Creative strategies for developing academic writing: a writing retreat project
Moriarty, J. and Antoniou, M. (2007) Creative strategies for developing academic writing: a writing retreat project In: Creativity or Conformity? Building Cultures of Creativity in Higher Education, 8-10 Jan 2007, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
This paper describes a writing retreat project funded by the Creativity CETL (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching). The project involves running two writing retreats for lecturers from the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex. We explain how we are using methods adopted on a creative writing module at the University of Brighton, to help academic staff develop the confidence, motivation and inspiration to write, and to guide them to adopt effective writing habits. Writing and publishing are increasingly crucial to the development of a successful academic career. However, academics typically receive little guidance and support on how to establish and maintain this strand of their job. Any advice that does exist tends to focus on the technical and practical aspects of writing for scholarly publication. This often makes writing seem a challenge to be endured for the sake of one’s career rather than enjoyed and used for vocational and personal development. Instead of gaining a sense of achievement and pride from their writing, academics often view writing as an unwanted pressure, and experience the process of writing as demoralising and damaging to self-confidence. In this paper we briefly outline the format of our writing retreats and the ethos behind their design. We discuss the relationship we perceive between creativity and learning, and the false divide we often see between ‘the academic and ‘the creative’. We end the paper by offering a writing exercise – Laudation Poem – as an example of the work that our retreat participants are expected to undertake.
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