Knowledge Exchange Residential


Our Nature, Community and Knowledge Exchange Residential programme creates unique opportunities to bring PhD researchers together to learn, connect and share, in collaboration with a cultural partner. The programme offers team work and individual activities, with a focus on collaborative work, co-design and engagement with cultural and heritage partners, as well as on creating an opportunity for researchers to cultivate personal resilience, well-being and building a sense of PhD community, in the context of inspiring landscapes and exceptional natural beauty.

After the strain of the past two years this is an amazing opportunity to come together in the beautiful setting of the Lake District to talk about ideas, wellbeing, and knowledge exchange. We’ve put together a great programme and we’re really excited to see you all! 

Prof. Jerome De Groot, NWCDTP Director

I am thrilled we are able to offer this fantastic Residential programme, and especially to bring our brilliant researchers to engage with an amazing local cultural partner with an incredibly rich offer and international profile, who will provide a real life challenge for our researchers to engage with, explore innovative ideas and potential future collaborative opportunities.

Dr Rosalinda Quintieri / Programme Lead

2023 Programme

Registration for the 2023 Residential will open in May 2023. The Residential will be held in Windermere and Grasmere, 13-16 September 2023, in a new collaboration with Wordsworth Grasmere. During four days, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn and apply the processes involved in co-designing a collaborative research project with a cultural partner, work creatively with senior professionals and develop precious skills that can support you in future funding applications and other project proposals involving non-University partners.
  • Share your ideas, work and creativity in an informal and inclusive environment, connect with peers and nurture a sense of community and belonging that can enrich your research and open it to new perspectives and potential collaborations.
  • Build emotional resilience with our focused training and then enjoy nature walks, literary landscape explorations, mindful bodywork, wild swimming and relax by the lakeside at our panoramic venue to look after your well-being and recharge.


Testimonials from your Student Representatives   

Being a PhD student comes with a lot of pressure, guilt and rollercoaster emotions. What we are not good at as PhD students, is being kind to ourselves, and allowing time to get headspace or to step away from our work, as we feel guilty doing this. What the Residential has provided to the attendees is a great space for learning, to get headspace, and focus on self-Wellness. In the beautiful setting of the Lake District, it allowed for the collaborative sharing of ideas with peers, an open space for sharing research and knowledge, and it offered a safe space for personal and work expression. I would recommend this Residential to every PhD student, as it is a warm, welcoming, supportive, yet also educational space to get away and out of your normal routine, to rebalance, refocus yourself and your work. I feel more energised, motivated and inspired. I finally feel part of a community (of wonderful people)! It’s been a great reset and a fantastic opportunity to connect with others in a meaningful way. Thank you so much!

Phoebe Kowalska, Manchester Metropolitan University

Like many of the researchers who attend the Residential, I started my PhD at the same time that governments around the world were putting in place a series of lockdowns and other measures aimed at controlling and reducing the spread of the coronavirus. The measures meant that for extended periods of time people couldn’t travel or gather. They also meant that for extended periods of time PhD researchers could only meet online. While there is much value in how online spaces made it possible for PhD researchers to continue their work and for people around the world to meet and share ideas, the Residential made it possible for researchers to meet in person and nurtured a sense of community. It gave those who attended the chance to talk to and learn and draw inspiration from one another. And it countered the isolation of PhD research in a way that online meetings cannot do. For me, one of the highlights of the Residential was the evening where researchers shared music, poetry, stories and song. The evening was beautiful and joyous and it showed how massively talented the people in the cohort are. I am very glad I attended and I look forward to more occasions like this.

Ambrose Musiyiwa, University of Manchester 


Feedback from Researchers  

This has been excellent for helping to give momentum to your PhD if perhaps you are stalled. It’s so important to build communities and I feel so much part of one now. The connections I have made will bring new perspectives to my research and enrich it. 

Will Medd’s wellbeing session was very meaningful to lots of us, as helped to reflect on unhealthy practices while doing a PhD. The Silent Walk was great and I loved the Digital Geographies walk on the final day! Thanks for a fantastic programme, excellent location and the supportive environment. 

I greatly appreciated the chance to work together in teams on a project and get to present it to the partner. It felt like something we would do in real life and that all our various ideas and experiences were of real benefit to the partner. 

I would definitely recommend Residential to other PhD researchers as it provides an opportunity to step out of one’s routine and normal ways of thinking. Discussing one’s research with other PhDs asks for a clarity of thinking and ability to communicate in clear language.  Getting different perspectives and approaches working together on a project was refreshing, while the opportunity to reflect and learn wellbeing techniques is invaluable.