When shutting up brings us together: Several affordances of a scholarly writing group


  • Suzanne Fegan La Trobe University


HDR writing groups, scholarly writing


HDR writing groups have been a standard offering in many universities for some time, encouraging a collegial space for furthering the writing practice of staff and students. A writing group variation known as ‘Shut Up and Write’ (SUAW) has become popular, with its intense writing ‘pomodoros’ intersected by short social breaks. The SUAW model does not include peer reviews of writing; instead it offers a quiet, communal space for scholarly writing. As a writing oasis, SUAW seems to be effective by virtue of people simply being together and writing in the same physical space. Indeed, as Elbow and Sorcinelli noted, writers “will be more apt to do the solitary work of writing if they surround themselves with other writers pursuing the same goal” (2006, p. 18). This paper discusses the practice of a SUAW group in an Australian university, in which staff and students meet weekly to write academic papers, work on PhD chapters and develop resilience through the supportive environment. While the university underwent a major restructure that included a significant reduction in staff numbers, the SUAW group maintained regular attendees who dedicated time each week to scholarly writing, but also acknowledged each others’ advances in the process, from ethics approval to thesis submission. The paper argues that in times of diminishing support for staff and students, brought about by neoliberal higher education (Wardale et al, 2015), the SUAW model is an important source of collegiality, scholarly identity and resilience in higher education.

Author Biography

Suzanne Fegan, La Trobe University

Lecturer Student Learning College of Science, Health and Engineering




How to Cite

Fegan, S. (2016). When shutting up brings us together: Several affordances of a scholarly writing group. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 10(2), A20-A31. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/404



Research Articles