Express yourself with Expressive Arts

Satisfy your head and your heart with Massey's unique offerings in theatre, creative writing and media.


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Meet some of our alumni and friends of the university who are using the power of language, visuals and emotion to bring people together and offer new ways of looking at the world. Their work proves there really is an important need for theatre, creative writing and media.

  • Jon Bridges

    "Media, theatre and creative writing have the power to bring a whole community, a whole nation, or a world of people together."

    Ask Jon Bridges about his years at Massey University and there’s no hesitation. It was the time of his life.

    Jon says his Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and Computer Science and his Master of Arts in English have helped him enormously as a television producer and presenter, author, radio host and columnist. He says he learnt how to communicate, exercise critical thinking, and read and write text as diverse as emails and comedy scripts.

    Jon sees the role of the media as bringing communities together.

    "Media, theatre and creative writing have the power to bring a whole community, a whole nation, or a world of people together. Media is one-to-many communication and part of the joy of laughing comes from recognition of the community you share,” Jon says. “The joke wouldn’t be understood by anyone else around the world."

  • Bonnie Etherington

    "Creative writing makes us question and challenge who we are and where we are going, and that is as important individually as collectively."

    Creative writing makes us better humans because it teaches us how to tell our own stories and how to listen to the voices and stories of others, writer and student Bonnie Etherington says.

    Bonnie is doing her PhD in English literature at Northwestern University in Chicago and is two years into a five-year programme.

    Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Headland, Ika, Takahe, Bravado, Meniscus, and Deep South and she has had travel articles published in Let's Travel and AA Directions.

    The arts turn us into critical thinkers of information, rather than simply consumers and teaches us that everyone has a story to tell, she says.

    "Creative writing makes us question and challenge who we are and where we are going, and that is as important individually as collectively."

    Bonnie was born in New Zealand, and raised in West Papua, Indonesia, and Darwin, Australia.

    "I have been writing, or attempting to write, since I first started reading and my favourite ‘toys’ as a child were thick spiral-bound notebooks and pens with black ink that would run in satisfying globs."

  • Jillian Sullivan

    "Modern novels and films … show us a template, they lay down a track we can follow."

    Reflection allows us to examine choices and consequences, and decide how we might want to act in the future, author Jillian Sullivan says.

    "We grow in awareness by reflecting on the past and past actions."

    Creative writing enables us to reflect on what it is to be human, she says.

    Jillian says she had such wonderful lecturers throughout her undergraduate and honour’s degrees she wanted to continue with them for her master’s. “I wanted to keep studying through Massey and stay with those lecturers who had supported and inspired me.

    "During my master’s research thesis, I learnt more about the English language than in any other time of my education. The level of carefulness in my writing and editing my supervisor Thom Conroy required of me was remarkable, and I am so appreciative of that. The knowledge I gained has been hugely beneficial not only when producing my own creative writing, but also when working with others on their writing."

    Since completing her degree, Jillian has launched her first poetry collection, Parallel (Steele Roberts 2014), which includes poems written during her study. Parallel’s poems capture "that time in life where everything changes: children leave home, parents die, a partner has a midlife crisis and new life arrives".

    Her latest book, A Way Home, is a memoir of building a new life and a straw-bale house in Central Otago. It will be published by potton & burton in spring 2016.

  • Jim Moriarty

    "Expressive arts are a wonderful way to create relationships with others. It's about empowering others to find their way and feel good about what they’re doing."

    Veteran actor and director Jim Moriarty doesn’t shirk from the hard question—do employability and studying expressive arts go hand in hand?

    "If people are able to come from a creative place they will find employment because it is about the ability to connect with other people and communicate effectively."

    He says it is important people can express themselves in such a way that brings about change for good.

    "Expressive arts are about trying to tap into the creativity that is in everyone. If we are all coming from that place it wouldn’t be about walking over that person to get further up the food chain but about seeing how you can all interconnect. Creativity has to be about listening to everyone, taking everyone’s point of view into consideration," Jim says.

    The Māori community theatre and education company Jim leads, Te Rākau, uses Massey’s theatre lab in Wellington when it is not being used for teaching.

    Massey students do internships with Te Rākau and Jim and Te Rākau writer Helen Pearse-Otene deliver lectures to expressive arts students.

    Jim says given Massey is one of the leaders in critical thinking in New Zealand, the partnership made sense.

Why Massey?

Massey University offers a range of courses that will allow you to thrive in the creative world. With various study options on offer you can follow the past that best suits you. If you want to bring your creativity to the business world, then our unique communication degree is the perfect option. If you wish to gain a wealth of skills in a particular area, while also exploring many other diverse subjects, then the BA is a great choice. No matter what course you choose, as a student you'll learn from award-winning authors, playwrights and producers whose work is valued all over the world.

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