I have just returned home from an intensive-yet-relaxing two and a half day writing retreat at The Gladstone Library in Hawarden, organised by The Sociological Review. Now in its fourth year, the retreat is designed for early career researchers with places awarded on a competitive basis that priorities scholars from communities that are under-represented in academia. It is an extremely useful and important initiative, reflecting well on TSR that it is focusing its resources on supporting emerging scholars rather than more high-profile events.
Despite the blistering heat, the combination of dedicated writing time, relaxing walks in the countryside, great food and isolation from the 24-hour news cycle has been immeasurably useful. Not only have I been “productive” in terms of writing, but I have also been stimulated by colleagues working on exciting topics across a variety of disciplines, all connected to sociology – and pushing its boundaries. It has been a welcome temporary break from anthropology-heavy recent experiences, and one that finds me returning home with a new-found determination not necessarily to write more, but certainly to take more joy in the process, appreciate collegiate communities, and feel confident in my own work.