PhD research writing development opportunities
Full day retreats at Eastbury Manor House - booking open below
We're pleased to announce our selection of full day retreats taking place in a picturesque National Trust property in Barking. If you need a time and space away from everyday pressures to make progress on a reading or writing project than a full day retreat is just the thing.
Throughout the retreat you will be supported by short tasks to get you started and give you direction. You’ll be in the company of your peers to share tips and advice, and facilitated by a member of the Thinking Writing team.
And all this will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Eastbury Manor House. This Elizabethan building sits in tranquil gardens and feels like a world away from university life, but is only 20 minutes from Mile End campus.
Each retreat will have a small charge to cover the cost of catering and venue. You may be able to use training funds from your department/funding body to pay for a retreat - ask your department administrator for further details. We don't want anyone to miss our on our events because of financial constraints, so do contact us if this is an issue for you.
27th & 28th March - 2 Day Writing Retreat - booking now open
Our 2 day retreats offer the same as a 1 day, only with more focus on goal setting, maintaining motivation over a longer period and exploring your writing process. Recommended for those who would like to finish or develop a whole text, like an entire chapter or article.
10th April - Reading Retreat - booking now open
At a reading retreat you'll be supported to make progress on reading the texts that you want or need to use in your writing. It will help you to become more aware of your reading processes and to offer some suggestions around how to use your reading more productively in your writing. This is especially useful for those who feel overwhelmed by literature they need to read.
26th April - Planning & Structuring Your Thesis - booking now open
This event is roughly 30% workshop and 70% retreat, and is suitable for people who are in the mid-late stages of their PhDs. You'll spend the day planning a structure for your thesis as a whole, and developing more detailed outlines of individual chapters. Activities will involve discussing possible ways of structuring theses, how and where to integrate your reading, how to move from the process of doing research to the reality of writing about it, what to do with dead-ends and tangents, so on.
25th May - Reviewing & Editing Your Thesis - booking now open
This combined workshop and retreat is designed for writers who have completed at least one draft chapter of their thesis and want to explore strategies for reworking it both at the micro-level of editing sentences and paragraphs, the macro-level of restructuring sections and chapters, and the tricky in-between bits you don’t know what to with. The day is structured as 30% teaching where the strategies are introduced and 70% writing time where participants can use the ideas on their own writing and have an optional discussion with the facilitator.
17th June - Saturday Writing Retreat - booking now open
This retreat will run the same as the writing retreat above.
4th July - Writing Retreat - booking now open
19th July - Writing Retreat - booking now open
Thesis Boot Camp
Are you ready for the challenge of Thesis Boot Camp?
“A wonderful experience - I'd recommend it without reservation and would welcome it as a bi-annual event for QMUL researchers! Having shared my experiences with fellow researchers and staff in my department, many wish they had attended.” (3rd year PhD, Thesis Boot Camp, November 2015)
Introducing the QMUL Thesis Boot Camp, a no-excuses, no-time-for-procrastination, intensive writing weekend to get your thesis done. Dedicated solely to getting words down, this is a challenging but rewarding weekend designed to help you make tangible progress with your writing.
When: 12-14 May 2017
Where: Arts 2 Building at QMUL Mile End campus
Who: PhD researchers who have completed a great deal of reading, research and data collection and are ready to write at least one draft chapter, and who can commit to attending the whole event
How much: QMUL PhD researcher – £50 Non-QMUL PhD researcher – £140
Sessions will include motivational talks, goal setting and strategies for writing quickly and well, and approximately twenty hours of concentrated writing. Facilitators will be on hand to discuss any problems and catering will be provided to ensure an encouraging, distraction-free environment.
To be considered for Thesis Boot Camp, you need to submit an application. Applications open on 8 March 2017 and close on 31 March 2017 at 5.00pm. No late applications will be considered.
Application forms can be downloaded here: Thesis Boot Camp Application Form QMUL May 2017.docx.
Further information is available here: Thinking Writing QMUL Thesis Boot Camp Information.docx
Successful applicants will be notified on 10 April if they have been accepted into the program.
Half day retreats at QMUL
Morning retreats (09:00-12:30): Tuesday 21st March, Tuesday 2nd May
Afternoon retreats (1.00-4.30): Friday 19th May
These events are half day morning or afternoon retreats that offer a time, place and collegial atmosphere to get your research writing or reading done without distractions. They follow the same structure as our whole day retreats – goal setting, writing/reading, reflection – but with less time allocated to discussion; as such they are aimed at those people who have been on a retreat before. If you haven’t been on a retreat before or feel that you have issues with writing that you’d like to discuss, we recommend that you come to one of our whole day retreats or email us for a conversation to discuss attending a half day.
Attendance is free for QMUL students but by application as there are a limited number of spaces. There will be a charge of £15 for non-QMUL students. Please note that to attend this retreat you need to arrive on time and be ready to start at 9.15/13.15.
To apply, please email us giving the date(s) you would like to attend, your name, your school/research unit, intended writing project, and a statement confirming that you have previously attended a writing retreat. We will then get back to you to either confirm your place and let you know the venue, or to put you on the waiting list.
Regular writing group
We are starting writing groups structured to help regular writing and long term goal setting. In joining this group participants will set a goal for the whole semester (to finish a PhD chapter or journal article, perhaps) and will commit to coming every week for 10 weeks for the full two hour slot. The group will meet in room 3 in Mile End Library, first floor. We will offer gentle facilitation, minimal discussion, and some methods for developing writing over this time frame.
Our current writing group is now full up, but we'll be running another one in May - July. If you would like to join it, please email us to be added to our mailing list.
Staff writing retreat - 09:15-16:45, 7th June 2017 - booking now open
If you need some time and space to get away from everyday pressures and to make progress on a writing project then our staff writing retreats are for you. Throughout each retreat you will be supported by short writing tasks, designed to get writing started, and goal setting, designed to maintain motivation. Each retreat will be held off campus but close to QMUL, in a quiet location in Bethnal Green. There is a charge of £20 QMUL staff/£40 non-QMUL staff for each retreat to cover venue and catering.
If you would like to be kept informed about future events, please contact Kelly Peake or Heather Campbell to be put onto the direct mailing list.