CFP || CWCA Conference 2017, Toronto

Announcing CWCA’s 2017 Conference

From Far and Wide: Imagining the Futures of Writing Centres

Where: OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario
When: May 25-26, 2017
Keynote: Dr. Frankie Condon, University of Waterloo

In her IWCA award-winning book, Rhetoric of Respect (2016), Tiffany Rousculp makes a call for developing a “rhetoric of respect” within writing centres that “entails recognition of multiple views, approaches, abilities, and . . . limitations” (25). In a community address in 2014, Frankie Condon similarly argues that “we will need to understand and act on the understanding that our most important stakeholders are the students we serve and the communities from which they come. . . We will need to work with our students and their home communities to learn their needs (instead of assuming we know them already or are better qualified to determine what those needs are or should be).” Both writers make the call for writing centres and institutions to have respect for “the individual’s position and experience” (Rousculp 28) in a way that does not assume that the writing centre “knows better” than the writers who enter our doors.

As we look to the future of writing centres in Canada, we must consider how we make space for the multiple stories that writers have to tell—not with the goal of helping them erase differences or assimilate, but with the goal of respecting and valuing the multiple cultures, languages, writing practices, lived experiences, and educational histories that they carry with them.

The Canadian Writing Centres Association invites writing centre practitioners—from far and wide—to consider how we respect individual differences amid pressures to serve ever greater numbers of students on limited budgets and in sometimes challenging administrative contexts. How do we continue to diversify our programs, our tutor training, and our research? And how do we extend our rhetorics of respect outside of our centres, across our institutions, and into our larger communities?

Join us to discuss these and many other questions!

Possible topics might include:

  • How are writing centres negotiating the “growth, changing demographics, [and] urban challenges” (Congress theme 2017) that face our post-secondary institutions?
  • Which strategies and approaches have been shown to foster productive conversations about diversity in our centres?
  • How do we encourage critical reflection on the role of the individual writer within the larger writing centre? How do we hear individual voices among the many?
  • How are communities created within writing centres for and by the students who use them? How do we make space for all writers to be present and heard?
  • How do diversity narratives written in and about the American context translate in our Canadian context? What kinds of cultural translation have to happen to make texts “read” in our contexts?
  • How can a writing centre be transformed by the knowledge and experience of Indigenous students and staff? What models can guide us in this important work?
  • How can writing centres explore issues of language, culture, diversity and respect through partnerships and/or joint programming with other university programs or offices?
  • How do writing centres work with external organizations (through partnerships, service learning, internships, volunteering) to extend our contributions outside of our institutions?
  • How do writing centres take these important conversations online? How do our online interactions with students make possible new and different ways of listening?
  • How can or do writing centres add to or facilitate conversations about diversity among faculty?

Deadline: Please submit your proposals by 11:59pm (EST) January 29, 2017.

Proposals must be submitted through our online submission form. Email submissions will not be accepted this year.

Any individual presenter may be included on up to two (2) proposals, but at least one of the proposals must be for a group presentation (3-5 presenters).

Questions about conference proposals can be directed to CWCA Vice-Chair, Nancy Johnson Squair:

Presenters will be notified by email concerning the status of their proposal(s) by February 24, 2017.

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