Creative Writing as Spiritual Practice

Online Practical Theology Short Courses
Trinity College Glasgow & Theology & Religious Studies, University of Glasgow

Course Description

This course will enable and support the use of creative writing as a means of theological reflection upon personal, spiritual and contemporary cultural experience. Each week participants will engage with key texts, undertake writing exercises, produce their own creative writing and share their work within small groups. By the end of the course they will have produced a piece of creative writing and a critical reflection on this for assessment and/or feedback. The ethos of the course will be supportive, participatory and require the engaged, respectful participation of all members.

This is an open access course available as a 10-credit course (accredited by the University of Glasgow) or audit-only for those who just wish to engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit.


(Further instructions at the bottom of this page)

Note: This course is limited to 20 participants. You will be contacted after applications close on January 15th and before course fees are invoiced to confirm participation. 



Prof Heather Walton is a writer and a practical theologian who uses her creative practice to explore contemporary spiritual challenges. She has published widely in both life writing and theological reflection and enjoys working in an interdisciplinary way across a range of fields. Her works include Not Eden: Spiritual Life Writing for this World, Writing Methods in Theological Reflection and Theological Reflection Methods (with Elaine Graham and Francis Ward). Heather is an elder in the Church of Scotland and she finds that the discipline of preaching continually renews both her academic and imaginative work.

Further Information

Timetable & Duration

February 2 - March 30, 2020

This course will take place online on Tuesday evenings, 6.45pm-8.45pm GMT.


This course will be taught over 9 weeks via  online real-time meetings & instruction.


Introduction to the course

This course will cover the following topics although the order and concentration will be reflective of the particular circumstances and situations of participants in this course.

  • Starting with Writing

  • Writing your Life

  • Voice/s

  • Borderlands

  • Telling God's Story

  • Making Faith

  • Revisioning

  • When Words Fail

Course Information


This course is suitable for learners from a wide variety of backgrounds including those new to university-level learning, and those already familiar with it. 

Learners may choose to undertake assessments, and thus qualify for 10 credit points towards a Higher Education certificate or other Glasgow University approved programmes, or may engage with the learning programme for their own personal benefit without the final assessments. Graduates are equally welcome.

This course is conducted online. The directed online instruction will be explored in weekly real-time conversations along with materials and interaction using the learning platform, Moodle. Zoom as an online meeting tool will be used for the real-time conversations and online group times. Access to these tools will be supported by the course administration. More information about the use of these will be provided once enrolled. For technology you will need to have access to:

  • broadband/ wireless (at least 1.5 megabites per second up and download)

  • a computer with Dual core 2Ghz or higher and 4GB of RAM or Ipad with OS 13 or later,

  • minimum of Windows 7 or Mac 10.7.

  • a speaker and microphone, built in, USB or wireless Bluetooth

  • Webcam, built in or USB

Delivery & Assessment

Each class will be taught through a range of online discussion, exercises, and activities, viewing and reading. Each week participants will be introduced to a range of online materials, including video, articles, and tools for use or adapting to your own local context.

In addition, learners who enrol for credit will be able to access digitised materials, articles, and books via the University of Glasgow's library.

The formal assessment for this course is optional and consists of the following:

  • 1250 word piece of creative writing (60%)

  • 750 word critical reflective commentary (40%)

Support, guidance and feedback will be available for all assessment.


Credit Award


Completion of the course carries with it 10 Undergraduate credit points for those who wish to undertake the formal assessments. There is also the option to undertake the course for audit without certification.


£207.50 (this covers access to all resources and administrative costs).

Funds & Subsidies

Part-funding subsidies from Trinity College are available to leaders from Church of Scotland Priority Area (PA) parishes via separate application directly to us. To be considered for a subsidy email your interest to Principal of trinity College,, by 31 January 2021.


Applicants should still register for the course by following the instructions under ‘How to Apply’ below. We are unable to provide the subsidy upfront so we ask you to pay the full fee initially and arrangements will be made for the subsidy as a direct grant subsequently. 

Funds or subsidies may also be available through your own church for training or study purposes and we encourage you to approach them with the details of the course.

How to Apply



These courses are provided by the University of Glasgow.  If this is your first time accessing a course/programme with University of Glasgow this application activates a process where you sign up to a student account and then from the 15th January when applications close for these courses you will receive instructions to complete registering for the course. There are two steps involved:


  1. Before January 15th, apply and create a student entry account with the university by clicking "CLICK HERE TO APPLY" above. You will receive notification that your application is active. 

  2. After January 15th, complete registration and pay the required course fee. In the week of January 18th, you will receive an account access activation email that contains a student number, a temporary password and instructions for registering including payment of the particular course fee (£207.50) This puts you onto MyCampus – your own student portal. We will email you once you have completed these steps about access to the course material and online details for the first course.

For help and guidance, CLICK HERE.


Applications close on the 15th January.


If you have any difficulties with this process – please contact or