All this conversation is making me miss Inkshed SO much:  where and when
is the meeting next year?


At 10:02 AM 5/27/2005, you wrote:
>I just want to say Ditto to everything Ginny just said.  And add one other
>possible non-Inksheddian sort of suggestion that we consider the
>possibility of ONE afternoon during the conference of just 2 concurrent
>sessions (that is, only 2 time periods out of the whole conference, with 2
>sessions meeting at a time)--I know we all want to hear everything and
>there is benefit in that, but we are also a diverse enough group that we do
>have some sub-groupings possible where people could choose by their needs
>or interests in that particular year.  Especially if it's a matter of
>funding for people who couldn't come otherwise.
>A few concurrent sessions make more sense to me than changing things that
>actually make the Inkshed gatherings so different from more rushed and
>pressured conferences (focused /silence/ for writing and gathering our
>thoughts at regular intervals during the day, as Ginny has described so
>eloquently, make INkshed gatherings unique in my experience--and the
>discussions at Inkshed always seemed richer than those at other conferences
>/because/ we took the time to be quiet and write before talking).  As long
>as almost all sessions are NOT concurrent, especially opening and closing
>sessions, I think the feel of the conference would remain much the same.  A
>good candidate for concurrent sessions would be precisely the research
>updates Jane was talking about--that by their very nature don't necessarily
>fit into the conference theme (people could select which research projects
>seemed most important or intriguing or connected the most with their own
>work--and we could use the inkshedding reports as a way of reading about
>what happened in the sessions we couldn't attend).  If we inkshed less
>often, then a big issue for me becomes the question "Who loses out?" on the
>gift of writing to take home that Doreen mentions, written responses that
>have been so helpful to so many of us as we continued to work on the issues
>we had presented about.
>I'm feeling that loss keenly this year myself since I was hoping so much
>for some inksheds that would help my own thinking on a  project I've been
>slowly trying to make headway on for 14 years, the Writing Skills
>Inventory.  I'll also emphasize that if we do have some poster
>presentations or copies of papers, serious time needs to be built into the
>program for studying these and for inkshedding about them.  When I agreed
>to bring my work as a poster presentation, though I was disappointed, I was
>remembering that at PEI, quite a significant chunk of time had been set
>aside for actually taking in the many fine poster presentations and
>inkshedding about them (I still remember some of them keenly--and there
>were a lot of them, not just 2).  With the conference schedule so full this
>time, people just did not have a spare moment to do additional reading and
>inkshedding about the work on display.
>I had proposed an interactive session where people would fill out the WSI
>themselves after a brief intro from me, giving some background on it and
>what it is meant to accomplish; I would have loved to be able to answer
>some questions about it on the spot in a concurrent session, even without
>everyone there, since that would have helped me see right away and clarify
>what I had failed to make clear .  Instead, I received responses from only
>3 people (who I think of as heroic--thank you!--given the claims on
>everyone's time and also the absolute necessity for us to be able to get
>outside and enjoy that gorgeous place at least a bit!). Unfortunately, what
>their responses mainly revealed was that I had not had time to explain
>clearly enough how the WSI works, what I see as its pedagogical value, and
>what the WSI attempts to measure (knowledge of terms being one thing I very
>much want to measure--so that if a student doesn't have a clue what either
>f"reewriting" or "inkshedding" are at the beginning of the course but that
>same student understands those practices quite well by the end of the
>course, that--to me--is a major accomplishment that the WSI allows me to
>record, for both me and the student).
>So, I'm casting my vote for,
>--yes, fewer presentations accepted in future (I say this even as one of
>the two poster presentation people this time round) ;
>--one afternoon of concurrent sessions (2 sessions, with 2 meeting at a
>time, so 4 in all--perhaps to always include the research updates as a
>standing category that doesn't have to fit into the conference theme);
>--more time to get outside and explore where we are (perhaps with some
>inkshedding time allowed out of doors? an assignment to return in 2 hours
>with one or two short inksheds to share about the presentations that just
>--more interactive sessions (thinking of ways to share ideas and what we're
>doing without simply reading a paper--if we're going to just /read/
>hardcopy and inkshed about it, though, I think we could do that all year
>long via email and the web; sitting around reading formal papers and
>commenting on  them just doesn't feel like a good use of our time together
>to me--though perhaps we could all have one or two things to read BEFORE we
>arrive at the conference, something we can bring an inkshed about and share
>sometime in the first 24 hours as a lead-in to a discussion?
>--renewing our commitment to inkshedding as a practice for deepening and
>enriching discussion and allowing generous amounts of time for it (and not
>as something we just do mechanically, but that we value for all the reasons
>that have been brought up on this list since the conference).  For me,
>there's something almost spiritual about the silence of us all writing and
>thinking together--I have way too little silence in my busy life,
>especially communal silence with that incredibly powerful sensation of so
>much heartfelt and smart thinking going on at the same time in one space.
>It helps me focus intensely in a way I often find difficult (and hardly
>ever am able to do at any other conferences). I would hate to lose
>that--Inkshed is the only place I experience it (except for moments when I
>am inkshedding in class with my students--but that's always a bit different
>since my students, not matter how wonderful they might be, are are not you
>SOrry for the length of this--I actually started it out just intending to
>say "Amen" to Ginny's posting.  By the way, in case anyone was wondering, I
>heard only from two other people off list that they had been very sick
>after Inkshed as well--I hope that the rest of you all stayed healthy.
>Best, Betsy
>At 08:58 AM 5/27/2005, you wrote:
>>Russ Hunt wrote:
>>>I think this is the problem, or a problem:
>>>>Do we have to be cued to inkshed? At one of the tables I was
>>>>at, some of us just wrote in response to sessions anyway, even
>>>>if not cued. Don't know what happened to them after they were
>>>>read at the table . . .
>>>There needs to be a structure around them -- it's not just
>>>writing, but agreeing on some more or less formal way in which
>>>they get read and used. Otherwise it's freewriting -- which is
>>>fine, but there's no need to structure an occasion in which
>>>people all do it.
>>>One danger, I think, is that inkshedding becomes a sort of
>>>ritual that we all do because we've always done it, and because
>>>that's the name of the conference . . . but that it stops
>>>serving the main purpose of the conference, which is (I'd argue)
>>>to explore ways in which we can make this gathering of people
>>>whose common interests include literacy and learning a more
>>>effective and rich occasion for exchanging ideas and values.
>>>-- Russ
>>>St. Thomas University
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>>I'd like to add my two cents here - but to begin I'll reiterate the
>>thanks that others have offered to Jane and her "team."  Inkshed 22 was
>>well-organized and stimulating, and the location was totally beautiful.
>>A whole lot of work went into making that happen, and I'm really
>>grateful to the organizers.
>>About "inkshedding" ....   I've only been to two Inksheds, so I don't
>>have a whole lot to base this on. I have, however, been to lots of
>>/other/ conferences, so I have plenty to compare the Inkshed concept
>>/to.  /And when I went to my first Inkshed in P.E.I. several years ago,
>>I found the practice of inkshedding to be an excellent focussing and
>>reflecting tool. It was also wonderful to be able to take away and
>>ponder the diverse written responses to my own presentation. I would
>>hate to see the inkshedding process become something rote that we do
>>mainly because we've always done it... I'd also hate to see the process
>>eliminated, or adapted into a periodic, generalized response to a number
>>of sessions.
>>To eliminate inkshedding from our conferences would be to do away with
>>the rich exhange Russ mentions, above. Yes, some of that exchange can
>>occur through discussion - as happens at other conferences (and I do
>>agree with Doug that inkshedding should not /preclude/ oral discussion).
>>But I think that the kind of meditative process that occurs in solitary,
>>reflective written response is a rare and special opportunity our
>>conferences offer us - an opportunity we seldom get otherwise, unless we
>>are students in classes that use inkshedding or disciplined individuals
>>who keep voluminous journals. I don't know about any of you, but neither
>>of those describes /my /daily circumstance. So inkshedding at these
>>conferences permits us to engage in reflection in an unusual and
>>privileged way. And obviously, the products of this process are a
>>treasure trove for the person who gets to take them home as critique of
>>his or her work....
>>But to use inkshedding as a kind of summarizing technique at two or
>>three points in the day - or to do it without a cue when one is so
>>moved, as Roger mentioned - seems problematic to me. I engaged in both
>>these kinds of writing at Inkshed 22, and both of them left me
>>dissatisified.  Doing a "group inkshed" didn't work for me for two
>>reasons. For one thing, the "common theme" according to which
>>presentations tend to get grouped  together doesn't always end up being
>>as common a theme as expected. Therefore, the two or three presentations
>>about which we might write may not invite a joint inkshed, even though
>>on paper they had sounded as though they would. Also, though, I found
>>that if I held off responding until I'd listened to a number of
>>speakers, I wasn't able to give as focussed and complete a    response
>>to the first speaker as I was to the last; my brain just wouldn't let
>>me  :-(      Inkshedding without a cue didn't work for me, either.
>>Actually, it wasn't the lack of /cue/ that fooled me up:
>>thought-provoking presentations tend to provide sufficient cue to
>>respond, as Roger suggests. But when not given silent time in which to
>>/do/ the inkshedding, I didn't like to do it. Doing so meant I wasn't
>>giving my undivided attention to the next speaker - so I just gave up
>>writing anything down, at all...
>>So for me the solution would be (perhaps unfortunately) to limit the
>>number of presentations at Inkshed conferences, even though that is also
>>a very non-Inksheddian-thing to do. Having an all-inclusive conference
>>is a commendable  goal, but something seems to need to be sacrificed,
>>here - and I'd rather have fewer presentations (even if it was mine that
>>was eliminated) than give up the very process that makes this conference
>>What a long two cents'-worth that turned out to be.
>>Ginny Ryan
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