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3T1 Boardroom

Colin Bell Building

University of Stirling

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA

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Do you want dedicated writing time to progress your writing projects in a supportive, non-surveillance environment?

At First Friday Writing Days you will use dedicated writing time to progress your writing projects in a supportive environment. We will use most of the time for writing, all of us in the same room. Between the writing slots we will use brief discussions that often generate solutions to writing problems, develop drafts, lead to research-oriented conversations and provide feedback on writing-in-progress.


The case for ‘repeat-retreat’

At these retreats we focus on progressing a range of projects and produce a range of written outputs: PhD chapters, books, conference abstracts, journal articles and research proposals. Significant outcomes include growing research-oriented conversations and relationships, building confidence in writing and research and creating cross-disciplinary research conversations. For these reasons, and with these outputs and outcomes in mind, regular attendance at structured writing retreats is recommended (see list of references below). Such outcomes are also supported by various other writing groups, workshops and micro-groups that meet on campus and in other settings.


Retreats work best when you

  • Focus exclusively on writing
  • Agree not to use the internet in the writing room
  • Define specific goals and sub-goals, i.e. sections of paper/chapter, number of words
  • Define and discuss content and structure for writing sub-goals
  • Take stock of your achievements of these goals throughout the programme
  • Discuss your writing-in-progress – mutual peer support


Before you go to retreat

  • Decide on a writing project
  • Read Murray and Newton (2009) article - reference details below
  • Review retreat programme: plan writing tasks for timeslots in each day
  • Do reading and other preparation before retreat
  • Get notes, plans, outlines etc, together. Outline the structure of your paper/chapter
  • Download what you need and print


What to bring to retreat

  • Laptop, power cable, memory stick, notes, outlines, ‘model’ paper, data, warm jacket etc (for walk around loch before lunch) and a mug (for the coffee breaks).




Retreat Programme

9.00 – 9.15 Set-up laptops and notes etc; (bring your own early coffee)

9.15 – 9.30 Writing warm-up, goal setting

09.30 – 11.00 Writing

11.00 – 11.30 Break (Tea and coffee provided – bring your own mug)

11.30 – 12.30 Writing

12.30 – 2.00 Activity (12.30 – 1.15) & Lunch (1.15 – 2.00)

2.00 – 3.00 Writing

3.00 – 3.15 Break

3.15 – 4.15 Writing

4.15 – 4.30 Taking Stock, next steps





‘Structured Writing Retreats’ were originally developed by Professor Rowena Murray, University of the West of Scotland. This one-day retreat has been devised for the Faculty of Social Sciences by Dr Maureen K Michael – an expert facilitator of the Structured Writing Retreat model, and member of ProPEL: Professional Practice, Education and Learning, an international network for research at the University of Stirling.


Further Information

Questions about this one-day Structured Writing Retreat at the University of Stirling can be emailed to Dr Maureen K Michael, m.k.michael@stir.ac.uk More information on Structured Writing Retreats and academic writing

can be found at http://www.rowenamurray.org/





Background reading

For evidence of impact on research outputs and research capacity development:

Murray R (2015) Writing in social spaces: A social processes approach to academic writing. London: Routledge.

Murray, R (2012) It’s not a hobby: Reconceptualizing the place of writing in academic work, Higher Education. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-012-9591-7.

MacLeod I, Steckley L & Murray R (2011) Time is not enough: Promoting strategic engagement with writing for publication, Studies in Higher Education, 37(5): 641-54.

Moore S, Murphy M & Murray R (2010) Increasing academic output and supporting equality of career opportunity in universities: Can writers’ retreats play a role?, Journal of Faculty Development, 24(3): 21-30.

Murray R (2011) Developing a community of research practice, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5): 783-800.

Murray R & Newton M (2009) Writing retreat as structured intervention: Margin or mainstream?, Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5): 527-39.

Murray R (2013) Writing for Academic Journals, 3rd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.



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3T1 Boardroom

Colin Bell Building

University of Stirling

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA

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