This is not your average conference, and the theme,
Building Engaged Infrastructure, isn’t just a concept
—it’s a challenge, a call to action.
This conference will bring together scholars, teachers, and community leaders to build partnerships and collaborations to investigate, create, and implement strategies for engagement.
Our charge to build community prompts us to envision new formats for knowledge-sharing. Attendees will have the chance to interact with nationally-known scholars in the field in DeepThink Tanks and workshops, organized to privilege and support collaboration between teachers, scholars, graduate students, and community members.
Space will be available for FlashLabs (think “pop-up roundtables”), groups of like-minded thinkers who want to continue conversations begun in sessions, DeepThink Tanks, or elsewhere. Organized through Twitter or on-site at the conference, this FlashLab space will support collaboration, community, and practical relationship building.
We will offer the means for digital “poster” displays of multimodal community writing, presented throughout the conference.
After the conference, participants will have the opportunity to submit an article, which develops ideas from the conference, for consideration in special issues of two academic journals.
The goal of this conference is to create a national network of information, people, ideas, and support structures to make the work we do in and about our communities more sustainable, impactful, rewarding, and rewarded.
We will engage with each other and with the social, environmental, and economic issues our communities face, from the local to the global scale.
The DeepThink Tank sessions will be organized around the following themes:
- Community Literacy
- Poverty, Homelessness, Prisons
- Resilient Communities
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Professionalization and Engaged Infrastructure
Community writing, or public writing, seeks to productively partner academic epistemologies and methods with the needs of our various communities. As with any interdisciplinary or inter-organizational endeavor, the values of each party may seem to contradict or subsume the other.
This conference, however, will seek to develop the infrastructure necessary for sustainable partnerships between universities and the communities they study.
Such infrastructure will begin with the partnerships formed around understanding how to professionalize the work of community writing teachers and scholars whose efforts often are undervalued by academic cultures.
This approach will also challenge the barriers between communities and the universities that often seem detached from the cities and towns that house them.
We will interrogate the modes of communication and circulation that support these connections.