A Creative Research Methods project
Writing For Research - retreats and courses for academic writers

Creative Writing for Research

Places: 22

Date: 4-8 Dec 2023

Carving out space to write can be difficult; making space for creativity even more so. This Creative Writing for Research retreat at Gladstone’s Library provides an opportunity to spend a week immersing yourself in the creativity of your writing and building a community of peers, and will combine teaching and independent, peer-supported writing.

The Venue

This retreat will be based at Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Wales (map), the UK’s only residential library. Founded in 1889, this Grade 1 listed building has been hosting writers since 1906. There are no lifts, but all communal facilities are on the ground floor, as are two accessible en suite bedrooms.

The People

The retreat is facilitated by Dr Helen Kara and Dr Lucy Pickering. Helen has been an independent researcher since 1999, specialising in research methods – particularly creative methods – and ethics. She is a prolific writer who regularly teaches creative academic writing to early career and postgraduate researchers around the world. Helen argues that writing is the method which hides in plain sight, and wonders why it is not routinely covered in research methods textbooks (it is in hers!).

Lucy has been an academic since 2008, working as an anthropologist in health and social science departments across three UK universities. She has been teaching qualitative research methods, ethnography and ethics at undergraduate and postgraduate level for over a decade. Lucy has supervised ten PhD theses to completion (and examined a further fifteen), from anthropology to epidemiology and engineering, supporting students to develop disciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary writing skills.


The ground floor of the Library is accessible for wheelchair users, including all the facilities used for the retreat, and there are two accessible bedrooms are on the ground floor. The upper floors are unfortunately not wheelchair-accessible because the Library is a listed building with no lift.


Hawarden is close to the English border and six miles from Chester. Hawarden train station and the village bus stops are within a few minutes’ walk of the Library. By train, Chester is two hours from London, just over an hour from Manchester, and 40 minutes from Liverpool. Hawarden is 25 minutes from Wrexham by train, or 40 minutes by bus from Chester. Free parking is available at the Library.

The Timetable

The retreat runs from 3pm on Monday 4 December to 12 noon on Friday 8 December. There will be morning and afternoon taught sessions, for those who wish to attend them; optional one-to-one sessions with Helen and/or Lucy; and lots of time to write. The taught sessions will focus on creative writing and will also cover tips and advice on productivity, the ethics of research writing, writing for different audiences, and writing for your research career (whether academic, practice-based, or independent). And if you wish, you can have two 20-minute one-to-one sessions, each with one of the tutors, with an opportunity to send us up to 1,000 words of your writing before the retreat for assessment and feedback.

Booking & Prices

To register your interest in this course, please email us at enquiries@creativeresearchmethods.com and we will contact you when booking opens.