, which encourage peer reviewing. In order to place their life subject in focus, students research contextual background, target markets, readership, and publication. They learn about the importance of ethics and legalities in their personal history research through lively in-class discussions.

Students also have the opportunity to write commissioned biographies for people in the community, for example for people in aged residential communities like Elimatta, in Mount Lawley, or for people with sight problems through the Association of the Blind for WA, or for Mission Australia. The interviews, conducted by the students, have mutually therapeutic value for both the biographical subjects and for the students. The subjects often suffer loneliness, so the meetings in themselves provide pleasant contact with students. The fact that their life stories are taken seriously enough to have them written by another person also endows community subjects with a sense of well being, and of having led a life well lived. The students learn to think of perspectives other than their own and hear of life experiences involving circumstances that they could not possibly encounter themselves. There is a strong philanthropic edge, too, to this unit as the product is copied and presented as a book to the community subject. The unit always applies for, and is granted, a unit licence for ethics and follows strict guidelines.

This unit has been showcased by the Pro Vice Chancellor for Engagement and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts in an official ECU document featuring examples of the University’s engagement with the community.

Full Unit Outline

This Unit is part of the following Courses / Unit Sets
MABUTZEnglish Major
MIAAHFEnglish Minor
MABUTMEnglish Education Major
MIAAGUEnglish Education Minor
MIAAGEJournalism Minor - Bunbury
MABUTFLiterature and Writing Major - Bunbury
MABUTGMedia Major - Bunbury
DMAAABPsychology and English Double Major
DMAAAAPsychology and Writing Double Major
MAAAEVWriting Major
MIAAGDWriting Minor - Bunbury
MIAAHPWriting Minor
Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005)
For the purposes of considering a request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth 2005), inherent requirements for this subject are articulated in the Unit Description, Learning Outcomes, Graduate Attributes and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the support for students with disabilities or medical conditions can be found at the Student Equity, Diversity and Disability Service website:

Last Updated - Higher Education: 15/03/2012 VET: 15/03/2012