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Writer's retreat: reshaping academic writing practices

Murray, Rowena (2008) Writer's retreat: reshaping academic writing practices. Educational Developments, 9 (2). pp. 14-15. ISSN 1469-3267

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Abstract

Introduction Writing is a key academic skill. Through publishing, academics add to knowledge and improve career prospects. However, many academics report problems making time and space for writing. One initiative that directly addresses this problem is writer's retreat, providing dedicated, facilitated writing time off-campus. Research suggests that it initiates and/or increases scholarly writing. Retreats developed in different higher education cultures - New Zealand, Ireland and the UK - but there are common elements: retreats are off-campus, for progressing specific writing projects and include self-selecting participants. There are different types of retreat: women-only retreats (Grant and Knowles, 2000; Grant, 2006); five-day facilitated retreats, where writers spend most of the retreat writing alone (Moore, 2003); oncampus retreats, that operate like writers' groups (Elbow and Sorcinelli, 2006; Lee and Boud, 2003); and two-day structured, facilitated retreats, where participants all write in the same room (Murray, 2005; Murray and Moore, 2006). This paper argues that structured retreat can help academics in 'reshaping' their academic writing practices.