Strictly Come Writing: The Sociological Review’s Early Career Researchers’ Writing Retreat 2020

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s writing retreat was held online on 16-21 May 2020.

Gladstone’s Library, Flintshire, Wales

Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th July 2020

This event is funded by the Sociological Review Foundation

About The Sociological Review’s ECR Writing Retreat

Since 2016, the Sociological Review Foundation (SRF) has been organising an annual early career researcher (ECR) writing retreat. SRF are delighted to announce that for 2020 we’ll be organising a three-day ECR writing retreat facilitated by The Sociological Review (TSR) editorial board members Prof Steven Brown and Dr Cath Lambert. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend three dedicated days writing in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere under the guidance of qualified writing retreat facilitators, with the opportunity to rest, socialise and enjoy the stunning surroundings of Hawarden village.

The retreat will be held in Gladstone’s Library located in the village of Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales. Hawarden is 7 miles from Chester and 30 miles from Liverpool Airport. All writing sessions, meals and accommodation for the nights of Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 July 2020 are provided. Taxi transportation will be provided between Chester Train Station and Gladstone’s Library. You will be expected to be at Chester train station by 12.15 on Wednesday 22 July 2020 for the pick-up. The retreat will finish at 17.00 on Friday 24 July 2020.

Aim of the Structured Writing Retreat

This retreat gives you dedicated time to progress your writing on a journal article, book chapter or chapter of your PhD thesis within a supportive and non-surveillance environment.

Divided into a series of strict fixed timed writing sessions with all delegates writing in one room at the same time, the facilitators will tell you when to start and when you can stop and to facilitate peer discussion to review progress during the retreat. During the retreat the facilitators will be available to support with individual discussion of drafts.


Accommodation is located within the same venue as the writing retreat sessions. All delegates will have their own bedroom based on a single occupancy. All bedrooms have free Wi-Fi access, tea and coffee making facilities. There are two fully accessible bedrooms on the ground floor which are suitable for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility with grab handles and wet-room-style bathroom. The remaining bedrooms are spread over the first and second floors, while the dining and workshop rooms are located on the ground floor and are wheelchair accessible.

Places are limited at the retreat and allocated on a single occupancy basis. Unfortunately, SRF cannot accept delegates attending with friends or partners unless there is an accessibility reason and evidence is provided in the form of a GP or support worker letter.

If you have any questions regarding the retreat’s accessibility, please contact

Eligibility to Attend

The retreat is for early career scholars or postdocs (within 3 years of award of doctorate) including postgraduate research students within the final year or write-up year of their PhD thesis.

There are 13 places available on a competitive basis. All applications will be peer reviewed by editorial board members. We invite applications online via this form.

Further Terms and Conditions

Please note, that you cannot be in receipt of both the following awards in the same year: ECR conference support 2020 and a place at the ECR Writing Retreat 2020. We also cannot accept applications from those who have attended The Sociological Review’s writing retreat in previous years.

Due to the cost of each place, successful applicants will be required to make a refundable deposit of £60 to secure their place.

Travel Bursaries

The retreat is free of charge for all those awarded a place, and there are a number of travel bursaries available for early career researchers who meet the bursary criteria: £150 for UK-based applicants or £250 for non-UK based applicants, as well as childcare bursaries (£50 per day). All writing sessions, meals and accommodation for the nights of Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 July 2020 are provided. Minibus transport will be provided between Chester train station and Gladstone’s Library.

Please note, that we only consider applications for travel bursaries from unfunded students who are not in receipt of scholarships, bursaries from research councils or individual institutions to support their studies. We cannot accept applications from those in receipt of a full-time wage unless you are an ECR teaching fellow on a 12 month or less contract with no institutional event attendance funding. We will seek verification of the employment and funding situations of those selected for a bursary. 

Applications for bursaries are via the main retreat application form.

Important Dates

  • Call for applications opens:  1 February 2020
  • Application deadline extended: 30th March 2020, 17.00 GMT
  • Notify successful candidates: 30 April 2020

If you haven’t heard from SRF by 30 April about the outcome of your application, please check your spam folder and contact SRF directly.


If you require a visa to enter the UK for this event, it is your responsibility to check requirements and organise one within sufficient time to attend the event. If you require a letter of proof of event registration and/or bursary awarded, please allow a minimum of two weeks’ notice for SRF to produce this. For more information on UK visas, please see here.


For any enquires regarding the retreat, accessibility and bursaries, please contact events manager:

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