CFP for Conference on Community Writing Oct 17-19, 2019 in Philadelphia

Conference on Community Writing

Philadelphia, October 17-19, 2019
Conference Theme: “Doing The Work”

Keynote Speakers:
Carmen Kynard (John Jay College Of Criminal Justice)
Paula Mathieu (Boston College)

Do not confuse the WORK with the JOB.  CCW keynote speaker, Carmen Kynard, explains how these words from her graduate advisor, Suzanne Carothers, affected her:

Those words have kept me sane and grounded … and those words have helped me move onwards and higher when the limited horizons of other folk have attempted to confine me. I locate this mantra— and its many offshoots— squarely within Black culture. I see this as a kind of cultural memory and hence language for a social group who has had to continually invent dignity and identities that run against the menial “jobs” and “positions” they have been relegated to.

Suzanne’s mentoring and example have helped me shift the political, linguistic, and aesthetic center of gravity in my own self-actualization in spaces that work directly opposite of that. For so many of my colleagues, the work that they do is confined to the physical building that houses their job. For Suzanne, the WORK is always much bigger and much more meaningful than that.*

Kynard provides a powerful lens through which to assess our own work in community writing. Some of us may feel dissonance between the greater work we (want to, hope to) do—whether we view that as teaching, research, or activism—and our job description. Some of us may have figured out how to pair the two.

As keynote speaker Paula Mathieu reminds us, the work is both external, in the streets, and internal, within ourselves. She challenges us to adopt practices of contemplation, mindfulness, and self-care as necessary to our health, our happiness, and ethical community work.

CCW 2019 provides time and space for us to pursue answers to these ideas related to the theme:

  • What work do these times call forth in us, and what models, methodologies, case studies, and theories can you share to help others do the work well?
  • How does that work align with or differ from your job expectations, and by what means, tactical or strategic, can we create greater alignment?
  • How do decolonial, intersectional, and contemplative approaches to the work help us make sense of, push against the limits of, or transform the job in its many iterations?
  • What models are there for institutional changes (such as revisions of tenure and promotion requirements) that make doing the work more manageable and valued.
  • How can we create alliances that support and sustain us in the work?

* Text from Kynard’s blog post, Black Language Matters: Black Languaging/ Black Mentoring of Young Black Faculty.

We welcome proposals that address, theorize, and offer methodologies related to any of these questions or that interpret our theme in any number of ways.  Aca­d­e­mics of all lev­els, community partners, public intellectuals, activists, and students involved with engage­d pedagogy, research, activism, and social change are invited to submit a proposal for an indi­vid­ual talk, a pan­el of 3 or more pre­sen­ters, a roundtable discussion, or an interactive work­shop that will help us under­stand how writ­ing func­tions socially to inform, empower, and trans­form, as well as how we can do the work to sup­port community-based research, ped­a­gogy, activism, and organizing.

If you envision another format for your presentation that is not included here, propose it!  We’re always excited to mix things up!

Concurrent Sessions

panel session consists of 3-4 speakers presenting for a total of 60 minutes, including 12-15 minutes of Q and A.  Presenters may propose full panels or individual presentations (12-15 minutes) that will be combined by the Conference Planning Committee. For full panels, please be sure to specify the individual presentation title for each speaker.

Roundtable Discussions

In a 60-minute roundtable, selected participants (often experts in a given field) engage in a focused discussion on a specific theme with one or more facilitators guiding or moderating the dialogue.  Roundtables should be proposed as full panels, but with the full time used for discussion among presenters and audience members.  Roundtable discussion proposals should include a list of talking points, discussion questions attendees may be asked to consider, and an explanation of the practical relevance of the discussion.

Interactive Workshops

Workshop sessions will consist of 90 minutes of interactive presentation and collaborative work with the audience.  We encourage workshop facilitators to include both academic and non-academic stakeholders for community writing.  Thus, successful workshop proposals will provide a theoretical background, a discussion of community context, a presentation of fruitful collaboration, and practical tasks for the audience that the workshop panel might facilitate.  Workshops are designed to be highly interactive.


Have you ever simply wanted to attend a conference and then be provided with time, space, and tools to synthesize what you experienced? We envision culling our writers-in-residence from those attendees skilled in creating extemporaneous narrative from disparate elements, who use their writing to process complex information, who enjoy writing in collaborative environments. Each day, they will leave for their chosen assignments with a mission to capture what is going on–on the surface, below deck, between cracks. The group will convene/workshop a few times to compare notes and share inspiration before curating a final selective-and-reflective reading of the conference as a whole.

The names of our writers-in-residence will appear on the program. Writers-in-residence will not have other speaking roles on the program. For questions about the writers-in-residence positions, please email Kirsten Kaschock ( directly.

Proposals for all formats should be 250-500 words.  A cover page should include the proposal type, presenter’s name, professional title and affiliation, and contact email, as well as the individual presentation or session title. The proposal portal will open in December 2018. Submission deadline is February 2, 2019. To submit a proposal or find conference information, visit the conference website:  Check back regularly for updates.

For questions about the conference, email one of the Conference Chairs, Rachel Wenrick (, Valerie Ross (, and Veronica House (


To submit a proposal, please follow this link

About Steve Mentz 1265 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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