Doctoral Writing Discussions

Doctoral Writing Discussions are informal, bi-monthly virtual chats. At each gathering we share our thoughts on a reading (e.g., a blogpost or article) or topic related to doctoral writing and invite the author to join us. During the one-hour session, we ask the author questions, discuss our responses, and share our ideas and practice. Each session is recorded, and a summary is available via the links below.

To join an upcoming Doctoral Writing Discussion, or to suggest a topic, please email the discussion facilitators Juliet Lum ( or Susan Mowbray (

Dr Juliet Lum is the Graduate Research Development Manager at Macquarie University’s Graduate Research Academy. Juliet has over fifteen years’ experience as a PhD educator with research and teaching expertise in doctoral communication.

Dr Susan Mowbray is the Academic Literacy Advisor for the Graduate Research School at Western Sydney University. Susan develops and delivers initiatives to support higher degree research candidates. 

Previous Doctoral Writing Discussions: topics and summary links


May PhD theses past, present and future (Summary)
Professors Brian Paltridge (Sydney University) & Sue Starfield (University of NSW) 

March – Languages and Doctoral Examination (Summary)

Prof Prue Holmes (Durham University, England) & Dr Susana Pinto (University of Aveiro, Portugal)



November – Supervisors and Academic Developers working together to support doctoral writing (Summary)

Dr Claire Aitchison (University of South Australia, Australia)

Sept – Writing as healing (Summary)

Dr Florence Chiew (narrative therapist and researcher, Australia)

July –  Facilitating PhD completion (Summary)

Drs James Burford (Warwick University, England) & Jeanette Fyffe (Deakin University, Australia)  

May – Effective supervisory practices that support HDRs’ writing (Summary)

Associate Professor Rachael Cayley (University of Toronto, Canada) 

March – Preparing candidates for Confirmation of Candidature (CoC)
Dr Douglas Eacersall & Dr Cristy Bartlett (University of Southern Queensland, Australia)



November – ECU’s benchmarking survey of doctoral support in Australian universities (Summary)

Dr Michael Stein (Edith Cowan University, Australia)

September – Attending to (L2) writers’ stress in the dissertation process (Summary)

Dr Lisa Russell-Pinson (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA) 

July – Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in doctoral writing (Summary)

A/Prof Susan Carter (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

May – Researcher developers traversing the borderlands between academic disciplines and university administration (Summary)

Dr Cally Guerin (Australian National University, Australia)

February – Getting HDRs to publish papers together (Summary)

Dr Lynette Pretorius (Monash University, Australia)



November – Writing Without Discipline workshops and The Journal of Imaginary Research (Summary)

Dr Kay Guccione (Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland)

September – Extended Online Writing Retreats (Summary)

Coordinated with Drs Tseen Khoo (Monash University, Australia) and Katherine Firth (University of Melbourne, Australia) for QPR Lite

July – Influential Publications and Influential Writers in the Discipline of Doctoral Education (Summary)

Prof Alistair McCulloch (University of South Australia, Australia)

May Digital Writing Tools (Summary)

Dr Evija Trofimova (University of Auckland’s Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education, New Zealand). 

March – Emotions, play and graduate student writing (Summary)

Dr Cecile Badenhorst (Memorial University, Canada)



December – Facilitated sharing of resources (Summary)
What does your institutions/schools offer their higher degree research candidates to help prepare them for the doctoral undertaking?

October – Doctoral Writing Conversations (Summary)

Dr Marcia Johnston (Waikato University, New Zealand)

August – Mindfulness during the PhD (Summary)

Dr Michelle Jamieson (Macquarie University, Australia)

May  – Learning to be a co-author (Summary)

Dr Katherine Firth (LaTrobe University, Australia)

March – PhD by publication: panacea or paralysis? (Summary)

Assoc. Prof. Liezel Frick (Stellenbosch University, South Africa)



December – What are your ‘go to’ resources? (Summary)

Facilitated sharing of resources

August – Creativity and reverse engineering in the PhD (Summary)

Dr Steven Thurlow (University of Melbourne, Australia) &
A/Prof Susan Carter (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

June – When is enough reading enough and how long is a PhD thesis? (Summary)

Dr Ian Brailsford (University of Auckland, New Zealand)