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CREATEC Weekly Seminar Series - Dr Sally Stewart Knowles

Friday, 11 August 2017


Presenter: Dr Sally Knowles

Title: Writers in retreat: finding time and space for drifting, reflecting, pondering and dreaming.

Biography: Dr Sally Knowles is a Research Development Advisor based in the Office of Research and Innovation at Edith Cowan University (ECU) where she supports staff with their writing for research and publication. To help writers sustain and enhance the quality of their writing experiences, Sally seeks to create a vibrant research writing culture that is socially robust and collegial. Since 2003, following Barbara Grant’s retreat model, she has facilitated over 50 academic writing retreats for several Australian Universities and research institutes. She has organised and participated in a cross-institutional community of women scholars called Women Writing Away (WA) who have been meeting seasonally in a restorative bush setting for 14 years

Abstract: In universities, constant pressure to meet publishing imperatives is producing a demoralised, isolated and fatigued workforce. While supporting research writing is recognised as critical for a vibrant research environment, often silence surrounds practices and processes leading to publication. The academic writing retreat model has proven efficacious in providing dedicated time to boost writing productivity and a collegial ethos that fosters cooperative models of intellectual generosity. Participants consistently endorse the model for being able to build on this community/culture that is largely absent from routine academic life. In this presentation, I explore the benefits for doctoral students and academics of ongoing writing retreat communities that meet in residential and on-campus settings. I report on a follow-up study of a community practising generous scholarship created as part of an Australian university’s strategy to strengthen its research environment. Longitudinal data (from 20 writing retreats I facilitated over three years) and evaluations collected as a normal part of retreat practice provide evidence of publications, sharing of writing practices and publishing knowledge/experience, often leading to participant-led initiatives to establish new groups.

Event details

Date: Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Time: 12.30pm - 1.30pm
Venue: ECU Mount Lawley Campus, Building 10, Room 10.308
Cost: Free
Light lunch will be provided


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