Calling all frustrated writers!
One of the things academics often struggle with is sitting down and putting pen to paper – or fingers to keys! The VAHS New Researchers Writing Group offers an informal, supportive space, both online and in person, for people to receive feedback on their writing from their peers. The group has two elements: a monthly online feedback group where members submit writing and receive feedback from other new researchers and an offline ‘shut-up-and-write’ meeting where researchers get together to chat and, more importantly, to write. You don’t have to be a member of the Voluntary Action History Society or its New Researchers Committee to take part – although if you want to get more involved we’d like to hear from you too!
Online Feedback Group
The online group is a way to bring together new researchers from across the country (and potentially beyond) to share their writing without the costs of meeting face-to-face. Once a month members will receive an email from the co-ordinator asking if they want to take part in the online group that month. Taking part requires you to submit a piece of writing on any topic (max 2,000 words) and to give feedback on submissions from other members. Our aim is to get two people to look at each piece of writing. You don’t have to take part every month; you can dip in and out when you have time.
Having confirmed your participation for a given month, you will be sent details of the submission deadline, who to send your work to, whose work you will be receiving and when the feedback should be done by. If you decide to take part regularly, we will aim to ensure that your work is reviewed by a different person each month so as to ensure that your research is seen by ‘fresh eyes’. Everything from spelling, grammar, sentence and writing structure, voice and argument and, where possible, content can be included in feedback and it is up to each person to pick out what they think the writing would benefit from – in a friendly and constructive way, of course!
Further details on submissions and feedback can be found here. If you would like feedback on a longer piece of work we will try and arrange it. However, it depends on the availability of people to do this as well. For more information or if you are interested in getting involved, contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.
Shut Up and Write
In addition to the online element, once a month the New Researchers will also be meeting up to spend some time writing in a central London location (as yet unconfirmed). A tried and tested method from other writing groups is to meet in local cafés and, at least initially, we’ll do the same. Like Shut Up and Write groups elsewhere the format is some time chatting (and eating cake) and then some time devoted to writing, with the focus that trying not to disturb anyone else enforces! After this there will be a break for refreshments and chatting before another round of writing effort. Having had members involved in these groups before we have found them a great opportunity to connect with fellow researchers, meet new people and have a productive afternoon!
As with the online group, the meet-ups are informal and optional but we’d love to see you there. If you are not based in London and can’t come along, but want to establish or find a similar group, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can put you in contact with other voluntary action researchers in your area.
Writing group guidelines: Please see this page for details of how the group works.
If you would like more information or would like to join the writing group, please contact…
Group co-ordinator: Charlotte Clements at firstname.lastname@example.org
You will also find the VAHS Facebook group page here.