Moving beyond access at the writing centre
May 28-29th, 2020
A culture of access is a culture of participation and redesign.~Brewer, Selfe, & Yergeau
Call for Proposals
Submissions accepted until January 20, 2020
The Canadian Writing Centres Association/l’Association canadienne des centres de rédaction welcomes proposals on any writing centre-related subject, but particularly proposals that consider and/or critique frameworks of inclusion, access, and accessibility in relation to writing centre theory, pedagogy, Indigenization, praxis, programming, administration, research, environments, advocacy, or activism.
Taking our cue from Brewer, Selfe, and Yergeau (2014), who note that “there is a profound difference between consumptive access and transformative access…. [between] allowing people to enter a space [and]… re-think[ing] the very construct of allowing,” we ask: how can writing centres play a more proactive role in ensuring access to learning that goes beyond mere consumption of existing programs, for all students, but especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds? How can we transform access to our spaces into access to power to transform our spaces and the world beyond?
We invite the writing centre community to extend this discussion on how exclusion and injustice affect all those who occupy our physical, virtual, and scholarly spaces; and on how we might address the impacts of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, and transphobia to most effectively counter systemic injustices and revitalize writing centres as social justice projects.
Some of the questions under consideration for the 2020 conference may include – but are not limited to – the following.
- What are some concrete strategies and practices writing centres can use to increase full participation from marginalized community members?
- What are the current gaps in writing centre theory and praxis that limit access and exclude marginal individuals or groups? How might a framework for transformative inclusion address these gaps?
- In what ways can writing centre theory renew itself in response to the idea that writing and tutoring are embodied acts?
- What are the ethics and difficulties of inhabiting identities that may or may not be visible? What strategies can be designed to reduce and address stigma?
- How can writing centres incorporate accessibility and universal design considerations into every aspect of their own practice, from the arrangement or lighting of physical space to the design of websites and handouts, and from the hiring and preparation of tutors to the conscious articulation of their theory or philosophy?
This year’s conference will be jointly hosted by Huron University College (home of the Centre for Global Studies) and King’s University College (home of the Disability Studies and Social Justice and Peace Studies programs) in London, Ontario. Affiliates of Western University, we are situated on the lands of the Anishinaabe, Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee, and Leni-Lunaape Peoples. Even as we move towards social justice and increased access and accessibility, we acknowledge that relationships between Western and its affiliates and Indigenous communities are entangled with the history of the residential school system and the settler colonial state in Canada, including the ongoing genocide against Indigenous peoples. We are committed to doing the work of removing barriers for BIPoC (black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour), LGBTQIA2S+ folks, and people with disabilities.
We welcome a variety of presentation types including research panels, workshops, poster presentations, and roundtables.
Research Panel Presentations
Panelists will present for 15 minutes on a theoretical question, a pedagogical practice, or a research study. Submissions must showcase systematic research based on any approach: quantitative, qualitative, mixed-method, action-based, reflective or theoretical. Presentations will be grouped into panels of 2 or 3 presenters. Presenters are also welcome to propose their own panel of grouped presentations.
Roundtable sessions are ideal for works-in-progress, pedagogical innovations, or taking up an issue of current debate in our field. Roundtable facilitators will lead a 45-minute discussion that encourages active participation and contribution from attendees. Proposals should indicate the topic of your discussion, why it would be of interest to writing centre colleagues, and how you plan to engage participants and facilitate a dynamic discussion.
Workshops are an opportunity to model an innovative practice, strategy or innovation for your colleagues through collaborative hands-on activities. The materials, activities, and presentation should be as accessible as possible. Proposals should clearly describe the practice you intend to feature, the overall structure of the session, and how you will actively engage the audience.
Posters will detail a research project. Proposals for this session should clearly describe what you intend to showcase, the materials you will bring to showcase it, and the display resources you will require (table, wall space, electronic devices, Web access, etc.).
Writing Centre Sandbox
New this year, the Sandbox is a one-hour session at the start of the first day of the conference. Participants are invited to bring ideas and materials that will stimulate creative play, reflect experimentation, build community, initiate conversations, and facilitate knowledge sharing. The shorter proposal (150 words) should describe the topic or materials—an exciting new program, a clever new handout or resource, a cool new writing app—you will bring to the session.
CWCA/ACCR is a national affiliate of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA), and we are using their submission and review portal. You do not need to be a member of IWCA to submit a proposal, and there is no cost associated. Submitting via the IWCA review portal is a two-stage process:
- Login to your IWCA account (login here) or create a new account by providing your name, address, and institutional affiliation (create an account here).
- Enter the details of your proposal to CWCA 2020.
- Detailed description (500 words excluding references unless otherwise noted)
- Abstract (70-100 words)
- Session format rationale
Before submitting your proposal, please give consideration to accessibility and accommodation in creating and delivering your session and all associated materials. Please review these Accessibility best practices for conferences.
The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2020.
This deadline will not be extended
If you have questions about the call for proposals, please contact Clare Bermingham, CWCA/ACCR vice-president.
If you have questions about accessibility, please contact Mandy Penney, conference co-organizer.
Brewer, E., Selfe C.L., and Yergeau, M. (2014). Creating a culture of access in composition studies. Composition Studies, 42(2), 151-54.
Geller, A. E., Eodice, M., Condon, F., Carroll, M., & Boquet, E.H. (2007). The everyday writing center: A community of practice. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.
Greenfield, L., & Rowan, K., eds. (2011). Writing centers and the new racism: A call for sustainable dialogue and change. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.
Hitt, A. (2012). Access for all: The role of dis/ability in multiliteracy centers. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, 9(2), pp. 1–7.
Lang, H. (2017). Understanding, Perception, and Accommodation of Disability in Writing Centers (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Database. (10260029)
Martini, R.H. & Webster, T. (2017). Writing Centers as brave/r spaces: a special issue introduction. The Peer Review, 1(2). Retrieved from http://thepeerreview-iwca.org/issues/braver-spaces/writing-centers-as-braver-spaces-a-special-issue-introduction/
Conference logo by Vidya Natarajan, Writing Program Coordinator, King’s University College