[log in to unmask] wrote:
> Thanks for your thoughts Doug.
> I'm curious that you think I need to separate the community from the
> activity. That is, in fact, an aspect of my research that I've
> struggled to make sense of. In many ways, what I've seen suggests
> that the inkshedding activity is intricately intertwined with becoming
> a member of the community.
Good point, Miriam. I didn't really mean that the community can be
totally separated from the practice (although that is whatI said). I
meant more that the community shouldn't be completely identified by the
practice. Inkshedding is important to the community, but I don't think
that the community would go away or even change radically if we decided
one day not to do it at the conference any more. Communities morph over
time as their members change and times change, and I think what holds
Inkshed together as a community is a common interest in language and
learning from a Canadian perspective plus the indy feel of a conference
not connected to a big gathering (eg CATTW and the Congress).
That being said, there's more to Inkshedding than a purely symbolic
secret handshake, as it is symbolic of a set of attitudes to text,
discourse and students that goes well beyond the Inkshed community but
is particularly shared by that community: that is, text as interactive
doing of some kind.
On another note: I had a very interesting note from Betsy pointing out
the apparant contradictions between my comments to this thread ("It just
doesn't work for me") and my article after the Inkshed 18 conference
(http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/nletta01/brent.htm) in which I wax very
eloquent about Inkshedding, freewriting, etc. She very graciously posed
this question off-list but I'm ok with dealing with my own
contradictions so I thought I would reply on-list. I think the
difference is between two senses of Inkshedding.
In my recent post I was referring to the "pure" form of Inkshedding,
probably an unfortunate choice of terms especially when undefined. By
that I meant what we usually do at the conference, ie freewrite for a
bit, put them in a pile, reply and mark up each others', and then pick
up published results a little later. I don't do this in my classes and
I find it a tad tedious at the conference, although I do appreciate its
role in underlining the breaking away from the default mode of
conferencing (40-minute papers read hurriedly in 20 minutes and then
What I was referring to in my Inkshed article (I think) is the broader
sense of inkshedding referred to by Russ in his recent post. This
means, generally, almost everything you do with text except the extremes
of (a) a bit of lame oral discussion in which the teacher fishes for the
right answer, and (b) essays written to impress the teacher, who is the
only one who will, however unwillingly, read it. Freewrites,
semi-freewrites, ungraded assignments, peer review, on-line postings,
and any number of strategies fill this position. I use them all in
varying amounts depending on what I'm teaching and what I'm trying to do
Anyway, thanks for your prompt, Betsy, and thanks for starting this
thread, Miriam. It's always good for a group to stop and take stock
once in a whiie.
> I don't think the numbers are actually down in terms of the number of
> people registered on the listserve. If anything, they are probably
> quite high in comparison to the early years (anyone out there know any
> actual numbers?) I suspect that part of the speculation about low
> numbers was the small turnout at Gimli.
> Again, thanks.
> Quoting Doug Brent <[log in to unmask]>:
>> 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 discussion.
>> 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 might be.
>> 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
> 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