The following are example proposals that OWCA committee members were able to provide on short notice. They are intended as guides. Your proposal to the 2021 OWCA Conference does not need to follow the exact same format and can take a nontraditional approach.
The following is a written proposal on the topic of ableism in the writing center community. This proposal was originally submitted for a past International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) conference. The conference theme was The Art of It All.
Art and Ableism: An Accessibility Analysis of Writing Center Pedagogy, Conferences, and Publications
Whether we’re talking about traditional art, architecture, or writing centers, artists work with a specific audience in mind. Unfortunately, this audience is commonly assumed to be of able body and able mind, and artists and artisans alike neglect to create for disability. Traditional art, for example, is usually created and displayed under the assumption that everyone can see, excluding those with visual impairments from enjoying and participating in artwork. Thankfully, many artists have started creating with consideration of visual impairments, through techniques such as incorporating braille, layering paint for extra textures, and creating tactile art for touch (Dupere, 2016). Beyond the individual artist, organizations play a role in accessibility by 3D printing historical works and advertising tactile tours that allow for smell and touch (Dupere, 2016).
If we consider writing centers to be places of art, then we must ask: what assumptions do we make about our audiences? And how accessible is the art we create? This individual presentation will consider the ways in which our artists and organizations can challenge ableist traditions to better create with accessibility and disability in mind. First, I will build on previous arguments by Babcock (2008; 2012), Rafoth (2016), and Shamoon and Burns (1995) to interrogate our most common lore and preferred tutoring pedagogies, such as indirectness, hands-off approaches, and non-editing policies. Second, I will discuss how presenters can better design conference presentations for attendees with visual or hearing impairments. Lastly, I will discuss how our publications can better be formatted in HTML for readers using assistive technologies (Society for Disability Studies, 2016). Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how they and their colleagues can incorporate accessibility into our field.
Babcock, R. D. (2008). Outlaw tutoring: Editing and proofreading revisited. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 38(2), 63-70.
Babcock, R. D. (2012). Tell me how it reads: Tutoring deaf and hearing students in the writing center. Gallaudet University Press: Washington, DC.
Dupere, K. (2016). 5 innovative ways art is becoming more accessible to the blind community. Mashable.
Rafoth, B. (2016). Faces, factories, and Warhols: A r(Evolutionary) future for writing centers. The Writing Center Journal, 35(2), 17-29.
Society for Disability Studies. (2016). Publishing accessible books.
The following is an audio proposal on the topic of inclusivity of writing intensive courses. This proposal was originally submitted for a past Southeastern Writing Center Association (SWCA) conference.
The following is a video proposal on the topic of interdependence for the OWCA 2021 conference.