Expanded Description

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.

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