James Rice Writing graduate

Rebecca Langton Fashion graduate

Jess Irwin Art in Science graduate

James Rice Writing graduate

Rebecca Langton Fashion graduate

Jess Irwin Art in Science Graduate

James Rice studied for an MA in Writing at LJMU. Here he talks about getting his first novel published.

James Rice studied for an MA in Writing at LJMU. Here he talks about getting his first novel published.

James completed his undergraduate degree in Creative Writing at LJMU. “I think the course taught me how to write but I knew I needed the Masters to let me produce a significant piece of work,” he says.

The idea for James’s first novel came to him many years earlier when he was still at school. Over the years, he had developed his idea into a short story and even a concept album. Neither of these formats did justice to the idea and so, at Masters level, James started to develop it into a novel. “When my fellow students and tutors read the first chapter, they loved it and that was basically what I worked on for the rest of the course.” James sent the first draft of his novel to an agent he had met at LJMU. “Things happened in fits and starts from then,” he smiles. “At first I was given some minor tweaks to do quite quickly and then, when it looked like everything was steaming ahead, I didn’t hear from my agent for a couple of months.”

One day, out of the blue, James received an email inviting him to a breakfast meeting with Hodder and Stoughton in London. James and his agent spent an hour discussing the book in detail. It was then back to the waiting game.

“I remember the call distinctly,” says James. “I was just sitting down to Sunday lunch with the family. I was penniless and didn’t have a clue that anything was happening with the book. My agent rang to say I had been offered a two book deal. I couldn’t believe it.”

With all the contract details sorted, James received his first payment on Christmas Eve. The book was published a year later and now James is writing his second novel.

When Rebecca Langton graduated with a fashion degree from LJMU, she knew that she wanted to expand her existing knowledge and gain new skills with a Masters qualification.

When Rebecca Langton graduated with a fashion degree from LJMU, she knew that she wanted to expand her existing knowledge and gain new skills with a Masters qualification.

“I had built a strong relationship with my tutors and really appreciated the support they had given me during my undergraduate degree so I knew I wanted to stay at LJMU for my Masters,” explains Rebecca. Following a gap year spent travelling and writing, Rebecca began her part-time Masters. “I looked at a number of related courses but decided that the Fashion Innovation and Realisation programme was the one for me.”

Rebecca knew that she wanted to work in the creative sector but had never been able to identify her actual goal. “Masters study soon made me realise exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. “Having received a GoGlobal award, I was able to fulfil a lifelong dream and travel to China to look at various university fashion projects and research the local culture.”

Rebecca’s journey, alongside her passion for photography, graphic design and journalism, made her realise that she wanted to launch her own publication, featuring the fashion and culture of overseas destinations and showcasing upcoming creative talents. “Higher level study has really encouraged me to pursue my dream,” she says “It has shown me that I can cope with a heavy workload by breaking tasks down and working through them methodically. Those are the kind of skills that will get me to where I want to be.”

When Art in Science graduate Jess Irwin embarked on a project promoting organ donation using cartoon style graphics she never imagined it would lead her to a post as Artist in Residence at The University of Liverpool.

When Art in Science graduate Jess Irwin embarked on a project promoting organ donation using cartoon style graphics she never imagined it would lead her to a post as Artist in Residence at The University of Liverpool.

Jess, from Stoke-on-Trent first came to Liverpool to study for a degree in Fine Art at LJMU. During her life drawing classes she met Mark Roughley from the Art in Science Masters. “Mark brought a scientific element to the classes that I really enjoyed,” recalls Jess. “There was a big emphasis on anatomy and bone structure and when he mentioned the new Art in Science Masters I realised it was something I would be really interested in.”

The step up to Masters study was a significant one for Jess and her classmates but the cohort felt very comfortable with the change thanks to the support on offer from LJMU tutors. “There were around eight of us on the course, many from fine art and sculpture backgrounds,” she says. “It was a really varied and enjoyable programme. We got to work with lots of different scientists. I worked alongside a plastic surgeon on one particularly enjoyable project.”

Searching for a topic for her end of course project, Jess travelled to the Gordon Museum of Pathology in London with her fellow students. “The museum is not open to the public but we were able to go as part of our course,” she says. “Looking at all the specimens in the museum and hearing about the need for organ donation, I decided to utilise comic book style illustrations to produce a booklet that would encourage the general public to consider organ donation.”

As Jess’s course came to an end, tutor Mark heard about a post for an Artist in Residence at the University of Liverpool. They were looking for someone to produce three comic book style publications talking about antimicrobial resistance. “It was a perfect fit for me and, as they wanted someone to start straight away, the timing was ideal too,” smiles Jess.

Jess is extremely grateful to Mark and the team at LJMU for the support they have given her both during and following her Masters programme. “The tutors at LJMU will help you no matter what,” she smiles. “Absolutely nothing is too much trouble for them and, with their help, I secured a job I didn’t even know existed 12 months ago.”