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CHASE Essentials: Narrative Craft ‘Stretch Immersive'

***Suitable for mid to late-stage PhD students***

Please note: this weekend involves a follow up day on the Saturday 13 June that you must attend

We have been working with True North, a group of writers and Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellows Anna Barker, Tina Pepler and Marina Benjamin, who specialise in transposing creative writing techniques into the context of academic writing.

This extended workshop runs over two consecutive weekends, with set ‘homework’ and individual tutorials taking place during the intervening week. It is designed to help you build structural integrity and argumentative coherence into your PhD at a time when you might feel overwhelmed by the many pathways your research opens up to you. This ‘muddled middle’ phase of writing is also a very creative time, and the professional writers leading this workshop will help you harness your best ideas and inspirations so that you can review and refresh your commitment to your thesis.

First Weekend:

Day One: Structure, coherence and flow. You will focus on finding the through-line in your work, plotting your argument, revisiting, revising and ranking your key questions, and identifying the nature of your personal investment in your work – since that is linked both to impetus and to your direction of travel.

Day Two: Voice, openings and ‘connective tissue’. This day is devoted to the business of making yourself present in your work.

Second Weekend:

Day Three: Embracing your obstacles. This final day will embed the shift in self-assurance achieved over the week. We focus on articulating - and sometimes embracing - the obstacles in your way, and showing how metaphor and genre can deepen your research and add nuance, without generating needless complexity.

By the end of the course:

You will have developed a tool kit for navigating your way through the creative chaos that often characterises PhDs at this stage.

You will have learned some of the creative writing techniques that can amplify the most persuasive, compelling and engaging aspects of your research – with no loss of academic rigour.

You will know how to think like a writer, and understand the interplay between investment, structure, and your personal writing practice.

You will better know what you can bring to your research that is distinctive and original.

Feedback for retreats

I anticipated that this retreat would be helpful, but it wholeheartedly exceeded my expectations. My approaches to writing have not simply been improved, but completely shaken up in the best way possible. Thank you!
— from 3rd year PhD student retreats (Shepherds Dene 2018)
This has been the most useful training so far in the PhD. I think this will be a fantastic turning point in my project…
— 3rd year PhD student retreats (Shepherds Dene 2018)

Terms and conditions

The following groups are eligible to attend the training

By registering below you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you. 

If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.