Advanced Care Research Centre

Academy visits the Burn with cross-cohort get together

In December the ACRC Academy held a residential PhD enrichment weekend at the Burn, a beautiful country house in Aberdeenshire which is run as an academic retreat.

Kate Morris, ACRC Academy Programme Manager tells us about the weekend spent with staff and students from all three cohorts.


Academy staff and students

On the first evening Lucy McCloughan, Programme Manager of the Advanced Care Research Centre, the research programme within which the Academy sits, gave a talk on What you can do for the ACRC and what the ACRC can do for you. Even those of us who are well versed in student/Academy matters made discoveries about student interactions with main ACRC and the opportunities available.

On Saturday Sue Lewis and I ran workshops on identity and active listening, which gave students a period of self-reflection and a non-judgemental space to discuss issues that they are facing with the PhDs. Students appreciated the support they received from their peers during the active listening exercise, and also found many of the conversations that ran throughout the weekend productive and insightful as our three current cohorts socialised.

We were privileged to have Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie give a talk on career, which foregrounded key values such as curiosity and challenge, courage and leadership, and included a jaw-dropping photograph of him being winched onto a boat in the teeth of a storm to go help a severely wounded oil worker. He was generous with his time and the students enjoyed their discussions with him.

On Sunday Dr Atul Anand and Dr Stella Arakelyan ran a workshop on delivering complex healthcare systems, in which cross-cohort interdisciplinary teams worked to devise healthcare solutions for refugees. This provoked intense thought and inventive ideas. 

Game playing was a theme of the weekend: old favourites such as Exploding Kittens and Trivial Pursuit were dug out of the library and played enthusiastically, while the games room, with its snooker and pool tables, table tennis and darts was also very popular. As part of the weekend’s schedule activities cohort 2 students ran an interdisciplinary game which involved blindfolded drawing – both thought-provoking and fun.

One brave party went in optimistic search of the Northern Lights, and despite not seeing them, enjoyed their night-time walk in the cold. (Temperatures were -5 °C for a pre-breakfast walk the following day.)

We were very well looked after by the staff at the Burn, and the quantity and quality of the food was highly appreciated by all. Students and staff returned to Edinburgh invigorated and happy to know each other better than before.