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Academic Writing Retreat

The Beehive, Rydal Road, LA22 9BB Ambleside

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University of Cumbria writing retreats provide an opportunity and support for participants to make significant advances in their research and scholarly writing.

The aim is to get writing done. The majority of the time is spent in silent writing. These events are open to all masters and doctoral level participants.

In order to be more productive in the future, brief discussions amongst participants are structured to help shed light on writing and writing habits. Additional support comes from one to one discussions with the workshop leaders.

The writing retreats are aimed at academics especially and master’s students who have a writing project in progress. It might be one or more chapters of a dissertation or thesis, a research paper or a chapter or book that needs some writing and editing.

We use most of the time for writing, in silence, with all of us in the same room. Brief discussions between writing slots often generate solutions to writing problems, develop drafts, lead to research-orientated conversations and provide feedback on writing-in progress. In addition, one or two experienced and published academics will be on hand to offer individual support and tutorials.

Writing retreats get work done, but they also help to establish ways of approaching writing that have benefits for your subsequent productivity.

Dates, times, venue and accommodation

The Beehive, Ambleside Campus

Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided but meals are not included. It is recommended (but not compulsory) that all participants stay overnight. Residential university accommodation is available at the Ambleside campus. It is usual (and again not compulsory) for participants to share a meal on the evening of the first day. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided but meals are not included.

The two day retreat takes place on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday and the timings are slightly different.

Monday day 1    9.30 - 17.30

Evening meal and overnight in halls of residence

Tuesday day 2    09.00 - 17.00


Thursday day 1 9.30 – 17.30

Evening meal and overnight in halls of residence

Friday day 2 08.00-16.00


Registration and costs

University of Cumbria Academic Staff:  There is a fee waiver for the retreat and optional overnight accommodation but it does not include the optional evening meal, normally you would be able to claim this from your usual travel claim expenses.

University of Cumbria registered students:  There is a fee waiver for the retreat but you need to pay for the optional evening meal and overnight accommodation if required. Overnight with accommodation in the Ambleside Halls of Residence £32.00. The restaurant meal is normally up to £20.

External academics and students: There is a retreat registration fee of £65 for the two day sessions. If you need accommodation then it is £32 per night. Meals are not included but there is a campus café and plenty of good local cafes and restaurants.

Please let the administrator know, at least a week in advance, if you are unable to attend. Clearly there are costs involved in no-shows or late cancellations and so these must be avoided except in exceptional circumstances.

Participation rules

The writing retreat is an opportunity for writing time. An important part of the milieu is lack of interruption. Ideally no emails and no texts. Clearly a two-day moratorium is unrealistic but do what you can to make sure that you do not need to attend to messages except at lunch time and evenings, other than health and family emergencies of course.

The rules below help us to create the environment where we focus on our writing projects. Dedicating time collectively helps us support each other:

  1. Full attendance for the whole of both days
  2. Maintain a relentless focus on writing during the two days
  3. Come reasonably prepared having done some pre-reading and gathered reading materials
  4. Have a writing plan for the weekend with some self-imposed stretch targets
  5. Bring author guidelines and an exemplar paper from your target journal (if relevant)
  6. No emails, no phone and no other work permitted during the retreat writing sessions
  7. Be prepared to give and receive critical friend feedback on draft writing
  8. Limited one to one support is available but facilitators also have their own writing targets
  9. In terms of confidentiality Chatham House Rules apply
  10. All participants must contribute to the evaluation of the retreat

What to bring to the Retreat

You need to bring a laptop, power cable, memory stick, notes, outlines, relevant reading materials, and any data.  Also needed are an overnight bag and enough cash for a drink and your dinner.


The programme varies slightly depending on whether it is at the beginning or end of the week and is subject to some adjustment in progress. The overall pattern is long periods of silent work on one’s own writing, defined breaks for everyone together and short sessions sharing plans and progress.

Programme - Day 1
09.30 - 10.00 Start: Goal setting and introductions
10.00 - 11.30 Writing
11.30 - 11.45 Break
11.45 - 13.00 Writing
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.15 Writing
15.15 - 15.45 Break
15.45 – 17.00 Writing
17.00 – 17.30 Review
19.00 Evening meal

Overnight accommodation at the University (optional), hotel or nearby B&B (those who live nearby may drive home).

09.00 - 10.15 Writing
10.15 - 10.45 Review and target setting
10.45 - 11.00 Break
11.00 - 12.30 Writing
12.30 - 13.30 Lunch
13.30 - 15.15 Writing
15.15 - 16.00 Review
16.00 - 17.15 Final writing session


If you have queries about academic aspects of the retreat, for example to check that your writing plan is suitable, please contact Hilary Constable

Booking a place

For reservations, please book online.  If you wish to book for more than one writing retreat, please register for each event separately. For all queries about practical aspects of the retreat please contact the Research Office

Event details

The Beehive, Rydal Road, LA22 9BB Ambleside

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