Helsinki Writing Retreat

Before the retreat

  • Decide on a writing project

  • Review the retreat agenda: plan writing tasks for time slots in each day

  • Do reading and other preparation

  • Get notes, plans, outlines etc. together

  • Outline the structure of your paper/chapter

  • Download what you need, as wifi is not guaranteed in the room where we write

  • Make sure you know how to get to the venue!

  • Email about dietary/other requirements not already stated in your registration

What to bring

  • laptop

  • power cable

  • memory stick

  • note paper

  • pens

  • notes

  • outlines

  • ‘model’ journal article

  • data

  • exercise / walking gear

  • water bottle

At Rantapuisto only:

  • Bicycles are available for free use at the venue (pending availability).

  • Running tracks are abundant through the surrounding forest.

Printer and paper are not provided. Bring your own if you think you’ll need it! :)

At the retreat

See the retreat agenda for the specific event for full details. These are the exact timings we use. When people arrive late or leave early it can be disruptive on some level, so please plan your travel around these timings.


Arrive at the venue at around 17:20 for 17:30 start:

  • introductions

  • laptop set-up

  • 5-minute writing warm up

  • goal-setting discussion

  • 1 hour of writing

  • dinner

Thursday & Friday

Arrive at the venue at 9:00 for at 9:15 start.

Thursday session ends at 17:00 — though consider staying on to have dinner with the group in the hotel restaurant.

Friday session ends at 16:30.

Make the best of the retreat

  • Focus exclusively on writing

  • Agree not to use internet in the writing room

  • Have specific goals, i.e. sections of paper or chapter, in terms of number of words

  • Define and discuss content and structure for writing sub-goals

  • Take stock of your achievements of these goals throughout the retreat

  • Discuss your writing-in-progress –> mutual peer support

  • Read Murray and Newton (2009) article on structured writing retreats

References: Evidence of outputs and outcomes

  • Murray R (2015) Writing in Social Spaces: A Social Processes Approach to Academic Writing. London: Routledge.
  • Murray, R (2012) It’s not a hobby: Reconceptualizing the place of writing in academic work, Higher Education, 66(1): 79-91.
  • MacLeod I, Steckley L & Murray R (2011) Time is not enough: Promoting strategic engagement with writing for publication, Studies in Higher Education, 37(5): 641-54.
  • Moore S, Murphy M & Murray R (2010) Increasing academic output and supporting equality of career opportunity in universities: Can writers’ retreats play a role?, Journal of Faculty Development, 24(3): 21-30.
  • Murray R (2011) Developing a community of research practice, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5): 783-800.
  • Murray R & Newton M (2009) Writing retreat as structured intervention: Margin or mainstream?, Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5): 527-39.
  • Murray R (2013) Writing for Academic Journals, 3rd edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.


Hotel Rantapuisto


The beautiful Hotel Rantapuisto in east Helsinki is our summer venue. This remarkable building was constructed in 1963 for use as a bank's training center, with architectural inspirations drawn from Alvar Aalto and the Danish Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Now an independent and unique hotel, the spacious buildings are all clean lines of wood and glass; the rooms are filled with natural light and gorgeous views of the surrounding forest.

Being on the hotel grounds feels like you're in another world — but it's well connected to Helsinki city center by metro and bus.

To really immerse yourself in the retreat, accommodation packages are available.

And if you felt like staying for the weekend, the hotel offers plenty of other activities, including sauna, sea kayaking, workshops and more.

Come for the retreat, stay for the venue!

Hotel Rantapuisto

Furuborginkatu 3, 00980 Helsinki


2019 May 29–31

2018 August 15–17


Public Transport
Option 1: Take the metro from Helsinki center to Vuosaari metro station, then take bus 816 to the hotel door (stop 4914) (leaves approximately every 30 min). Journey time approx 45 min.

Option 2: Take the metro from Helsinki center to Rastila metro station, then take bus 560 to Ramsinniementie (stop 4557) (leaves approximately every ten to fifteen minutes). Walk down Ramsinniementie road for approx 600m to Hotel Rantapuisto. Journey time approx 40 min.

Pickups from the Rastila metro station can be arranged with advance notice.

See Reittiopas for public transport info.


Private Car
There is free parking available if you wish to drive.


Hotel Katajanokka 


Hotel Katajanokka is our winter venue. Inside the red brick walls you will find a magic world of contrasts — serene comfort, stylish design and a hint of Nordic luxury. Located on one of Helsinki's connected islands, it is just a brief tram ride from the city center.

Parts of Hotel Katajanokka date back to 1837 and 1888 — the building originally served as a county prison and pre-trial detention center. Following extensive restoration work, it re-opened its doors as a hotel in 2007. The open central corridor, red brick outer walls and the high perimeter wall around the park are protected by the National Board of Antiquities and remain as a reminder of the building’s long and colourful history.

To really immerse yourself in the retreat, accommodation packages are available.

And if you felt like staying for the weekend, the hotel offers other activities, including sauna, escape rooms and more.

Escape the ordinary.

Hotel Katajanokka

Merikasarminkatu 1a, 00160 Helsinki


2018 November 21–23


Public transport

From the city center, take Tram 4 to stop 'Vyökatu'. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes, and there is approx 200 metres to walk from the tram stop to the hotel.

See Reittiopas for public transport info.

Private car

There are limited parking spots available, which cost 21€ for a full day, or 3,50€/hour.