Writing retreats as writing pedagogy
Keywords:Writing retreats, writing groups, writing pedagogy, writing for publication
Writing retreats are an invaluable way of providing research students and early career researchers with opportunities for extended periods of time for their writing (MacLeod et al., 2012; Murray, 2013, 2014, 2015; Murray and Newtown, 2009; Murray et al., 2012; Petrova and Coughlin, 2012). This is important both for students who are under pressure for timely completion of their degrees and academic staff in the early stages of their careers who, once they have obtained an academic appointment, need to establish themselves in their fields as well as meet tenure track requirements that have been set by their employing institutions. This is as true for native speaking writers as it is for non-native speaking writers (Habibie, 2015), all of whom have to be able to write academically in English, the international language of research, and often face challenges in doing this. This paper discusses both the nature and benefits of writing retreats. It then provides an example of a writing retreat that focuses on writing for publication that has been on offer for the past four years at the University of Sydney, Australia. It describes how the retreat has evolved, how it is organized in its present form, and how participants have responded to the retreat. The paper concludes by arguing that writing retreats are a valuable opportunity for writing pedagogy, showing how both pedagogy and opportunities for extended writing can be brought together within the context of these retreats.
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