By Heather Campbell
Heather Campbell has a PhD in History and has studied and worked at Queen Mary University of London for a number of years. As a Learning Developer she now works with undergraduate and postgraduate students helping them develop insights and practices that will contribute to their success at university. As part of this role she helps to organise and run the ‘Thinking Writing’ PhD and staff events which include retreats, workshops, reading groups and Thesis Boot Camps. For more about the work of Thinking Writing, you can take a look at the website: www.thinkingwriting.qmul.ac.uk.
For the past three years Thinking Writing at Queen Mary University of London has been running a Thesis Boot Camp for late stage PhD students. We style our events after the award-winning program developed at the University of Melbourne, in order to help PhD students get over the final hurdle of ‘writing up’.[i]As part of this intensive weekend, we offer students the chance to take part in a brief pilates/yoga class. More recently, we have discussed offering this type of activity at our one-day writing retreats, which has prompted us to question what our overall purpose is with our events. What are we trying to do? If it is only to help students get words down on the pages of their theses, should we take away writing time by offering a pilates/yoga sessions? On the other hand, if it is to enable students to better cope with the demands of a PhD in general, perhaps pilates/yoga has a role? Continue reading