Keynote Speaker

From Far and Wide: Imagining the Futures of Writing Centres

We are delighted that Dr. Frankie Condon will be the keynote speaker at our 2017 conference.

The Languages We May Be: Affiliative Relations and the Work of the Canadian Writing Centre

“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

In 1971, Canada became the first country in the world to affirm multiculturalism as a national policy. In contrast to other nations and to the U.S. in particular, as its population becomes increasingly diverse Canada has attempted to conceive of its racial and ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity not in terms of assimilation (the American melting pot), but of affiliation: to become a “mosaic” nation in which such differences are imagined as a source of social, cultural, and economic vitality. But moving from the articulation of this political – and philosophical principle – to its actualization is and will continue to be fraught with complexity and tension. Within this socio-political landscape, Canadian universities (and indeed Canadian education writ large) will continue to play a significant role. In this keynote address, Dr. Condon explores the quality and scope of a transformative writing centre ethos that might draw upon the wellsprings of what historian John Ralston Saul identifies as Canada’s Metis cultural inheritance. This ethos and its attending pedagogical praxis will value, she suggests, place, sustained dialogue, affiliative relations and, most importantly, a willingness to live humanely within the complexity of those relations. Working from a recognition of the ways and degrees to which the languages we speak and write are inextricable from who we are – our memories, our stories, our ways of being – Dr. Condon imagines a uniquely Canadian writing centre in which the mixing and mingling of languages becomes not a source of consternation, but a resource that demands of us respect and stewardship even as it provides us with opportunities for the building and sustaining of thick affiliative relations.


About Frankie


Frankie is an associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. Frankie’s books include the newly published, Performing Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Rhetoric, Writing and Communication, co-edited with Vershawn Ashanti Young (WAC Clearinghouse and University of Colorado Press); I Hope I Join the Band: Narrative, Affiliation and Antiracist Rhetoric; and The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice, co-authored with Elizabeth Boquet, Meg Carroll, Michele Eodice, and Anne Ellen Geller (both published by Utah State University Press). Among Frankie’s recent book chapters is “Building a House for Linguistic Diversity: Writing Centers, English Language Teaching and Learning, and Social Justice,” co-Authored with Bobbi Olson and published in Tutoring Second Language Writers (Utah State University Press).

Frankie lives in Waterloo with her partner, kids, two dogs, a cat, and a chinchilla named Sid. When she is not teaching or writing she may be found, in summer, fussing over her vegetable patch or, in winter, watching hockey in an ice rink somewhere in North America.