EVERY WRITER NEEDS A READER
By: Nokwazi Qumbisa
The City Campus Writing Centre is a place where every pen can flow freely and every word forms a new paragraph. Each and every person who leaves the City Campus Writing Centre leaves as a new man, or woman, as the case may be.
Andrea Alcock comes from a family that’s very diverse, since her mother was from an Afrikaans background and dad was born of French parents. That diversity perhaps contributed to her being introduced to a mix of language and culture from a very young age- a trait she later passed on to her daughter, whom after having the chance to be an exchange student in Belgium decided to study the language at the University of Cape Town. In her household, writing is a skill they all seem to share. Andrea’s husband is also a writer in his field of work as an engineer and soon to be researcher.
From teaching just 15 hours a week as a part time lecturer to teaching full time, was a responsibility she decided to take up when she started working at the Writing Center, which she says she never really intended on, as it was all but an idea to form a writing center at city campus. She did not realise that it would help so many students in different ways.
The Writing Center work, she admits is somewhat similar to being a therapist, as it’s all about the art changing behavior around writing, as you teach students to grow as writers in their own right, without trying to “fix” their writing. You don’t come to the Writing Center because there’s a problem with your writing, but because you want to improve your writing.
“As a result students tend to be more relaxed when they come to the writing center. We help students become the best writers they can be,” said Alcock.
Fast forward to the future- The City Campus Writing Centre has been running for an astounding 6 years and has reached more than 500 students in 2013 alone.
“Students are encouraged to make appointments and to bring their brief when they come, because it’s easier, as sometimes students don’t understand what the lecturer is expecting from them,” she says.
City campus Writing Centre is situated on the second floor of DUT’s City Campus, above the interior design second year class and in-between the first and third year Journalism classes. Other DUT campuses also have the writing centers, including Steve Biko in the library, ML Sultan in the library and one on each Pmb campus.