PhD students escape from the OGGB

19 August 2014
PhD Writing Retreat
PhD writing retreat

In mid-June, 19 doctoral students from across the Business School headed off to Long Bay for the annual three-day PhD Writing Retreat, held at the Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat and Conference Centre.

As in previous years, Emeritus Professor Kerr Inkson contributed his time and expertise to lead the Retreat but this year he was also joined by Dr Mark Bowler Smith from the Commercial Law Department.

The retreat allows students the opportunity to escape from the distractions of their busy everyday lives and spend three days focusing entirely on their writing. Before the retreat even began, students were asked to outline their objectives, whether it was completing a particular piece of writing or meeting a targeted number of words in their doctoral thesis.

The double facilitation team of Kerr and Mark allowed the students to meet one-on-one with a facilitator and receive targeted and individualised feedback about their writing.

Mark led a session where he asked the students to critique a piece of writing that was taken from a doctoral thesis. The students enjoyed breaking down the writing, in order to assess what makes a “good” piece of writing.

Each night, Kerr organised a fun activity for those students who needed to take a break from their writing. On the first night students volunteered to take part in a thesis-in-three competition. Omid Sherkat from Accounting and Finance took out first prize as he was able to articulate the objectives and research methods of his research in a succinct manner. On the second evening, students had a great time breaking into teams for a quiz night.

The retreat received great feedback from the students, with many wishing it had been longer. MIB student Mariaelena Huambachano said: “From intense writing sessions, to mini lectures, to the pub quiz, the writing retreat was certainly a very enriching, peaceful and enjoyable experience for me. In particular, Kerr and Mark’s commitment and academic writing expertise was very stimulating!”

For many, this event allows them the chance to refocus on their PhD and what they want to achieve from their doctoral experience. Omid Sherkat said: “The writing retreat was an opportunity to not only reflect on writing but also rethink the entire PhD journey.