We are slowly adjusting to life during the pandemic but without a doubt 2020 has not been great for our academic life. Many of us had to postpone or simply cancel fieldwork, conferences, or research trips. And due to a variety of restrictions during this challenging period, our physical platforms of encounter, interaction and collaboration have been much fewer than normal. That is why we were extremely excited to organize a reconnection retreat with focus on our common topic of interest: migration and ethnic relations as well as on writing, and of course to have a short getaway!
A female representation of the IMER Junior Scholar Network spent two amazing autumn days in Øygarden, just an hour outside of Bergen. We started our first day with a lecture by Laura Saetveit Miles who gave us a lot of useful tips for academic writing and time management. She helped to set up goals for the retreat and boosted our motivation. Later that day we also had the opportunity to discuss our work in small groups. The experience of giving and receiving feedback as well as learning about other people’s projects with similar topics inspired us to make reading groups a regular event for the network. We decided to meet every month to brainstorm ideas, give support and advice for whoever needs help within our network. We also spent time working on our own writing and projects using the “shut up and write” technique – (usually each session had 45 minutes of writing and a 15-minute break). After all the hard work, some of us enjoyed the jacuzzi, a walk around the area, or a well-deserved power nap. In the evening, we also had a chance to socialize and get to know each other better. We shared some great stories over dinner and drinks. We ended the retreat with a session in which we discussed common challenges for junior scholars and reflected on the future of our network. We decided on a range of regular activities that we have already started to implement.
All in all, it was great to reconnect, garner social and academic support, and set new goals for our great junior network! We really hope to have the opportunity to repeat the whole experience in the near future.
Blogpost written by Joanna Spyra