Drexel University is set to be the location host of the Conference on Community Writing from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19. Along with co-hosts Temple University and University of Pennsylvania, who will be assisting at Drexel, the three schools are seeing to the smooth sailing of this biennial conference.
Two years ago, the Conference on Community Writing was held in Boulder, Colorado. According to the Coalition for Community Writing’s website, there were “436 scholars, activists, teachers and community members who attended the 2017 conference.” Attendees came from as many as 48 states, and over 200 colleges, universities and community organizations were represented. The goal for this year’s conference is to — at the bare minimum, match those numbers, but — increase those numbers in every regard.
The expected number of visitors is currently hovering around 500, and there could be anywhere from 10-50 estimated exhibitors at the conference.
This year’s theme for the conference is titled “Doing the Work,” and the conference will feature three keynote speakers: artist, muralist and educator Michelle Angela Ortiz; educator, designer and author Carmen Kynard; and professor and author Paula Mathieu.
Along with this year’s keynote speakers are the DeepThink Tank sessions. As described on the Coalition for Community Writing’s website, these “action-oriented working sessions” are designed to focus on relevant issues in society and concerning the environment.
The goal of these sessions is to have attendees of the conference interact with them and spark a discussion about how they can incorporate tackling these issues in their lives.
The overarching DeepThink Tank themes, which will help guide the focus of this year’s conference, are immigration, gentrification, environmental and food justice, youth activism and racial justice. If you plan on going to the Conference on Community Writing next week, these topics are what you should prepare for!
There is a schedule posted on the Coalition for Community Writing’s website that shows what is happening, the event times and where they will be held. The conference kicks off Wednesday Oct. 16 with a two-hour happy hour at The Study Hotel Bar and Lobby.
For a day by day breakdown of the conference, it begins with breakfast and morning events on Thursday, which will take place at locations around Drexel’s campus. After a lunch break, DeepThink sessions will take place around Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. There will be a reading by author Liliana Velasquez at the Free Library of Philadelphia before the Ortiz keynote, which will then lead to the awards and reception dinner at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Friday morning’s breakfast and morning sessions are held at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships, located just off campus in West Philadelphia. There will be a lunch break, featuring a Drexel food truck, Wokworks, on site.
The afternoon includes more workshops at the Dornsife Center before appetizers and drinks at The Clinical Writing Program building on Penn’s Campus. Friday concludes with the Kynard keynote address in Irvine Auditorium on Penn’s campus.
Saturday starts back at the Dornsife Center, with breakfast and morning sessions. There will be a catered lunch available along with a 30-minute reading of works by the Writers in Residents, a curated list of college presenters from various universities. Drexel’s own Janel McCloskey will be reading one of her works as well.
The Mathieu keynote address will follow the residents presentation, leading into a one-hour conference and discussion from 3 to 4 p.m., serving as a culmination of the three days shared by people who make up the Conference on Community Writing.
With all of those events planned and a whole three days full of potential, the conference will prove to be a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in learning and taking in a truly unique experience. You can go for as little or as much of the conference as you’d like, but the hope is that you attend as much as you can.