8th CWCA/ACCR Conference
Social Justice and Writing Centres
May 17 – 21, 2021
“[A] culture of access is a culture of participation and redesign”
–Elizabeth Brewer, Cynthia L. Selfe, and M. Remi Yergeau
For our 2021 conference, the Canadian Writing Centres Association / 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. These themes may be related to anti-racist work and Indigenization at writing centres, to our recent experiences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to writing and writing centre theory, pedagogy, praxis, programming, administration, research, physical and online environments, advocacy, or activism.
Writing centres have committed to making their spaces and services accessible, inclusive, and democratic, not least to students and tutors from marginalized backgrounds (Geller et al., 2007; Greenfield & Rowan, 2011; Hitt, 2012; Lang, 2017; Martini & Webster, 2017). Even as COVID-19 has inflected, sharpened, and foregrounded systemic inequities, the Black Lives Matter movement, Indigenous movements for social justice such as 1492 Land Back Lane and Idle No More, and the Disability Rights Movement have called upon us, with greater urgency than ever before, to expand the definition and the scope of access, and revitalize writing centres as social justice projects.
In considering Brewer, Selfe, and Yergeau (2014)—“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 does exclusion and injustice affect all those who occupy our physical, virtual, and scholarly spaces?,
- How we can address the impacts of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, and transphobia to most effectively counter systemic injustices?,
- How can writing centres play a greater 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?, and
- How can we transform access to our spaces into access to power to transform our spaces and the world beyond?
Call for Proposals
Questions for your consideration include—but are not limited to—the following:
- In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic foregrounded changes to make writing centres more inclusive?
- What gaps in the literature limit access to writing centres?
- How might a framework for transformative inclusion counteract normative or individualist/competitive values that are a part of current culture?
- What concrete strategies can address stigma and increase full participation from marginalized community members?
- In what ways can writing centre theory and pedagogy renew itself in response to the idea that writing and tutoring
- are embodied acts?, and
- may inhabit identities that are both visible and invisible at the same time?
- How can accessibility, inclusion, and universal design considerations be incorporated into every aspect of writing centre practice, from the arrangement or lighting of physical space to the design of websites, handouts, or multimodal tools, from the hiring and preparation of tutors to the conscious articulation of theory and pedagogy?
- In building relationships, collaborating with disciplinary instructors, and advocacy on behalf of students, how can writing centres
- contribute to the project of transforming the academy?
- support instructors from disadvantaged backgrounds as they navigate the requirements for success in post-secondary teaching careers?
- play a role in making inclusive scholarly work and activity more available outside the academy?
- How can we listen attentively to tutors and writers, so as to tie our everyday practices, administrative work, ways of thinking and communicating, research, and policies to the advancement of social justice?
This year’s conference will be jointly hosted in an online format 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), which are located in London, Ontario. Affiliates of Western University, both are situated on the lands of the Anishinaabe, Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee, and Leni-Lunaape Peoples. Even as Huron University College and King’s University College move towards social justice and increased access and accessibility, they 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. Both 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.
As a virtual space, the conference cannot provide the opportunities for connection that typically occur during coffee breaks, in lunch lines, and in shared spaces. The sessions will become the places where these connections begin. So, for every session type, please consider how you can engage the audience in your research and presentation. You could use technology to support audience participation, such as Padlet, Mentimeter, Stormz, or Google Docs, or actively facilitate audience discussion instead of allowing for a traditional Q&A by posing questions to the audience, asking for audience members to share their experiences, etc.
Research Panel Presentations
Panelists will present for no more than 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. Once sessions are confirmed, we will share information about your co-presenters, so that you can coordinate how best to involve the audience in your session. Note that shorter presentations will increase the time available to engage the audience in discussion. 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. Posters will be electronic, and exact specifications for the format of poster presentations will be provided at a later date.
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 electronically and virtually share 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 share at the session.
Submission proposals should be no more than 500 words, unless otherwise noted. References should not be included in your proposal word count.
Submission proposals should include
- your chosen session format
- session title
- a 70-100 word session abstract for the conference program
- a 500-word session description
- a rationale for your preferred session format
Through CWCA/ACCR’s affiliation with the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA), we are using IWCA’S submission and review portal.
Submissions require a two-stage process.
- Click here. Create an account by providing your name, address, and institutional affiliation.
- On the next screen, click on CWCA/ACCR 2021 Conference Proposals in the right-hand menu. Follow the prompts to enter your proposal. If you already an IWCA member, login here to submit your proposal.
You do not need to be a member of IWCA to submit a proposal, and there is no cost associated. By following this process, you do not become a member of IWCA.
The deadline for submissions is January 25, 2021.
This deadline is final and 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.R. (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/