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Skillshare Writing Workshop

written by Rachel Allison
“Writing? Yeah.” By Caleb Roenigk, https/ //

MAASTRICHT, 25 February 2018 – This July, the Making Clinical Sense (MCS) team will be holding a four-day event, ‘Learning/teaching materials: A skillshare workshop’. The workshop will bring together Dutch and international scholars from across disciplines, exploring, amongst other things, skill, learning/teaching, and expertise, and will be held in the beautiful Teaching Hotel Chateau Bethlehem on the outskirts of Maastricht. We are all very excited about this workshop (the first to come from the MCS project) and will post more details soon.

PhD Day: A Skillshare Writing Workshop

Beyond the four day workshop, Andrea and I (with the help of the rest of the MCS team) are organising a ‘PhD day’. This one-day event – running over Thursday 12 July and Friday 13 July – has the express purpose of being ‘organised by and for PhD students’.

We have designed the day as a ‘Skillshare Writing Workshop’, in this way extending the theme of the overall workshop, whilst specifically focusing on the craft of academic writing. At Maastricht University – particularly within the MUSTS research programme, within which MCS is situated – and also within the WTMC (the national graduate programme that Andrea and I belong to) we have many opportunities to share academic texts ‘in progress.’ This, for instance, can take the form of working dissertation chapters (as happens in WTMC’s ‘write shops’), or articles, conference presentations, etc., which one is stuck on, or fine-tuning, for instance (as is the case at the MUSTS weekly ‘work in progress’ meetings). However, Andrea and I both felt that – though these shared sessions are an invaluable resource in the latter stages of writing – we were in need of some guidance in our initial, sometimes desperate, attempts to move from collected empirical material to academic text. Hence, the thinking behind the ‘Skillshare Writing Workshop’.

This workshop will focus on the stage of writing that comes upon returning from the field or resurfacing from the archive (timely considering our current research trajectories). The very practical question driving the workshop is: How do we move from material – fieldnotes, (sensory) experience, a quote from a transcript, photographs, videos, documents – to academic text? 

As hinted at, this is quite an invisible stage of writing, and one that we often struggle through (mostly) alone. Over the course of the writing workshop we will thus take the time to articulate what this stage of the writing process entails as well as develop skills for working through it. To do this, we are posing the following guiding questions: What are the challenges related to beginning to write? How have we learnt to write? How does this relate to the identified challenges? What happens to our subjects and our material as we work towards an academic text?

Beyond working through these questions, the participants of the workshop will be asked to submit a ‘think piece’ – that is, some form of material gathered/generated during research – and will, throughout the course of the workshop, move towards translating this piece into text. The workshop will be composed of both junior and senior scholars, and we expect that this combination will allow for a ‘skill share’ related to the creation of academic text.

Although we will focus on a practical skill during the workshop, the scholars who have been invited share thematic interests with the MCS research team. These include materiality, technology, the senses, skill development, medicine, education, teaching/learning, and embodied knowledge. They are ethnographers and historians who use a variety of methods (e.g. re-enactment, video reflexivity, and participant observation). We are very pleased to announce that Professor Rachel Prentice, Professor Janelle Taylor, and Professor Jeremy Greene will help guide the day, functioning as group leaders and writing advisors.

WTMC Funding and Scholarships

We are also pleased to announce that this workshop has received funding from the Netherlands National Research School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture (WTMC). We thank the WTMC for this generous assistance. The grant received will go towards facilitating the event at large, and will also fund the attendance of six WTMC Graduate Programme members on full scholarships. A call for WTMC member applications will be circulated in early March, and more information will follow here as well. However, if you have any questions at this time, please do not hesitate to contact us.