CNY Humanities Corridor introduces new writing retreat initiative

By: Diane Drake,  CNY Humanities Corridor, Syracuse University
Fri, 12/03/2021

The Central New York Humanities Corridor expands its impact on research by establishing an annual writing retreat opportunity for tenure-line faculty in the humanities and related interdisciplines. Retreat participants should have a desire to convene with others from across the consortium to examine their writing process, identify patterns that disrupt it, and gain strategies to make the most of any writing session to advance their work.

The Corridor will cover the cost of awardees' tuition, room and board for an immersive writing experience October 7-9, 2022 at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. The early fall weekend format bookends one full day of focused writing with two half-days of customizable activities designed to inspire, motivate, and build connections across the cohort, with time to enjoy the Adirondack setting.

"Retreats and mini-sessions offered through the Corridor have helped me to be a more self-aware, productive and happy writer," says Patricia Roylance, associate professor of English at Syracuse University. The ability to network beyond one’s home institution also often leads to the formation of writing groups, which Roylance appreciates for "providing ongoing structure, accountability and support."

In October 2021, Corridor Directors Vivian May (Syracuse), Paul Fleming (Cornell), and Joan Shelley Rubin (University of Rochester) concluded leading a pilot writing retreat initiative intended to diversify pathways to participation in the Corridor and to build on the Corridor’s fundamental strengths in new ways. Supported in part by grant funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the pilot program was delayed and modified more than once due to COVID. “Nonetheless,” says Fleming, “this initiative underscored the importance of support for faculty writing and publishing, particularly in such isolating times.”

"Across different career stages, it can be difficult for faculty, whether untenured, mid-career, or full professors, to find time and guidance for their scholarship—particularly for those with heavy service or administrative commitments," says Rubin. "Participant feedback provided valuable insights and encouragement for making this an ongoing, annual effort," says May, who initially proposed the pilot program in Spring 2019. She emphasized that BIPOC faculty, LGBTQ+ faculty, women faculty, first-generation faculty, and faculty currently or historically performing service-heavy administrative roles are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants may come from any Corridor institution: Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Rochester, Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence College, Union College, Le Moyne College, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Conference center accommodations are limited and awardees must be able to attend the full duration of the retreat. Interested faculty should apply for consideration by January 31, 2022. Awardees will be notified in March, 2022. Learn more here or send questions to cnyhumanities@syr.edu.

row of Adirondack chairs on a patio facing a lake