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CASLL-L  June 2005

CASLL-L June 2005

Subject:

Re: concurrent sessions

From:

Rhonda Schuller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CASLL/Inkshed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 Jun 2005 11:30:20 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (93 lines)

I'm following the discussion with interest, thinking. I am often in the category of think first, write later people.
A few thoughts...
I share the assessment that much of the value of Inkshedding is the discussion/writing prompted by community experience. To wander very far into concurrent anything reduces the community-at-large experience, as others have noted.
I enjoy the virtual discussion that the conferences prompt. Maybe it is the time of year, or the nature of presenters and deadlines, but I see more post-event discussion than pre-event. Or is irt that pre-event is mostly the details of who needs to be where, and when. The discussion prompted by the conference itself centres around ideas that are related to uses of language and literacy- considerations of writers, texts, contexts, readers....
I recall an Inkshed (was in Fredericton, Inkshed 11, in which I was grouped with others pre-conference according to a topic or interest. My group was asked to collaboratively bring our ideas together over the weekend of the conference. Those in the groups may remember their experiences, for better or for worse. That format (one version of a box) was invaluable for me in the way it established a small community of people whose goal was to share ideas and work through ideologies toward a common interest (more or less). I'm thinking of this now because, on a small scale, the format resembled the conference Russ cites. This experience allowed me to arrive on-site with wheels already turning toward ideas others were bringing and mine in relation to theirs. Any other ways of provoking (exciting) the same pre-sponse would be good.
Rhonda

>>> [log in to unmask] 05/27/05 6:04 pm >>>
I think we need to get out of the box, here.  One of the original purposes
of inkshedding at a conference was to find a better alternative to the usual
conference experience.  But from the beginning I've thought about the
Inkshed Working Conference itself as an opportunity to rethink the way we
come together to share ideas -- and by "share" I don't mean the usual "I
tell you and you go away with my idea"; I mean discuss, learn from and learn
with.

One of the things I never anticipated was how valuable the inksheds as
documents would be to presenters -- but it's clear from this discussion that
they've valued by lots of people for those reasons.  My view was (is,
really) that they were most valuable as a medium for exchanges among the
audience and the presenter, exactly like a question/discussion session, but
deeper and more reflective.  I still think that's their main function (when
we can carry it off). I used to be troubled when I read inksheds that were
conceived as "feedback" and addressed the presenter directly. I'd thought of
inksheds as public discourse. More recently I've come to think of them as --
at least potentially -- individual talk in public (like a question to the
presenter in a conventional session: it's couched as though it were
one-to-one discourse, but we all know it's for everybody in the room. Or a
TV talk show). New functions for old entities (Charles Darwin, call your
office).

The question we're dealing with here, then, seems to me broader than "do we
need to have fewer presentations?" or "should we have some concurrent
sessions?" or even "how often can we inkshed?"  I'd argue it's more like
this: "How can we maximize the extent to which the ideas, reports. takes,
findings, provocations that people bring to inkshed have the greatest
possibility of engaging everyone in serious, thoughtful discussion, and thus
benefitting both the person bringing the ideas and the rest of us?"

Inkshedding's traditionally been a powerful tool for that.  But there are
other considerations, other structures, other ways to use writing.

One of my favorites conference structures, for example, which we've never
tried at an Inkshed conference, is the structured panel discussion based on
pre-read papers.  My first (only) encounter with this was at a conference in
Germany in the late eighties, and they worked it like this: we all sat
around a huge table (there were nearly 50 of us).  We had all read -- or at
least seriously skimmed -- all the papers to be dealt with in a session.  At
appropriate points in the discussion, moderators invited the authors of the
papers to remind us what they'd said, in five minutes or less. My memory is
that a completely unprepared-for moment, Gebhardt Rusch, one of the
co-chairs of the session on literary reading, said, "Ah, Perhaps Vipond and
Hunt's research is relevant here.  Russ?"

It was an amazing experience.  Unlike any conference I'd attended.  It could
have used inkshedding, too . . .

Another possibility is to take posters seriously. They're taken seriously at
scientific conferences. I remember a poster by Vipond and me that I
presented at an international congress of psychology in Australia in 1988:
some of the best discussion of my work I can remember occurred in front of
that 4X8 panel.

There are other possibilities.  As Marcy noted, at Inkshed 14 we built time
into the program -- lots of it -- for people actually to _read_
presentations that were listed on the program, so that we could share our
experience of them (and so that the presenters could be "on the program" in
both the technical, getting-funding sense, and also in the real, let's talk
seriously about this sense).

We need to think  . . . well, I already said it: outside the box.

-- Russ

                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  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
              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  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
              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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