Writing Retreats And Courses

I ran my first academic writing retreat in 2015, over a weekend, for doctoral students at Staffordshire University. It was very enjoyable for me and, judging by the feedback, for the students too. Since then I have led many retreats and courses, mostly for doctoral students and/or university staff at institutions around the world. My standpoint is that all writing is creative, writing is a research method, and writing can be fun.

This month I ran an academic writing retreat over three days for Cumbria University in a delightful rural venue; a welcome change from the gritty urban spaces I usually go to for such gigs. This one had a transdisciplinary flavour with people from health and criminology, fashion and social care, media and education, and no doubt other departments I have forgotten. I never mind working with people from a single discipline, school, or faculty, but I do find that transdisciplinary groups have richer discussions. And the feedback I got was very positive.

I also get rich transdisciplinary discussions and good feedback when I run my four-day creative academic writing course for the Methods@Manchester summer school, which this year is from 3–7 July online. The people who come on the course are always from a wide variety of disciplines and professions, and every year it is exciting to find out who I will be working with. (There are still some tickets available if you’re interested.)

And I run creative thesis writing courses for various universities, doctoral training partnerships, and other clients such as Guild HE. In fact I am running a creative thesis writing course next week for Liverpool John Moore’s University.

I love these parts of my work. I really enjoy demystifying the writing process, seeing the light-bulb moments people have, and witnessing their satisfaction in the progress they make. So I have taken the big step of booking other delightful rural venues for three independent residential retreats in 2023–24, one of which will be co-facilitated. In brief:

16–19 October 2023: creative thesis writing for doctoral students, at Northern College near Barnsley.

4–8 December 2023: creative research writing, at Gladstone’s Library near Chester, with Dr Lucy Pickering.

20–23 May 2024: creative research writing for publication, at Northern College near Barnsley.

My retreats are supportive, with some taught sessions, plenty of breaks, lots of time to write, and optional one-to-one chats with me. Costs are inclusive of accommodation and catering. The venues are delightful. More information here and if you have any questions, please ask in the comments or email enquiries@creativeresearchemethods.com.

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8 thoughts on “Writing Retreats And Courses

  1. I am in the US and cant afford travel. Is there any online option for me? I am currently not working in academics but have been highly creative. I attempted to be an published independent scholar but fell short. Besides NCIS I did not have community. I would like to address classism and writing as it is clear what is in my viewing field.

    Thanks for your work.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a fear of retreats, after being locked up in the Melbourne Business School for several days to learn about project management. The classrooms were downstairs, accommodation above. Convenient, but I desperately wanted to get outdoors, away from my fellow students, for a few hours. At one point I decided to make a break for it, but as I headed for the door, someone came up and said, “coming to dinner?”, and I was trapped. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Helen, these retreats sound fantastic. I’m very interested in attending the creative academic writing course in early July but unfortunately I already have a couple of commitments that week and don’t generally work Wednesdays (for childcare reasons). Would it be really disruptive if I signed up and then dipped in and out of the course? I know I’d get more out of it if I could commit to the whole thing but I wondered if attending some of it would be better than nothing (and also give me access to materials for the sessions I miss). Thanks in advance

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shelina, thanks for asking! After all, there is nothing stopping you from booking on and then dipping in and out… but you’re right, it would be disruptive, and also I doubt you would get enough out of it to be worth the cost. I would recommend waiting until you can make a full commitment.


      • Thanks Helen. I thought that might be the case. I only asked because I have the opportunity to apply for some funding to support my return to work following maternity leave and am on the lookout for interesting training opportunities. But it might be better to wait until next year and see if I can get the funds together then. Thanks again

        Liked by 1 person

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