Report of 3rd Annual Culture Medicine & Power Writing Retreat

Blog post by Tara Mahfoud

The Culture Medicine & Power research group held its 3rd annual writing retreat on 19-20 January in Walberswick on the Suffolk Coast of England. The goal of the retreat is to inspire creativity and confidence in academic writing, focusing on creating a supportive environment where CMP members can generate new material, experiment with different writing styles, brainstorm new ideas for future projects or articles, as well as share and receive feedback on preliminary writing. Here is what CMP members had to say about the retreat:

IMG_4223“The writing retreat was a creative, fun, and learning-filled weekend. It was a perfect place to explore and share written work, and it gave me plenty food for thought on how to present work in the future.  As a first-year PhD student, it was a great opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues and department professors in a different environment.”

  • Emma Wynne Bannister

“As a first year PhD student, the writing retreat provided the best opportunity I’ve had so far to get to know others from the department. Not only do I now have people to call on to discuss academic themes, or theoretical approaches, but I also feel more connected to the work of the wider research group, and department. It was really fun to experiment with novel writing techniques and styles, and surprisingly easy- despite my initial fears of self-consciousness. I have already implemented a few of the techniques in my writing since.”

  • Sally King

IMG_4215“Through utilizing a series of creative exercises in a supportive and kind environment, the writing retreat allowed me to explore new writing styles and break from my rigid ways of writing. This experience was very enriching I still reflect on it and the lessons I learned in it.”

  • Zeina Amro

Programme – Day 1

8:00-9:00                   Breakfast

 9:00-9:45                   Writing Exercise 1: Telegraphic

9:45-10:30                Writing Exercise 2: Choose your own style

10:30-11:00              Coffee Break

11:00-11:45              Writing Exercise 3: Decision Tree

11:45-12:30              Writing Exercise 4: Choose your own style

12:30-1:30                Lunch Break

2:00-3:30       Writing Exercise 5: Identifying stylistic features.

Pick a page or two of writing by one of your favourite authors – this                                     could be an academic piece of work, fiction, poetry, journalism, or                                   anything that inspires you! Read it over and over again, copy it down                     word for word, and in so doing, try to identify its stylistic features. Note                   these down.

3:30-5:00       Writing Exercise 6: Emulating style.

Choose a piece of writing from your own work, and try to rewrite it in                      the style of the author you have chosen. You need to use your own                                 words, of course, but try to imagine how this author would have written                  your text.

7:30-9:30                   Dinner

Programme – Day 2

8:00-9:00                   Breakfast

 9:00-9:45                   Writing Exercise 7: Auditory, olfactory, or tactile

9:45-10:30                Independent writing

10:30-11:00              Coffee Break

11:00-11:45              Writing Exercise 8: Write a mini-story in the first person.

Take on the persona of one of your interlocutors or, if you prefer,                             a fictional person.

11:45-12:30              Independent writing

12:30-1:30                Lunch Break

2:00-3:30                   Writing Exercise 9: Writing with an image.

Bring an image from your fieldwork or research and exchange it                             with your neighbour. Use their image to tell a story prompted by                         it.

3:30-5:00                   Writing Exercise 10: Recycle.

Go back to a piece of old work that you never published or                                       integrated into your dissertation. Take a line from it and write a                                new story based on it.

7:30-9:30                   Dinner

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