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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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