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CIM Writing Retreat for Early Career Researchers

CIM Writing Retreat for Early Career Researchers

The first CIM Writing Retreat took place at Scarman House at the University of Warwick in May 2022. This event was organised and dedicated to Early Career Researchers (ECRs) within CIM and besides from writing outputs, brought some great collaboration ideas.

The group of eight ECRs at CIM includes Research and Teaching Fellows who work on various research projects and teach within CIM’s three master programmes. The ECRs group was established to create a space for peer collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange, on top of daily work. The organisation of the retreat was led by Dr Chiara Poletti and Dr Zofia Bednarowska-Michaiel, with a great support of professional staff at CIM.

The Writing Retreat was designed collaboratively as the culmination of the last year's online discussions within the ECRs Group. While reflecting on challenging of working during Covid-19, well-being in academia, we also realized how much these challenges have affected our potential to initiate interdisciplinary collaborations.

The idea for the retreat came from the shared need for connection. During the last few years, the increased workload due to pandemic have given little opportunity for ECRs to get to know one another or to nurture knowledge exchange or collaborations. The retreat was an opportunity to meet in person for the first time since the Covid-19, and to carve out a ‘slow paced’ time for writing, interdisciplinary exchange, and peer learning.

As a group, we have reflected on the work conditions within academia. In our discussions, we felt that the academic space for exchange can be very rigid, squeezed by the limited timeframes at conferences and workshops, overemphasising individual authorship, and the one-to-many mode of communication, and focused on presenting ‘finished’ and ‘flawless’ texts.

For this reason, we have worked to enact a more open-ended form of collaboration for writing, peer-led discussion, and exchange, where the retreat represents the key supportive space for collaboration where the time and space of the contributions can take place in an iterative way and in a collegial environment. During the retreat we made plans for future publications, shared writing projects in progress, and received feedback on projects developed during the Writing Retreat. It showed a valuable way to contribute to establishing an interdisciplinary academic culture and ground for collaborations.

With many of us involved in caring responsibilities, the retreat also created the opportunity to discuss the division between public spaces, where intellectual labour used to be predominantly conducted, and the obfuscation of care and reproductive labour, which usually takes place in private and domestic spaces.

We believe this format of writing retreat for academic production and attention to the ways in which research is produced could become a distinctive part of the research culture at CIM. We also hope this retreat will strengthen the case for future engagement of the university towards a more inclusive system.

CIM ECRs group

Dr Chiara Poletti

Dr Zofia Bednarowska-Michaiel

Dr Neda Genova

Dr Daniele Pizio

Dr Scott Wark

Dr Janna Joceli Omena

Dr Lluis de Nadal Alsina

Dr Lucy Michaels

Image description/Alt-text:

CIM Early Career Researchers working on their writing projects. Author: Dr Daniele Pizio