Tag Archives: Writing Retreat

Thrumpton Hall Writing Retreat, 23-25 April 2018

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.

Above: The gardens of Thrumpton Hall

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.

Above: CDT students at evening meal in Thrumpton Hall dining room

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.

 

 

Peak District PhD retreat held

The Digital Economy Network held it’s fifth two-day writing retreat on 7-8 March at the New Bath Hotel in Matlock Bath, located on the edge of the Peak District.

35 CDT and PhD students from across nine EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and University digital economy research groups attended the fully-subscribed residential event, which was held on the edge of the Peak District.

Although in a scenic setting, the Derbyshire-based venue was very easily accessible by train, with Matlock Bath train station being less than 1 mile away.  PhD students travelled from as far as Newcastle and Southampton to attend the retreat.

Writing retreat in Ballroom

Delegates used the retreat programme to focus on a variety of research writing priorities including thesis corrections, draft journal papers, Researchfish submissions and conference papers.

PhD students from the following nine EPSRC CDTs attended:

  • Cloud Computing CDT – Newcastle University
  • Digital Civics CDT – Newcastle University
  • Embedded Intelligence CDT – Loughborough University
  • Financial Computing CDT – University College London
  • Healthcare Innovation – University of Oxford
  • HighWire CDT – Lancaster University
  • Horizon CDT – University of Nottingham
  • Media & Arts Technology CDT – Queen Mary University of London
  • Web Science CDT – University of Southampton.

The Network will host it’s next two-day writing retreat at Thrumpton Hall in Nottingham on 24-25 April 2018, with two further retreats planned for May and June.

 

DEN PhD Writing Retreat: Matlock Bath

Digital Economy Network 2-Day Residential Writing Retreat for CDT/PhD Students

Wednesday 7 March – Thursday 8 March 2018

Venue: New Bath Hotel & Spa, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3PX

A two-day facilitated writing retreat for current CDT/PhD/EngD students on the edge of the scenic Peak District in Derbyshire.  25 residential places are available at this event.

The retreat will start a 9.15am on Wednesday 8 March and will finish by 5.00pm on Thursday 8 March.

This event is free to attend for current CDT/PhD/EngD students within the CDTs of the Digital Economy Network. Overnight accommodation (all rooms en-suite) will be provided for delegates at the New Bath Hotel venue.  Breakfast, lunches and evening meal  is also included, as well as day time refreshments throughout the 2 days.

Registration for this event has now closed as it is fully booked. Please email felicia.black@nottingham.ac.uk if you want to be added to the waiting list.

Location and Travel:

A location map for the New Bath Hotel is available at: newbathhotelandspa.com/enquiries/

Free ample car parking is available on site at the New Bath Hotel for those driving to the venue.

Nearest train stations:

  • Matlock Bath: 0.5 miles
  • Cromford: 1.2 miles
  • Matlock: 2 miles
  • Belper: 9 miles
  • Derby: 17 miles

 

Wyresdale Park: A haven for writing

The Apple Store Cafe at Wyresdale Park in Scorton provided the scenic summer setting for the third Digital Economy Network cross-CDT writing retreat of 2017, which was held on 19-20 June.

There were 24 PhD student attendees from across eight EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training  within the Network, who spent two days in rural Lancashire focusing on a writing project of their choice.  The CDT students participating were all at differing stages of their PhD and found the opportunity to have dedicated time to focus on their writing, as well as benefit from the advice and support from their peers at the retreat, extremely valuable.

Some used the session-focused event to focus on specific chapters of their thesis; such as their methodology, whilst others used the time to draft academic papers, carry out data analysis or work on their PhD annual review reports.

Students were able to make the most of the warm sunny days by using the tree sheltered peaceful gardens in the Estate as a haven for productive writing.

Photos from the retreat can be viewed here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3aB5QN

Students from the following CDTs were represented:

  • Digital Civics, Newcastle University
  • Embedded Intelligence, Loughborough University
  • Financial Computing, UCL
  • Healthcare Innovation, University of Oxford
  • HighWire, Lancaster University
  • Horizon, University of Nottingham
  • Media & Arts Technology, QMUL
  • Web Science, University of Southampton

DEN would like to extend utmost thanks to Andy Darby (HighWire, Lancaster University) for facilitating, Sally Whewell of Wyresdale Estate for hosting, and to Tish and Kate of HighWire for helping to look after our delegates for the retreat.

Writing progress made at Elmore Court

The second DEN cross-CDT PhD Writing Retreat took place on 16-17 May at Elmore Court, a stunning and historic 13th Century country house venue, located just outside Gloucester.

Elmore interior21 CDT students from across various DEN CDTs, at differing stages of their PhD research, attended for the 2-days, to focus on a writing project related to their research. Some students were returning to the event for the second time after finding the previous retreat held in Leicestershire extremely beneficial.

Some students used the two days to focus on finalising chapters of their PhD thesis, whilst others were drafting research papers, journals or conference workshop presentations. Attendees were able to make use of the vast space of the Hall, Drawing Room and Morning Room at Elmore, as well as the peaceful surroundings of the grounds.

As well as having a goal-setting, time-structured approach to writing, some students took advantage of dedicated time with the facilitator, Andy Darby (HighWire CDT), to talk through, get advice and receive feedback on their chosen writing projects.

The majority of the delegates stayed at Elmore Court overnight, as the house benefits from seventeen individual rooms with views of the Cotswolds and the River Severn. During the breaks and over dinner, PhD students were able to talk with their peers about the progress of their PhD and share advice and experience.

Elmore 2

The EPSRC-funded Digital Economy CDTs represented via PhD students at this DEN organised event were:

  • Financial Computing & Analytics – University College London (2 students)
  • Healthcare Innovation – University of Oxford (1 student)
  • HighWire – Lancaster University (6 students)
  • Media and Arts Technology – Queen Mary University of London (4 students)
  • My Life in Data (Horizon) – University of Nottingham (4 students)
  • Web Science – University of Southampton (4 students).

The next writing retreat will take place on 19-20 June at the popular venue of Wyresdale Park in Scorton, Lancashire.

DEN would like to thank Andy Darby of the HighWire CDT for facilitating the event.

If you have any questions about the DEN writing retreats, please contact Felicia Black, DEN Manager at felicia.black@nottingham.ac.uk.

Felicia Black

DEN Manager

Writing in the Woodlands

After the popularity of the DEN CDT PhD Writing Retreats held at Wyresdale Park, hosted by the HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training in Lancaster, DEN organised the first Midlands-based event at The Woodlands at Hothorpe Hall in rural Leicestershire.

28 PhD students from across nine of the DEN CDTs attended the 2-day residential retreat, which took place on 21-22 March, with representation from the Cloud Computing, Digital Civics, Embedded Intelligence, Financial Computing, Healthcare Innovation, HighWire, Horizon, Media & Arts Technology and Web Science centres.

Writing retreat

The retreats, funded by the Network, provide the opportunity for CDT students to focus on a piece of research writing of their choice, where they can work individually in a series of time-focused sessions, whilst benefiting from being able to network and receive support from peers during the breaks and over dinner.

Writing  projects and goals at this retreat included thesis work, journals, papers, presentations and PhD annual review reports.

The Woodlands venue, with surrounding Hall and lodge accommodation on-site, appeared to be a popular venue, so DEN will look to organise another retreat at the Theddingworth based facility in 2018.

The next two DEN writing retreats will take place on 16-17 May (Gloucestershire) and 19-20 June (Lancashire).  Thank you to Andy Darby, of HighWire CDT for facilitating the retreat.