Monday, December 4, 2017

#4C18 Update - Activist Workshops, Transnational Connections, and Tech/Access

As you read about the new things developing around 4C18, please note the new volunteers in red text. I want to acknowledge their contributions. As in earlier posts, they are new members to the SJAC team.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). This work group is still talking with the local chapter of the NAACP and Literacy KC. They have also reached out to the Ida B. Wells Coalition against Police Brutality, BLM KC, the Kansas Human Rights Commission, KC Employee Rights Law Firm, and the ACLU of Missouri. Additionally, I've talked with Mayor Sly James' assistant in charge of his educational initiatives, and there is still a chance he may come and speak at our convention, but I won't know until much closer to the convention. I'm also currently talking with Literacy KC's leadership for ways they can partner with us at our convention. 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves, Brenda Brueggeman, Chad Iwertz, Ruth Osorio, and Kristen Ruccio). This work group is compiling a list of consultants, currently four, with expertise in virtual access and disability in order to request quotes on their services that would help us expand access to our convention. An important element in their discussions with these folks has been to make sure the consultant has skills and/or experience in both access (i.e. consideration of disabilities, etc.) and technology/distance platforms for large conventions. The three main options the group is currently exploring quotes on are: 
  • enabling one room at the convention to be wired/tech accessible for remote presentations and remote-attendance;
  • live-stream or make captioned videos of some key events (e.g. Opening session/chair's address, the all-convention event, the KC Cultural Event) available for later viewing;
  • an assessment of each of these innovations in order to understand how well they achieved accessibility for remote participants and how scaleable they could be for future conventions.
Since the assessment portion will occur regardless of what we do at the convention, the two main options above (the first two bullets) are hopefully both doable. Right now, I see both as important to pilot in some focused way. 
Relatedly, the 4C18 Convention's media director, Matt Gomes (yes, we have one this year), whose volunteer team is in charge of expanding coverage and accessibility to the convention through podcasts, a soundtrack, and other media, is working to offer parts of the convention via podcasts and the like. You'll hear more about this as they produce some pre-convention podcasts as we get closer to the convention. One particular focus of this group is to reach out to an international audience of researchers and teachers. I'd like to see more scholars and convention participants from other countries become more involved in CCCC annual conventions in years to come. This means Matt and his team are working with the Transnational Composition Standing Group (mostly, Shyam Sharma, Brice Nordquist, Tiane Donahue -- welcome, y'all). They are planning to produce podcasts, and perhaps other material, that offer some previews and streaming sessions of transnational sessions that are on the program, record interviews with transnational scholars, and promote various activities through the podcast before and during the convention. 
  1. Safety and Security (Al Harahap, Brent Chappelow, Dana Driscoll, Brian Hendrickson, Amy Meckenburg-Faenger, Alisa Russell, Mary Stewart, and Matthew Vetter). Welcome to the two new members of this work group. The group created a survey in order to find out members' attitudes about the use of the buddy system for travel to and from the convention site. They've also completed initial planning around convention workshop with group #10 below (see those details below). Expect to get a request to complete the survey from NCTE/CCCC by email in the next few weeks. It will help this group and I decide on how to proceed. This group is also working with the good folks from Cs the Day (Scott Reed) and FourCForEquality (@4C4Equality), who have produced checklists for Cs members in the past. These three groups are coordinating their efforts this year. 
  2. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland, Kayla Bruce, Jess Boykin, and Hillary Coenen). Welcome to our three new members to this work group. Casie and her group has made a sign-up sheet. You may go here to sign up for a time slot at the convention to help by sitting at the table that collects donations during the convention! They are hoping to have at least 30 members volunteer through the sign-up system. The organizations they will be collecting donations for are: Literacy KC, The Center for American Indian Community Health, and Black Lives Matter
  3. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel). Nothing new to report here. 
  4. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore). Nothing new to report here.
  5. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia). This work has been collapsed into priority #9 below, but I leave it here so there is a clear record of it and our work on it.
  6. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). This group is collecting responses about their initial ideas for this event from other SJAC task force members. So I'm expecting something substantive in the next week or so. 
  7. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton, and Romeo Garcia). I've been in contact with Paul Tosh and am working with him and his student group from UMKC to create the cover art for the program. They are using our call and an emphasis on social justice as themes for the artwork that they will present to me next week. My hope is that I might be able to get feedback on the options they offer me for the program cover art, perhaps in my next blog post.  
  8. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). This work group has put together two half-day workshops that will be offered on Wednesday of the convention. Here's the details of those two exciting workshops that this group submitted to me (the descriptions are theirs): 
Workshop #1 (Wednesday, 9:00 – 12:30): Exploring Issues in Social Justice and Activism 
This workshop will be set up in a round-robin format with four different “stations” focusing on different issues related to social justice work in institutional and civic settings.  Workshop participants will cycle through each of these four stations in 40-45 minute intervals, ensuring that every attendee has the chance to learn from each mini-workshop.  A small group of facilitators at each station will be responsible for leading attendees through their workshop (presentations, activities, discussions, etc.) for each of the four time slots available.  Assuming each session takes about 45 minutes, that will leave 30 minutes for getting the overall workshop session started and reconvening at the end for an open discussion.  The goal of this workshop will be to help participants explore social justice and activism issues from the following perspectives:
  • Group #1: Social Justice and Activism in the Context of Program Administration and Service
  • Group #2: Incorporating Pedagogies of Difference and Inclusion in the Classroom
  • Group #3: The Possibilities and Limitations of Scholarly Work on Social Justice
  • Group #4: Safety, Security, and Public Awareness
Workshop #2 (Wednesday, 1:30 – 5:00): Planning for Social Justice Work in Home Institutions 
This workshop will, we hope, build upon Workshop #1 with a focus on planning for social justice work in the participants’ home institutions at the curricular, programmatic, institutional, civic, research, and/or classroom level. (It is not a requirement that participants in Workshop #2 have also attended Workshop #1, however.) The specific goal of this session will be to share ideas, brainstorm approaches for implementing social justice work in local contexts, and help participants plan specific strategies that they can enact on their home campuses once they leave the conference. In this session, participants will meet in small working groups (4-5 people) to discuss their individual contexts and plans for social justice work at their home institutions. These breakout groups will meet for an hour, and participants will then move to a new table with a new group of people, to share and further develop their plans. (The structure for this approach is similar to the way the RNF is organized; it’s possible that the working groups will be given different tasks/charges in each one-hour session.) As a rough estimate, we figure that if 50 people are signed up for this workshop, we will need facilitators for 10-15 tables. The facilitators’ responsibilities will be to ensure all people in the small group discussions have an opportunity to discuss their contexts and plans, and to keep the conversation active through the entire session.
I'm very excited about all the movement on all fronts that the SJAC has done, and in particular, the work that the last group has done in designing two really great workshops that help us think about and perhaps conduct social justice activism at our own locations. Both workshops will have local activists involved in facilitating them. Additionally, I'm very happy with the work the first group has done. It is often difficult to contact local organizations, especially if you don't live in the area. All of the work groups have been working very hard, and I'm very appreciative of their immense contributions to the convention so far.

Finally, I'd like to update and correct some numbers I gave last week concerning acceptances, rejections, and the waitlist for 4C18 proposals so far. Because of some technical issues in gathering the information my numbers from last week were incorrect, or rather a little off. As of Friday morning (Dec 1), here are our current proposal numbers:
  • Roles Accepted: 2,093 (76%)
  • Roles Declined: 132 (5%)
  • No Response: 515 (19%)
The wait list numbers look like this:
  • Roles Accepted: 194 (73%)
  • Roles Declined: 12 (5%)
  • No Response: 59 (22%)
For some context, we have a total of 2,740 speaking roles offered on our program. These numbers look good, but note that there is still a number of people who have not yet accepted or declined their roles in the convention, and this affects those on the wait list. So please, be sure you've followed all the instructions in your email from NCTE/CCCC. Thank you. You're colleagues who are on the wait list appreciate this.

Peace

2 comments:

  1. Asao,
    I thought long and hard before responding. I noticed that most of your blog post are not responded to and I was fretful at the thought of breaking the trend. However, I ultimately decided I wanted to comment despite the lack of precedent for doing so.

    So, to begin, thanks for the updates on CCCC 18 and your efforts with the media people to make it more digitally accessible. I support that initiative, the wonderful people doing such good work, and I think it is a desirable precedent going forward. I am also pleased to see that the media design is also getting due attention. I want for the success of anything that promotes the interest of writing professors, rhet/comp as a discipline and the intellectual development of writing students. That is partly why I joined, CCCC, in fact, the journals the conference, and, as here, the sharing of disciplinary knowledge.

    In addition, several other initiatives you list I have little opinion on. It is weird to me that some of them are on your plate. Other conferences that I have been to tend to have a free-speech area where things like social justice or politics that are not directly related to the promotion of the field can have their own space and way to get their message out. If it is not strictly disciplinary, it gets a table in the free-speech zone and the executives let the various interests groups do as they feel compelled to do. The result is that the EC’s are not distracted by peripheral politics and can work more in the overall interests of the disciplinary membership that is paying the dues. It is noticeably different that 4Cs executive committee is not working this way.

    Finally, and most pressingly for me, are the places where you implement collective money and the name of the whole conference in goals that are not disciplinary and serve only a very progressive, leftist political agenda. Letting special interests group have their free speech at your conference is in line with liberal values.

    However, this category is different because you are using the body of members as political force and we cannot opt out of the political action without opting out of the membership. This is illiberal and betrayal of the trust of the membership.
    I think that if CCCC is committed to a membership with a diverse body of thought, methods, and episteme, as well as freedom of speech, and real academic freedom, you need to edge back from a path where to support the discipline of rhet/comp, or writing studies, etc, you have to be of a certain political viewpoint. All that does is purify the membership and lessen the commitment to the discipline as whole.

    I hope you rethink using the social and material capital of CCCC to further divisive, non-rhet/comp political agendas. The idea of a dues collecting professional group is that members pay for representations of their core interests. I see very little of that in your posts.

    In the name of fairness, I read your post already self-identified as an outsider and I found your post confirmed that perspective. My only stake in this is the future of CCCC beyond the 2018 conference. If the executive committee is not going to primarily represent writing, rhetoric, literacy, composition, and communication I do not want to pay any more dues.

    Thank you for reading this far.

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  2. Thank you, Dayna, for your conscientious and thoughtful response. I'll take this to the SJAC and that group and I will consider it. I love the idea of making a free speech table or area of the convention. I can see moving some of those activities you mention there. That make sense to me based on the reasonable argument you make. Again, thanks.

    Peace to you.

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