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Creative Techniques for Thesis Writing (Online)
Provider: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Activity no.: 3778-21-00-00 
Enrollment deadline: 05/03/2021
Date and time12.04.2021, at: 09:00 - 16.04.2021, at: 16:00
Regular seats14
Course fee8,280.00 kr.
LecturersLouise Emma Whiteley
ECTS credits4.00
Contact personAnnegrethe Hansen    E-mail address: ahan@sund.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserPhD administration     E-mail address: phdkursus@sund.ku.dk

Aim and content
This is a generic course. This means that the course is reserved for PhD students at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences at UCPH. Anyone can apply for the course, but if you are not a PhD student at the Graduate School, you will be placed on the waiting list until enrollment deadline. After the enrolment deadline, available seats will be allocated to the waiting list.

The course is free of charge for PhD students at Danish universities (except Copenhagen Business School), and for PhD students at graduate schools in the other Nordic countries. All other participants must pay the course fee.

Learning objectives
A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:

1. Knowledge: Describe a range of writing techniques and creative strategies that can support and inspire the thesis writing process.
2. Knowledge: Describe a range of techniques for convincing an academic audience, demonstrating your arguments, and writing persuasively in relation to other texts.
3. Skills: Apply some of the techniques covered in the course to your own text; improve your writing and editing skills.
4. Competencies: Identify specific writing challenges such as writer’s block, editing, or writing for specific audiences, and techniques that might help you to overcome them.

Your PhD dissertation is probably your biggest writing project so far. Most PhD students experience challenges during the process, such as writer’s block, problems with structure, how to address their audiences, or finding the right form for different genres (from field notes and conference papers to monographs). This course will introduce PhD researchers to writing techniques that you can use to work through blocks in your thesis, write more persuasively, explore the value of creativity and play in scholarly writing, and edit more effectively.

The course is taught at the Medical Museion (Department of Public Health, UCPH) and led by the experienced poet and researcher Dr James Wilkes (online presence) together with invited guest speakers and course facilitators (either online or in person). It takes a playful and pragmatic approach to making PhD writing enjoyable as well as productive. This will be achieved through a mixture of group discussions of set readings, individual and collaborative writing exercises, and facilitated solo writing time. The readings and exercises will mainly be drawn from the fields of literature, translation, critical theory and anthropology.

The course is especially relevant to students from social science and the humanities, where the written word (rather than e.g. numbers or figures) is the primary vehicle of communication. PhD students at all stages in their PhD process will benefit from the course.

Relevance to graduate programmes
The course is relevant to PhD students from the following graduate programmes at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences, UCPH:

Medicine, Culture and Society


The course takes place over five consecutive days, all from 9-16 and is themed as follows:

Day 1: Experimenting, opening and unblocking.
Day 2: Demonstrating, convincing and persuading.
Day 3: Writing in relation to other texts, combining rigour and play.
Day 4: Editing, discarding and flow.
Day 5: Getting it finished.

Days 1-4 will follow the same format:

09.00-12.00: Discussing texts, writing exercises and group reflections.
12.00-13.00: Lunch break.
13.00-15.00: Facilitated writing time.
15.00-16.00: Group reflections.

Over the course of day 5 (also 9-16) we will be joined by 4 guest speakers, who will discuss the different strategies they used to complete a thesis, book or other extended piece of writing. Their lectures will be followed by discussions.

During the first four days of the course, each participant will have the opportunity to take part in one focused writing ‘surgery’ with the course leader and a small group of peers in order to explore a current challenge in your writing.

As preparation, participants will be provided with course texts which you are expected to read and will be invited to discuss in class. Some of the writing exercises will require a little preparation beforehand; full details will be provided when you are accepted as participant.

In addition, you are asked to identify one current challenge in your writing that you would like to explore in the writing surgery. This could range from structuring your thesis, to writing or analysing fieldnotes, to engaging with the work of a key thinker in your field, to a specific methodological or stylistic technique you would like to develop. Don’t feel restricted to identifying a ‘problem’ with your work: it will be equally valuable to bring something that you wish to celebrate, complicate or dig into deeper.

Course director
Associate professor Louise Emma Whiteley, Medical Museion – Department of Public Health

James Wilkes, PhD, poet, and Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature, Bangor University.
Louise Whiteley, Associate Professor, Medicinsk Museion, University of Copenhagen
Martin Grünfeld, Assistant Professor, Medicinsk Museion, University of Copenhagen
Anja Bornø Jensen, Section of Health Service Research, University of Copenhagen
Cecilie Gleerup, Research Manager, Medicinsk Museion, University of Copenhagen
Peter Kjær, Associate Professor, RUC
Sarah Davies, Professor, University of Vienna

Course: 12.-16 April 2021
Hand-in assignment: 12 March 2021

Course location

Please register before 5 March 2021.

Seats to PhD students from other Danish universities will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and according to the applicable rules.
Applications from other participants will be considered after the last day of enrolment.

Note: All applicants are asked to submit invoice details in case of no-show, late cancellation or obligation to pay the course fee (typically non-PhD students). If you are a PhD student, your participation in the course must be in agreement with your principal supervisor.

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