The Digital Economy Network (DEN) hosted their second PhD writing retreat of 2018 at the idyllic setting of Thrumpton Hall; a spectacular 17th century English country house, set in the village of Thrumpton near Nottingham. PhD students from across seven EPSRC-funded Digital Economy Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) signed up for this event to have the opportunity to focus on research writing or associated work relating to their doctoral study.
18 CDT students from the Network’s Cloud Computing, Embedded Intelligence, Horizon, HighWire, Media & Arts Technology, and Web Science CDTs attended the two-day retreat.
The retreat, which facilitated by Andy Darby of Lancaster University, is a structured programme which aims to establish a highly productive and healthy relationship with writing over the two days. Each day is broken down into four writing sessions of either an hour or ninety minutes, with set break times, including an hour slot for lunch to allow people to move away from their work, talk with other CDT students from across the Network, have food and refreshments and to take walks in the surrounding gardens and parkland.
Attendees paired up at the start of day one and discussed with each other their specific writing objectives for the event, and then individuals evaluated their progress against their set goals at key points during the retreat.
CDT students used the retreat to work on various tasks including thesis chapters, literature reviews, interview transcription, data analysis, coding, journal submissions, conference papers, blogs and annual review reports.
The majority of the 18 students who attended, also enjoyed an evening meal in the Hall’s impressive and grandiose dining room and stayed overnight in the country house, and were extremely well looked after by the Thrumpton events staff. DEN had exclusive use of the Hall and various rooms for the duration of the event, which provided ideal conditions for people to focus on their work, and base themselves in different rooms across the two days.
Cat Morgan, PhD Student at the Web Science CDT at the University of Southampton wrote a blog article entitled ‘To writing retreat or not to writing retreat’ about her experience of the event.
The next two-day retreat will be held on 15-16 May 2018 at Elmore Court in Gloucester.
Thanks and acknowledgements:
DEN would like to thank Andy Darby of Lancaster University for facilitating the retreat, and providing writing coaching and advice to the individual delegates who required this. Thanks also to Paula, Lynn, Nancy and the other staff at Thrumpton Hall for doing such a great job of looking after us during our stay. Thanks to all the CDT students who attended and I hope you made the progress you aimed for.