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NEL Writing Retreat - Philip Island, Victoria

From the 4th to the 6th of June, we held a writing retreat at Philip Island. The retreat was designed to get students writing about their science, rather than simply reading papers or performing experiments. Aside from the fact that several people have deadlines coming up (PhD milestones, etc), writing is a really useful tool to sort through complex scientific ideas, describe them in our own terms, and put them into a logical construct. I think this also helps to then identify interesting questions, insights, and experimental designs that can be used to make the next steps in our work.

Interestingly, we had several sessions per day of intense writing, and then abandoned the final session in lieu of a major discussion about the materials and proteins that people were working on. Seems that the writing was helping to get the creative juices flowing already!

For others interested in running their own writing retreat, we simply booked a house on Airbnb that had enough sleeping areas, and several choices of writing areas, and the group members then split the costs of food and writing supplies (chips/candy!), so that we were cooking and cleaning together as well.

We all agreed that it was really useful, the only change to make was to perhaps have the retreat in summer...... for those who know about Melbourne winters, that is completely understandable!!!

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