The power hour of writing: fostering belonging through an online writing community

Stephanie Zihms*, Claire Reid Mackie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review

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The Power Hour of Writing (PHOW) is a regularly hosted short period of protected time which allows participants to focus on a project of their choice, strengthened by accountability and supported by a community of peers.

Our research into the PHOW demonstrates that participants, usually a mixture of university staff and postgraduate research students (PGRs), appreciate the legitimacy of having time set aside for them to work on their project; this is especially relevant for academics trying to juggle a heavy teaching load with research and/or study commitments.

Strategies to promote academic writing are not new: there is a growing body of research around different approaches to promote time, space and confidence for writers in higher education institutions (Jensen, 2017: Sword, 2017; Murray, 2017, 2015, 2012). However, potential participants can find it challenging to afford the money or time to attend these types of events, while others may not be ready for an event focused entirely on writing. In addition, certain approaches may separate staff and PGRs instead of encouraging them to work together.
The Power Hour approach allows for flexible, low-cost and inclusive engagement with staff and PGRs to minimise barriers to academic writing such as workload, additional funding to attend retreats or travelling to other locations. It helps to break down concerns around academic writing and enables PGRs, in particular, to feel more confident about their place at university, encouraging their sense of belonging and enhancing opportunities for retention and progression through higher education.

Looking towards hybrid campus models the PHOW can be adapted to fit into a mixed-mode delivery with regular online sessions but allowing for meaningful face to face get togethers. Having a shared experience will help to build writing communities and foster belonging.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021
EventVitae Connections Week 2021: Annual International Researcher Development Conference - Online
Duration: 7 Sept 202110 Sept 2021


ConferenceVitae Connections Week 2021
Internet address


  • academic writing
  • researcher development
  • belonging


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