HKU Department of Sociology RPG Student Writing Retreat

Mon 16 Oct 2023
9:30am - 5:00pm



The aim of a structured writing retreat is to use dedicated writing time to progress our writing projects in a supportive, non-surveillance environment. Example projects include thesis/book chapters, journal articles, research proposals and reports.

We use most of the time for writing, all of us in the same room. Brief scheduled discussions between writing slots often generate solutions to writing problems, develop drafts, lead to research-orientated conversations and provide feedback on writing in-progress.

Retreat works best when you:

  • Focus exclusively on writing
  • Agree not to use internet in the writing room
  • Define specific goals and sub-goals i.e. sections of a 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

To prepare for the retreat:

  • Decide on a writing project
  • Read the Murray and Newton (2009) article
  • Review the retreat programme: begin to plan writing tasks for timeslots in each day
  • Do as much of the reading and other preparation as you can
  • Gather necessary notes, plans, outlines etc. Outline the structure of your project
  • Download what you need

What to bring:
Laptop, power cable, any relevant papers or notes, memory stick

Provisional schedule:
• 9:30am – 10:00am Introductions, writing warm up, setting goals, planning
• 10:00am – 11:15am Writing
• 11:15am – 11:45am Break and review
• 11:45am – 1:15pm Writing
• 1:15pm – 2:00pm Lunch and re-evaluating goals
• 2:00pm – 3:00pm Writing
• 3:00pm – 3:15pm Break and review
• 3:15pm – 4:30pm Writing
• 4:30pm – 5:00pm Wrap up

Additional information:
The programme is based on retreats run by Professor Rowena Murray, University of West of Scotland. Rowena has published extensively on academic writing and is a very experienced facilitator. Rowena’s research indicates that writing retreats can result in significant outcomes in terms of research-orientated interactions and relationships, building confidence in writing and research and creating cross-disciplinary research conversations.

Murray R and Newton M (2009) ‘Writing retreat as a structured intervention: margin or mainstream?’ Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5):527 – 39

**This event is open to HKU Sociology MPhil and PhD students (by invitation) only.**

Dr Tom McDonald