Hi, all.  

(I’m sending this message to both the CASLL and CASDW lists, in the hope of reaching all former Inkshedders.  Apologies for duplications!)

The announcement Roger Graves recently sent out re the latest book from Inkshed Publications makes this a timely message . . . 

This is the second year in a row without an Inkshed conference.  None of our efforts to reboot and reinvigorate the conference in the years 2012 through 2015, though sometimes moderately successful as one-off meetings, have generated the collective commitment needed to truly revive Inkshed and keep it going.  Taking stock of this situation, the CASLL Board of Directors has decided that it’s finally time to face the music and accept that Inkshed and its parent association aren’t coming back.  (Re the association, it effectively no longer exists: for several years now there have been no paid-up members apart from some of us on the Board and Margaret Procter, who manages the Inkshed/CASLL website.)  

No doubt there are a number of reasons for this situation: one is the growth of CWCA in recent years, based on its great success in bringing together the Canadian Writing Centre community; another is the way that CASDW has become a big tent association for Canadian writing studies and writing pedagogy in general since its metamorphosis from CATTW.  Most pertinent of all may be the fact that a great many (almost all?) of Inkshed’s founding generation of members have retired in recent years: the core of the community that once sustained the conference and its parent association just isn’t there any more.  

I’m sure many of us will feel some sadness about this, remembering how significant Inkshed has been in our professional lives.  However, although the Board has decided that it’s time to shut CASLL down, this isn’t an absolute ending.  The Board proposes to transfer the remaining funds in the CASLL bank account, roughly $7000.00, to Inkshed Publications.  Unlike the Inkshed conference, Inkshed publications is very much alive: besides the recently published Cross-Border Networks in Writing Studies, it has two more books coming out in the near future, following which it will still have sufficient funds to produce perhaps one more.  The infusion of the funds from CASLL will make possible up to four more books over the next few years, following which new funding will be needed, perhaps from CASDW and CWCA.  According to its Constitution, the purpose of CASLL is "to provide a forum and common context for discussion, collaboration, and reflective inquiry in discourse and pedagogy in the areas of writing, reading (including the reading of literature), rhetoric, and language.”  We on the CASLL Board feel that devoting the association’s remaining funds to supporting Inkshed Publications, the one and only Canadian imprint devoted to work in our field, is the best way to ensure that CASLL’s dissolution is in keeping with its fundamental purpose.   

Regarding the association's online presence: it's currently (and rather awkwardly) in two cyber-places, the Inkshed newletter/blog site that Margaret maintains (http://www.inkshed.ca/blog/and the older Inkshed site (http://inkshed.ca/), now essentially an archive of material from the association’s earlier years.  Ideally all the association’s records should be brought together on one site, either under the aegis of CASDW or as part of an independent Inkshed Publications site (which would be effectively a repurposed version of the Inkshed newsletter site, where Inkshed Publications currently has its online presence).  The key thing is that the association’s archive needs to be maintained by an active organization to ensure its long-term viability.  This will be on the agenda for discussion at the CASDW AGM at Congress.  As for the CASLL list serve, once the association has been dissolved it would be shut down.  

I should say something regarding the constitutional aspects of dissolving CASLL.  The one explicit mention of dissolution procedures in the CASLL constitution is a clause that says "In case of dissolution of the association, the profits and liabilities of the association will be shared equally among all of the paid-up current voting members.”  The Board’s plan to transfer the association’s remaining funds to Inskhed Publications is in effect an agreement among the paid-up current voting members to use their “shares” that way, rather than simply cashing out (!!).  

As for the decision to dissolve the association, while there is no specified procedure for this, the constitution does say that "The Board of Directors of the association shall have the responsibility of carrying out the management of the association. This responsibility should be carried out with the knowledge and cooperation of the membership.”  In our view, in the absence of any specific clause re dissolution, it clearly comes under “management of the association.”  As for "the knowledge and cooperation of the membership," as I’ve already mentioned, at present the membership is effectively non-existent, leaving the Board on its own.  However, in keeping with the spirit of the constitution, the Board agreed that this notice should be sent out: we hope it will reach all former CASLL members and prompt some discussion, from which we further hope will emerge general agreement in support of the decision we’ve taken.  

If there is strong opposition to the Board's decision, those opposed would need to take a number of steps to give their opposition effect, starting with paying fees in order to become current CASLL members and thus be entitled to vote on the Board’s plan.  If a sudden flood of membership payments materializes, obviously we’ll have to think again!  However, we sincerely hope that this will not happen — that everyone will agree that it’s best to bid CASLL and Inkshed a fond farewell and let them rest in peace.  

Best wishes,

On behalf of the CASLL Board of Directors (membership as of 2016, when we met and made this decision): Clare Bermingham, Kim Garwood, J. Barbara Rose, and Dena Taylor

W. Brock MacDonald
Director, Academic Writing Centre
Woodsworth College, University of Toronto
119 St. George Street
Toronto, ON   M5S-1A9
(416) 978-0246
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