A good set of questions, although I don't have many answers. Here,
though, are my thoughts.
You need to separate the Inkshed community from the practice of
Inkshedding. Yes, Inkshedding has marked every Inkshed get-together
since day one, and it is indeed symbolic of a mindset that prizes
interactivity and collective text over straightline discourse -- unlike
other conferences in which people often talk about interactive
classrooms by delivering a 20-minute lecture followed by a couple of
ritual "questions" that don't really represent discourse. But some of
us practice Inkshedding in our classrooms and some don't. I pride
myself on a very interactive, out-of-the-box classroom, based in part on
a number of ideas I have picked up from colleagues at Inkshed. But I
seldom actually do Inkshedding in the "pure" sense of the term. It
simply doesn't work for me. I do it dutifully at Inkshed conferences
but I sometimes wish we could cut it down and leave more time for verbal
Yet I consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool Inkshedder. I don't go to
every conference, but then I don't go to every CCCC's or any other
conference either. If I go to the same conference every year I start
hearing the same ideas each time, so I give it a rest. Yet when I come
back I really feel "home."
Certainly, however, the complexion of the conference is changing. Many
of us original old farts have retired, and my old-folks' network is
shrinking. But there are always new faces. I can't swap
remember-what-happened-at-Inkshed-III stories with them, but I always
pick up new ideas.
The conference has become part old friends and part a way to invite new
people, often graduate students, into the idea that there IS a community
around writing instruction in Canada, however widely spread that
community may be. And I don't think I've seen the overall numbers at
conferences dwindling, although there may be fewer "cardcarrying"
Inkshedders who send in their $20 every year. I have no idea why that
Anyway, my two cents. I'll send a couple of cents more if things come
to me after I have ruminated.
[log in to unmask] wrote:
> Dear Inkshedders,
> As some of you may be aware, I am in the process of wrapping up my
> doctoral dissertation on inkshedding. As I write I find myself
> struggling with a small area of data that I'm not sure how to deal
> with, so I turn to you for your insights. At some level, there seems
> to be a feeling that Inkshed, as a community, has served its purpose
> and may be losing its force as an academic institution. Just by way
> of example, one inkshedding text from Gimli (which you can find both
> in Russ's last Inkshed article, and the posted inksheds from the Gimli
> conference) says:
> "I was wondering about the Inkshed community and its viability--if the
> practice of inkshedding serves the purpose of developing and
> sustaining this community of Inkshedders, is it perhaps on the wane?
> If Inkshedders themselves do not use it in their own classrooms, and
> if the number of Inkshed members is dwindling, is it perhaps time for
> Inkshedding to give way to other types of community-building practices?"
> I'm curious to know what your reactions are. Is the community on the
> wane? What is the future of the community and the activity? Is
> the activity being redefined by the immediate social writing being
> facilitated by the internet? What does it mean to be part of the
> Inkshed community, and has that identity changed over the years?
> Any ideas on this (either on or off list) would be a great help.
> To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
> [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
> write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
> For the list archives and information about the organization,
> its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
Dr. Doug Brent
Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs)
Social Sciences 110
Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
Voice: (403) 220-5458 Fax: (403) 282-6716
To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to