Darren Harper BA (Hons), PGCE
A child of the seventies, it wasn’t until 2008 that I returned to academic study, having ventured around a little of the world whilst serving in the Royal Navy between 1998 and 2003, and then setting up and running my own business. Not really knowing who I was or what I wanted from life, I discovered adult education, which satisfied a growing and unquenchable thirst for knowledge and culture. My loves grew to be philosophy, literature and creative writing. My ambition having become to gain a degree in a subject which impassioned me, I enrolled to do an Access to Higher Education course at my local college. Achieving a distinction in English Literature, I subsequently applied to do a degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Cumbria, and in 2012 graduated with first class honours. During my time at university, I also began writing theatre reviews; theatre becoming one of my major passions during my studies. Whilst there, I also won a prize for a short story I had written as well as having one of my own plays shortlisted with a theatre company.
In trying to find a way in which I could combine my own love of learning with meeting the responsibilities of life, I decided to become a teacher. Completing my PGCE at the University of Central Lancashire, I then returned to my local college as a teacher, where I was fortunate enough not only to teach GCSE English, but also A Levels in both English Literature and Creative Writing. My appetite still not fully satiated, and upon the retiral of my most inspiring teacher, Michael Travers, I began to offer my own adult education classes in Philosophy and Literature, both at Carlisle Adult Education and the wonderful residential college that is Higham Hall in Cockermouth. I now teach also at Dillington House In Somerset and Knuston House in Northamptonshire.
Fortune has favoured me once more, as has a beautiful and selfless wife, and I have recommenced my studies, this time at the University of Cumbria where I am doing my PhD. I have also established The Philosophical & Literary Society, both in Carlisle, Cumbria and Hexham, Northumberland.