Inkshed 29 Call for Proposals

Collaboration Revisited! University of British Columbia, June 4-6, 2013

NOTE: Proposals are still welcome. Email them to Katharine Patterson. See also the invitations (below) to participate in roundtables, from Shurli Makmillen.

Inkshed 29 aims to update our knowledge about practices of collaboration, whether in the form of enquiries into collaborative writing, the teaching of collaborative writing, the collaborative teaching of writing, or (gasp!) collaborative research. We see papers falling into one of two threads:

  1. Most practically, we may simply want to think of collaboration as working together to achieve shared common goals, but definitions of collaboration in the context of teaching writing are diverse. Some have argued for “a broadening of the definition of collaboration” from “simply ‘writing together’” to the inclusion of “all examples of … interactive writing’” (Debs, 1993); others call for an even more expansive notion of collaboration as “a dialogic process” involving “multiple voices” and including “all knowledge making” (Reither, 1993). Since then researchers have occasionally and variously taken on the topic of collaborative writing, for example to acknowledge how workplace genres are acquired (Spilka, 1998). More recently, the teaching of collaborative writing has come under scrutiny: Heller (2003), for example, is concerned that we “have jumped too quickly from intellectual critique to pedagogical prescription” in our embrace of collaborative pedagogies (303).
  2. Our own collaborations as Inkshedders are also deserving of attention: Inkshed has a long history of encouraging and even preferring the collaborative proposal in our calls for papers. The Inkshed community itself has been described as an “academic collaborative” (Horne 2012). Indeed, collaboration is a recurring topic in Canadian writing research. For example, collaborations across disciplines or other communities of practice are said to involve “boundary work” (Derkatch 2008: Schryer et al. 2009) whereby “brokers” use their influence to share power across the boundaries of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998); in other words, they negotiate shared elements across fields of knowledge. Elsewhere, writing collaborations between academics and members of groups outside the academy, such as with indigenous community members, are said to posit questions of epistemology and power (e.g. McCall 2010).

In the spirit of updating, reaffirming, and challenging notions of collaboration, we invite proposals that address any of the themes above—or others related to the intersections between writing and collaboration. For example, we encourage related explorations of technologies, classrooms, hierarchies, workplace genres, drama and visual arts, Indigenous perspectives, and disciplines.

Proposals for presentations of all kinds are welcome:

  • Roundtables, panels, other forms of group presentation, including sessions involving student participation
  • Workshops, demonstrations, exercises in collaborative teaching and writing
  • Performance art, performance scholarship
  • Conventional conference paper presentations, including—yes!—collaborations
  • Presentations in other innovative forms.

Proposals should generally be for 20 minute sessions, with some flexibility: if you want to propose a session that will need 40, 60, or 90 minutes, let us know why and we will consider this.

Proposal length: maximum 500 words (proposals for multi-presenter sessions can be longer, to allow descriptions of the session as a whole and the contributions of individual presenters)

Email proposals to Katharine Patterson, UBC:

Two postscripts about conference roundtables:

1. As part of Inkshed 29, we also invite interested participants to submit papers for a roundtable on works-in-progress. We will orchestrate an exchange of paper drafts two weeks in advance in preparation for a two-hour session in which participants will take turns in “the hot seat.” Responders will have the added option of following up with written feedback. To get a sense of interest and numbers, we invite those interested in participating in the roundtable to submit a working title of their paper to Shurli Makmillen.

2. Shurli Makmillen is also planning a roundtable of students involved with writing centres (or more generally, writing studies). Involvement could take the form of peer tutoring, research or research assistant work, or research carried out in the field of Writing Studies for courses. We are hoping student participants will contribute with a brief summary of their involvement (e.g. tutoring, courses, research) followed by a reflection or question of critical interest. Writing Centres and Writing Studies courses are positioned differently in universities across Canada, and this panel is an opportunity to hear about the consequences of these differences from a student perspective. Participants should send a brief (50-100 word) description of their planned contribution to by April 14.

And a little bit more about Inkshed for the uninitiated

Inkshed provides an alternative to the conventional academic conference format, encouraging innovative, interactive, and generally unconventional sessions. Its stated goals in 1984 were:

  • to create occasions for people concerned with the learning and teaching, and study, of literacy and literate behaviour to talk about the issues and problems of concern in specifically Canadian contexts
  • to explore ways of deepening and enriching the exchange of ideas, information and insights at a conference.

Your Inkshed organizing committee hopes to see you there!

Katharine Patterson, Diana Wegner, Michelle Riedlinger, and Shurli Makmillen

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