Journeying the Contemporary Women’s Writing and CWW creative writing PHD : workshop

Gina WiskerMCRn

Led by Prof Gina Wisker, this workshop will begin with short inputs from a panel comprising colleagues at various stages in our careers who are writing, or have completed PhD’s in contemporary women’s writing and/or creative writing with a CWW focus, are supervising, and or examining . We will introduce issues about and discuss the journey: writing, supervision, examination and broader questions about what a contemporary women’s writing PhD, especially in the discipline of creative writing, is or can be. The workshop will develop into Q&A, and discussion so that the burning issues, processes, experiences, challenges and delights can be teased out and shared.

We might think about the following issues:

The journey:

  • Considerations around process, e.g. the pros and cons of receiving feedback on early drafts. Teaching alongside the PhD
  • the process of writing as research and the melding of creative and critical elements
  • What research methods would be used and how would these be woven together to form a cohesive critical-creative dissertation.
  • Choosing an institution and supervisors
  • Fitting a creative project into traditional academic moulds (for proposal, funding applications, etc.)


  • How might the supervisor help prepare the PhD student for an academic career?
  • What is the optimum mechanism for collaborative supervisions?
  • What role should the supervisor play in guiding the PhD student in relation to publication plans, conferences and undergraduate teaching experience?
  • Should the supervisor’s role end at the point of successful completion, or should the supervisor continue to mentor informally


  • How do you examine a contemporary women’s writing PhD? And particularly a CWW PhD that involves creative writing?
  • Surviving the examination and afterwards

Professor Gina Wisker (University of Brighton) I am fascinated by the forms, explorations and the lived journeys of working with the PhD in both contemporary women’s writing and creative writing, the challenges, the personal, creative, theorised involvement and outcomes (supervised 35 PhDs to completion and examined 47, some on contemporary women’s writing and some also on creative writing.) Research and write across HE (postgraduate supervision, writing for academic publication) and contemporary women’s writing, teach CWW and CW and write creatively (poetry and short stories ) run workshops on supervision and writing and was a member of the AHRC collaborative skills development.

Professor Lucie Armitt (University of Lincoln): I have supervised to completion Phd students at 4 different UK universities, examined as external (UK and internationally) 25 Phd theses, run a Doctoral Training Programme specifically Phd Students in English at the University of Lincoln. In 2012-2014 I was P.I. of an AHRC-funded Collaborative Skills Development Programme for ECRs and PGRs ( contemporary women’s writing). I have become increasingly interested in the relationship between supervising and professional development (of students and co-supervisors) and the role the supervisor might play as a mentor (formal or informal) to the student planning an academic career.

Fiona Martinez, University of Sheffield gained her PhD in contemporary women’s writing in 2019.

Rachel Newsome Lecturer in Critical & Contextual Studies at The University of Salford, two thirds way into a Creative Writing PhD Here Be Monsters: Writing The Dangerous.

Hannah Vincent, the University of Sussex, a practising novelist, playwright and Creative Writing tutor, interested in maintaining a balance between theoretical investigation, academic rigour and the instinctive, unconscious patterning (a la Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg et al) that allows a creative practice to flourish.

Paula McGrath Writer, recent Creative Writing PhD student and teacher of Creative Writing at UCD, PhD project combined critical and creative writing to find strategies for the representation of trauma in prose fiction found at the intersection of theatre and the novel. It contrasted modernist strategies used by Eimear McBride to represent trauma in her novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing with those used by Annie Ryan in her stage adaptation of the text, analysing both approaches within the context of current literary trauma theory.

Fri 11:00 am - 12:15 pm