Call for Proposals | Inventions and Intentions: (Re)Discovering the Unique in the Familiar
As writing center practitioners, sometimes we get stuck in our routines. These routines can be familiar ways of approaching how we support writers and consultants, as well as how we engage with our institutions and the larger writing center community (Geller, 2007; Wells, 2016.) Most recently, these routines are developing in response to the pandemic, which is ongoing even though many institutions have resumed in-person instruction. While some might attempt to return to pre-pandemic routines, this is also an ideal time to re-envision our writing center futures, to rethink the work we do in the center, with intentionality, as we find ourselves in new environments (Grimm,1999; McKinney, 2013; Salem, 2016).
SCWCA 2023 will be a space/place to move toward inventive ideas that may have been impacted by the sudden shifts in programming and practice over the past few years. These shifts have created a very real feeling of burnout, or “unmooring” (Mayo et al., 2021), for those in writing centers, resulting in a perpetual state of survival. Intentions may have been lost or muted due to the rush of change after March 2020. Conversely, new opportunities may have arisen as we worked to adapt to new practices and modalities (Slaton et al., 2021). At the same time, there have been calls to re/consider equity and inclusion, specifically how we “embrace” multilingual writing and discourse in asynchronous contexts (Camarillo in Mayo et al., 2021).
We ask attendees to view this conference as a time to re/discover what is unique in the familiar behind writing center work. We are looking for participant-driven sessions that support the rebuilding and/or restoration of communities that were difficult to create/maintain online. In addition, we invite attendees to use this conference to break from routine and move toward the invention stage, resulting in energized innovation and creativity.
Some questions to consider as you draft proposals:
Intentions and Inventions:
- How do you define intentions in your writing center? What are you currently being intentional about? What would you like to be more intentional about? Why?
- How do you communicate your intentions to internal staff, clients, and your school’s administration/faculty? Why?
- What is an abandoned project from before or during the pandemic that you would like to revisit? Why? What are your intentions for this project?
- What have you unintentionally implemented in your writing center that has worked? Or failed?
- What constraints are stopping you from trying out new projects and/or services? How can you overcome these constraints to make your writing center progress and thrive?
- What communities of practice (Wenger,1998) have you borrowed ideas from to enrich your writing center in a unique way (e.g., theater, engineering, communication studies, etc.)?
- The pandemic exacerbated existing inequities in our institutions and communities. How has your center become more intentional about promoting equity, inclusion, and justice?
- Have you seen shifts in the identity of your center over the last several years? How have these changes impacted your positionality as an administrator, consultant, and/or researcher?
- What was generative about the move to online for writing centers? What was learned by teaching, learning, and working remotely?
The Unique in the Familiar
- What role can/do writing consultants/tutors play in identifying something unique (practice, program, resource, training option, etc.) in day-to-day routines?
- What familiar writing center processes need re-examination from different perspectives? Why?
- In what way have writers’ insights invited unique perspectives on center operations? How do you plan to incorporate or apply those insights in training, programming, etc.?
- How have your everyday writing center practices changed throughout the pandemic?
Session Format Options
As this conference’s focus is on discovery and invention, we are looking for sessions that engage participants in both. This means that all sessions must have an active component. How will you engage your audience? Consider this question, as you will need to answer it as part of the proposal.
Engagement will also be central to the session type. While you can propose more familiar session types, such as individual sessions, panels, workshops, roundtables, and Special Interest Groups (SIGS), we also welcome you to propose other unique format types.* Some ideas include scavenger hunts, plays, musical compilations, maker space activities, experiments, or other endeavors that fall outside the box. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to the organizers.
*Please note that since this is an in-person conference, all sessions will need to be conducted onsite.
Keeping with the conference theme, our keynote will also be unique and intentional. As this conference is embracing dialogue and learning from one another to reinvent our everyday work, organizers will pick a keynote from the submitted proposals ($1500 stipend).** The keynote session will be held during our opening breakfast on Friday, March 3. If you would like your proposal to be considered for the keynote, please check the appropriate box on the registration form. All session formats and presenters are eligible.
**Stipend will be shared among speakers if a session with multiple speakers is chosen.
Please submit your proposal by January 5, 2023, 11:59 pm. If you have any questions, please reach out to the conference chairs. We look forward to seeing you in the Hub City in March 2023!
Kristin Messuri, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Writing Centers of Texas Tech University
Jennifer Marciniak, Ph.D.
Director, Graduate Writing Center
Texas Tech University