A three day residential event offering support and dedicated writing time in beautiful surroundings

18 April 2016 - 20 April 2016
Location: Woodbrooke, Birmingham

A common frustration for SEDA members is finding quiet time to write for publication. In response to members’ requests this retreat will provide a quiet and beautiful space for new and more experienced writers keen to complete writing for publication or conferences. The writing retreat offers you a ‘safe space’ where you are encouraged to feel at home and gain that dedicated writing time free from the usual distractions with support from a facilitator. Woodbrooke is based in the former family home of the local chocolate maker, George Cadbury. Since 1903 it has provided education for those of any faith or none from around the world. Woodbrooke is set in 10 acres of gardens and woodland, including a lake and walled garden.

The days of the retreat will be about you and your writing. You won’t be interrupted, but support will be available as will opportunities to share issues and ideas, including walks through the peaceful grounds.

The aim of the retreat is to provide an opportunity to complete a piece of writing, article or conference paper that is in the development stage. An alternative writing task might be your claim for Principal or Senior Higher Education Fellowship. For this reason participants are asked to identify their writing task on registration. Once your place is confirmed you will be asked to submit further details of the proposed writing project.

All participants will have their own comfortable room, with a writing desk, most of which are en suite. All meals are included. Where possible the fruit, vegetables and herbs are grown organically from the gardens. Participants will need to bring their own laptops.

Woodbrooke has a library which is open 24 hours to residents. The Silent Room and the Gazebo in the garden are available for private for private prayer and contemplation. There is wireless internet connection throughout the buildings. A lounge with a terrace overlooking the garden is available for all guests to relax and socialise in. SEDA has two meeting rooms available for exclusive use of delegates for communal writing.


Anna Jones is Professor in Education at the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning at Glasgow Caledonian University. Before that she worked at King’s College London and at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include graduate attributes, disciplinary cultures in higher education, theorising academic development, academic practice, medical education and the role of higher education in society. She has extensive experience in both teaching and academic development. She has published in a range of journals including Studies in Higher Education, Teaching in Higher Education, HERDSA, IJAD, IETI, London Review of Education, Journal of Further and Higher Education as well as chapters in edited books. While she often finds writing a struggle and spends many days just sitting at her desk kicking the wall, it is something she loves doing and that she finds greatly rewarding.

Frances Deepwell is Director of Leicester Learning Institute at the University of Leicester. Formerly Chair of the Scholarship, Research and Evaluation committee of SEDA, she has a deep interest in developing knowledge about what sustains enhancements in higher education practices, and how to evaluate and disseminate its effectiveness. She has published in a range of journals, and written chapters in edited books in the field of educational development and research, most recently co-editing a SEDA Special celebrating the achievements of small grant funding. As a developing coach, she loves to motivate others in building a narrative around their practice. As a researcher, she gets great pleasure from improving academic standards in our field.

Three-day retreat: 18-20 April 2016, £425Arrival before 11am on Monday 18th April and depart after 4pm on Wednesday 20th April. Includes; lunch and dinner on 18th April; Full board on 19th and breakfast and lunch on 20th April.B&B Accommodation: 17 April 2016, £53B&B Accommodation: 20 April 2016, £53

Day 1

11.00-12.00 Arrival and Welcome

Outline of retreat and setting writing intentions

12.00-13.00 Writing session 1

13.00-14.00 Lunch / walk

14.00-16.00 Writing session 2

16.00-16.30 Tea and printing

16.30-18.30 Writing session 3, with optional peer review

19.00 Dinner

20.00 Conversations about peer review and publishing (optional)

Creative session in the art room (optional)

Day 2

08.30 Breakfast

09.00-09.30 Warm up session

09.30-13.00 Writing session 4 (coffee break at 11)

Review of writing intentions

13.00-14.00 Lunch / walk

14.00-16.00 Writing session 5

16.00-16.30 Tea, printing and proof reading

16.30-18.30 Writing session 6, with optional peer review, or

Creative session in the art room

19.00 Dinner

Day 3

08.30 Breakfast

09.00-10.00 Review of writing intentions

10.00-12.00 Writing session 7 (coffee break at 11)

12.00-13.00 Sharing progress and action planning

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-16.00 Writing session 8

Reflections on writing achievements

  • Each room has its own desk
  • Communal areas are also available for writing
  • Please bring lap top and memory stick. Wifi available
  • Bring comfortable shoes for walking