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Call for Proposals

Click here for PDF version of the CFP

No matter where writing centers are, we continue to build upon our own complex histories, restoring our dialogic and theoretical existences. We invite students and tutors to use writing centers as creative spaces, and we frame our centers as safe spaces, as brave spaces.

So what does it all mean for the work we do? Where and how does a writing center exist?

Writing center spaces influence and are influenced by many factors: values and pedagogy; student population and demographics; staff training and development; conferences and other services; budgeting and resource allocation; and administration and planning.

In Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers, Jackie Grutsch McKinney considers the typical narratives used to describe writing center “settings,” the spaces, places, and environments of our programs, and encourages us to “re-see” our centers by “looking at them rather than through them,” and even to “widen our gaze” as we explore our settings. 

The pandemic has challenged writing center administrators and tutors to replace the physical with the virtual. What will our centers look like when we return to our campuses? What will our students need as we make that transition and settle into our next “new normal”? How has this experience reshaped or refined our existing theories and practices? What have we learned about writing center work when it’s taken outside what we have thought of as usable spaces?

The central questions of our conference are: What happens when we question our own existence as we consider our praxis? What roles do space and place play in the writing center and its surrounding contexts and theoretical frameworks? We invite you to share strategies, challenges, and questions about how the notions of space and place motivate writing centers’ services, planning, engagement, and theories. 

Submission Guidelines

While the pandemic has made all of us rethink our models, we welcome proposals that consider what our centers have looked like under normal operations and will look like when we return to our campuses. Proposals can address any of the following questions or other issues/topics relevant to writing center praxis:

Space as a representation of our socio-cultural values:

  • By presenting our centers as welcoming and creative environments, are we describing our space or are we providing a narrative for it? 

  • What does a writing center’s space say about its staff’s values? Its campus’ values?

  • How can our commitments to social justice be visible in our spaces and steer our decisions about physical and virtual space?

  • What messages do the presence and/or absence of artifacts in a writing center’s space send to those who occupy it? 

  • Can a physical space claim its purpose without the people who work within it? 


Space as a representation of our academic values:

  • What makes writing centers welcoming environments that are conducive to learning? What are (or aren’t) we doing to make our centers welcoming? 

  • What are some of the important relationships between space and other factors in writing centers? How do these factors intertwine with one another? 

  • Where do writing centers exist within larger contexts--on our campuses, in composition and learning theories, for example?

  • What does a utopian 21st-century writing center look like? How does it function? And what about dystopian writing centers?

  • In what ways do we consider 21st-century learning methods when we design/redesign/imagine our spaces--both within and outside the walls of the center? 

  • Where does a writing center exist within Guided Pathways?

  • How can accessibility models for classroom instruction, such as Universal Design for Learning, be implemented in writing centers? 

  • How does the design of a space influence learning and cognition? 


Spaces as representations of our identities:​

  • How do writing center administrators reach across departmental and disciplinary boundaries to contribute to our campus’ cultures of writing? 

  • How do the notions of safety and bravery stretch outside the writing center and into students’ individual writing practices or in classroom or other campus environments?

  • How are tutors invited to take ownership of the space of the writing center? How can this sense of tutor ownership be balanced with writer’s sense of comfort in the center?

  • How do our spaces evolve? How might changes to/in a center’s spatial elements reflect other changes to its program and/or speak to shifts, evolutions, or revolutions to a program’s goals or pedagogy?

  • What is the role of space in an online writing center? How does the concept/idea of a welcoming environment that is conducive to learning apply to an online writing center?


Session Formats
All conference presentations will be media posted on the conference website. Media might be audio recordings, videos, narrated slide shows, or art. Videos may be either: individual, pair, or small group presentations; mashups of multiple individual presentations (in a single video). Videos should be no longer than 20 minutes. For accessibility purposes, all videos must be captioned and/or accompanied by a transcript.

Concept Art
Additionally, we welcome and encourage your digital art (photos, drawings, etc) that represents the space that the writing center occupies in your university, town, history, and online community. These images will be featured in the conference program, and the artists will have an opportunity to display and discuss their submissions at the conference.  


Proposal will include:

  • Presenter contact info (names, institutions, institutional emails, and phone numbers)

  • Proposal: one 300-word description of presentation, one 100-word abstract, keywords to help describe and define the proposal

  • Media type




Proposals are due by March 5. All proposals will be accepted; some proposals may receive suggestions from the conference co-chairs. Media is due to the conference co-chairs by April 9. Please see the Conference Timeline page for more information.

If you submitted last year, please feel free to resubmit exactly the same thing! We do ask that you resubmit, just for efficiency sake on our part.


Conference Co-Chairs

Brooklyn Walter,  Washington State University
Erik Echols, University of Washington Bothell
Kim Sharp, Shoreline Community College 

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