WriteFest 2018 – a month of writing related events

WriteFest was established as a way to support academic writing via the #AcWriMo hashtag on Twitter. During November 2018, the LDC Development team will be running WriteFest in collaboration with the Researcher KnowHow team at the library. This is our local contribution to this global academic writing month, with the aim of bringing people together to raise awareness and celebrate academic writing.

At the start of the month, we have a very special one-off event lined up – Writing Without Discipline, a creative look at developing sustained writing habits. We will continue to build that writing habit throughout the month with regular writing retreats, workshops and webinars to keep your motivation up. For the full programme of events, check out the WriteFest18 website. Join the writing fun, in person and online at #WriteFest18

Writing Without Discipline – Tuesday 6 Nov 10:00 – 12:00
In this interactive workshop, we combine video and face-to-face facilitation to help you get to grips with creative writing methods and techniques to build writing into your daily routine. The workshop will provide a framework for understanding how writing is constructed, discuss tools you can use to approach your writing and help you to think creatively about your writing habits.

Whether you are at the early stages of your PhD or in the final phase of thesis writing, this workshop will help you develop techniques to sustain your writing practice through academic writing month and beyond.

The workshop is facilitated by Dr Matthew Cheeseman, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Derby (on video) and Dr Eli Saetnan, Academic Developer at University of Liverpool (in person).

row of students writing


Preparing for your future after the PhD

Statistics show that those with a postgraduate qualification do gain significant rewards in their ongoing career: they earn approximately £5,500 more per year, or £200,000 more over a 40-year working life (Sutton Report ), they earn around 9% more than graduates over the course of a lifetime, (Institute of Fiscal Studies, 2015) and are over 20% more likely to be in a professional occupation (Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2017). Careful planning of your own career can help you make the most of your doctoral qualification.

Do you know what you want from your future career?
If you are looking outside of academia, how can you find out about different careers and employers?
Do you have sufficient experience  to prove yourself to a future employer?
How can you best prepare for applications?

Many aspects of career preparation are best started much earlier in the PhD and can be accomplished a little at a time, such as two or three hours each month. A short break from the stresses of research can  be helpful, even in the writing up phase.

There is a range of support within the LDC Development programme and the wider University to help you prepare for your future:

Career planning:

We offer several workshops within the LDC Development programme that will help you assess what you might want from a future career, and prepare for the move to future employment. Coming up with have the workshops, The Career Wise Researcher (1st Nov) and The Emotionally Intelligent Researcher (6 Dec). You can also find related information in our online resources, Career Management Skills.

Researching career options:

To gain further information on potential career options you may need to seek out further sources. Your Faculty, school or Institute may offer career related workshops that are specific to your subject area or researcher conferences may offer similar sessions. The University Careers and Employability service offer CareerConnect, events where you can meet and network with external employers. These sessions will also provide advice on the types of experience to succeed in different areas of employment. Alternatively there are online areas, such as LinkedIn, where you can gain similar information.

Our upcoming workshop, Networking for your Career (8th Nov) will help you make the most of these events and the webinar,  Using LinkedIn to Manage Your Career (1st Nov) offers advice for managing this online environment.

Preparing for the application process:

 The LDC Development programme also offers workshops to assist in the application process, which are again specific to PhD level employment. Coming up we have Shining at Interview (15Nov) and the webinars, Developing Effective CVs and Applications (15th Nov) and Developing your Interview Skills (6th Dec).

The workshop, Get That Academic Job! (29th Nov) offers useful advice to those looking for academic career.

There is also a wide range of online advice in the LDC Development online resources, Career Management Skills and through the Careers and Employability CareerHub.


Developing Intellectually as a researcher

How will you develop critical analysis, problem-solving and decision-making skills?

Successful research demands a wide range of skills, including skills in creative & critical thinking.  During your PhD, you must be creative in order to develop new ideas in research, deliver engaging presentations and solve problems.  Gaining confidence in creativity will also help you foster critical analysis, risk taking and decision making in order to better manage the uncertainties that surface in the research process.

Developing skills in these areas in the research environment isn’t always easy. Workshops offer an alternative space where you can learn and experiment with new ideas in a safe environment.

Coming up, we have a workshop on improvisation by Dr Ahmed Al Naher, which introduces the ‘Improv’ technique to help you in making decisions and be spontaneous and creative in your work, particularly when presenting.

24 Oct 09:30 – 12:30 Improvisation in the workplace – a tool for research

Then there are two further workshops delivered by Dr Aimee Blackledge that will help you develop as a researcher by introducing creative approaches to support you in problem solving, building confidence and starting your professional development planning.

07 Nov 13:00 – 16:30 Setting Goals for 2019
22 Nov 10:00 – 15:00 Gaining Confidence as a Researcher

You can find out more on how the LDC Development programme can help with your creative & critical thinking through our theme: Creativity & Critical thinking, which also introduces the techniques of Design Thinking and Lego® SeriousPlay®, together with further online resources to stimulate your approach in this area.

How is your thesis writing going?

row of students writingIt is the start of the academic year, summer is over and the University is again buzzing with students. For us in the LDC Development team, this is an exciting time of year. We have a great new programme of workshops and webinars lined up and are looking forward to meeting lots of interesting PGRs, both familiar faces and new.

Many of us find it difficult to keep up the motivation for writing during a busy academic year. You may have teaching responsibilities to manage, or you may be busy with experiments or data collection. Or maybe just the long nights and gloomy days are getting you down. Joining a community of writers to share both successes and frustrations, and cheer each other on can help.

For our programme this academic year, we have added even more support for thesis writing. Based on the success of our summer writing retreats, we have added a series of monthly mini writing retreats. These are a great way of keeping your thesis writing (or other writing) progressing through the year. They provide time and space for writing, but crucially also moral support and motivation to keep writing. If you have never attended a writing retreat before, and are not sure what to expect, check out this brief video: https://spark.adobe.com/video/1V64D

The first mini writing retreat is scheduled for 24th October. Follow this link for details and booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mini-writing-retreat-registration-49939016944

And if you like the idea of writing retreats, check out the programme for WriteFest18. During November, also known as Academic Writing Month, we will have writing retreats scheduled every week along with a full programme of writing related workshops – a veritable Festival of Writing!

WriteFest 2018