The repository

Welcome to the repository, where you can watch or listen to past Writing Hub events. 

What makes writers’ groups flourish, or fizzle? (Wednesday 19 April 2023)

In this interactive seminar, Dr Sarah Haas presented her research on factors that contribute to writers’ group sustainability, and led participants through a method of setting up writers’ groups so they are more likely to flourish than fizzle.

Dr Sarah Haas has been working with writers for over 30 years, teaching in Japan, the UK, Denmark, the US, and the Benelux countries. She currently works part time as a teaching fellow at Ghent and Copenhagen Universities. Sarah has created research-based tools to help writers develop their skills, productivity, self-efficacy, and identities as writers. She also runs a small business, where she works with and for writers, running writers’ workshops, writers’ groups, and guided writing retreats.


 A cup full of marker pens next to an open not

Crossing borders in academic writing (17 January 2023)

In this session, Professor Jane Spiro shared ways of supporting the transition into academic writing as a second culture for all. Professor Spiro presented four tools for recognising the hidden cultures of academic texts, demonstrating how these features can guide writers as well as readers. The talk was illustrated with examples of how students actually developed through these tools, and attendees discussed the dilemmas and choices involved in traversing writing cultures and disciplines.  

Jane Spiro is Professor of Education specialising in second language education. Her books include studies of linguistic innovations in schools, studies of creative and academic writing practice, and most recently, Crossing Borders in University Learning and Teaching: navigating hidden cultures  (Routledge 2022).

a pair of hands side by side with the map of the world painted on the open palms

Research into Writing Seminar: Profiles of oral language and reading in struggling writers’ response to a sentence combining intervention (27 April 2022)

In this seminar, Psychology Demonstrator Kirsty Walter presented her research into writing. Kirsty's research examines ways children's reading and oral language abilities influence their response to writing interventions and how an understanding of this can help researchers, teachers and practitioners provide targeted interventions for struggling writers. This event was not recorded, however, here you can watch Kirsty discussing her research with Professor Matt Burns.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar - foundational or decorative? (19 January 2022)

In this discussion, panel members, Dr Roger Dalrymple (Programme Lead: School of Education), Dr Andrea Macrae (Principal Lecturer in Student Experience and Stylistics), Dr Adrian J. Wallbank (Lecturer in Educational Development) and Martha O’Curry (Deputy Head of Centre for Academic Development) explored what we value as good writing in light of the recent Office for Students report focusing on spelling, punctuation and grammar in written assessment.

Getting over writer's block (13 January 2021)

What stops you from starting writing?

This workshop led by Dr. Mary Davis started by identifying the many blocks to writing that keep you staring at a blank screen, and then offered multiple strategies for unblocking and engaging positively with writing.

Attendees had opportunities to discuss their own blocks to writing and ways of overcoming them; they were also provided with new strategies and useful sources for further reading.

Building writing muscle (21 October 2020)

Dominik Lukeš, a Digital Learning Technologist at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, considered how deliberate practice can develop the complex skill of writing.

This seminar introduced the key concepts behind deliberate practice and applied these to our own writing processes and our support for others’ writing. He also explored several metaphors of writing which relate to how we practise

What does stylish look like? (25 March 2020)

This audio only podcast was recorded after a seminar discussion of Helen Sword's paper Writing higher education differently: a manifesto on style. The panel explores the question of what stylish looks like in different disciplines and how we might build confidence, take risks and find our writing voice.

The podcast is presented by Kevin Watson with Marion Waite, Mary Deane, Cornelia Bogatu and Michelle Reid and is available on this page or via the free Soundcloud app.

Dyslexia, spelling and marker bias (15 January 2020)

How do markers view poor spelling and how should they view it? In this seminar, psychology professor Vincent Connelly explored how poor, hesitant spelling can affect the ability to produce text. He also gave us a better understanding of the issues with spell-checkers and presented evidence that showed significant bias against poor spelling among those marking student writing.