Building Community and Coalitions through Liberatory Pedagogies in Technical Communication
The ATTW 2024 conference will take place virtually on June 10-12, 2024.
As an organization committed to social justice, at a time when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and anti-racist efforts are under attack via book bans, anti-critical race theory bills, and through the defunding of public education, ATTW recognizes the impact of liberatory pedagogical practices that centralize community and coalitions. These concepts, if they are to be realized, require work from all of our community members. In particular, liberatory pedagogical practice asks community members to rethink, re-envision, and reimagine our roles as educators and scholars. This means interrogating our curricula and reflexively considering how our shared values show up in our programs, as well as acknowledging and addressing the relationality of our work. bell hooks (1994) pushes us to transgress and resist neoliberal, capitalist ideals of education and instead make liberation a collective educational goal. Further, building strong communities and coalitions requires community members to understand the sociopolitical nature of our work and seek ways to redress injustices and inequities through advocacy, accountability, and action. All of these factors are important in technical communication classrooms, where we can shape the future of the field through community and coalition with our students, collaborators, and programs. As hooks (1994) reminds us, the classroom is always, already a communal space (p. 8).
With these ideals in mind, for this year’s conference, we invite technical communication teachers, scholars, students, researchers, and practitioners to deeply engage with hooks’ (1994) conceptualizations of transgressive teaching, engaged pedagogy, and education as a liberatory practice, as outlined in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. We draw together these concepts and interrogate our justice-oriented approaches to pedagogies and our commitments to community and collective action. hooks (1994) asserts that community is an act of resistance, and collective resistance has led to community building in technical communication studies. Moreover, Walton, Moore, and Jones (2019) evidence that technical communicators have the agency and skill to innovate forms of community building and coalitions that can lead toward positive change.
Our organization and conference embraced innovation in 2020 and remains online to acknowledge ongoing pandemics, increase accessibility across our field, and reduce environmental, public health, and financial impacts of location-based academic meetings. However, we aim to continue innovating ways to connect and build the community and coalitions essential to the future of our field. Centralizing accessibility for the most vulnerable members of our communities and acknowledging the importance of strong coalitions for those at the margins, we seek ways to connect with our students and develop strategies for grasping injustice “at the root” (Davis, 2016). As such, we return to the root and origin purpose of our association–community and teaching–and we ask:
- How can we create and sustain community in our technical and professional communication undergraduate and graduate programs and curricula?
- How can we better support our undergraduate and graduate students–especially those who are marginalized and multiply marginalized–as they enter into our programs, classes, and academic organizations?
- In what ways can we center liberatory education as we reimagine our curricula and provide opportunities for students in undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs?
- What are models of mentorship that centralize care, accountability, and liberation–and what do those look like in practice?
- How do we identify, define, and develop educational opportunities that are liberatory and/or transgressive in nature? How can we transform pedagogy approaches in technical and professional communication?
- What have we learned about DEI and anti-racist initiatives in our field, and how can we protect and support these initiatives in relation to our research, service, and pedagogy?
- How do we remain connected both to our students, our communities, and to the needs of technical communication industries?
- How do we develop technical and professional communication pedagogies and mentoring practices that connect our communities through effective design, user experiences, writing, and collaboration?
- What do community and connection mean in contemporary technical and professional communication contexts?
- How can we build coalitions with and among our students?
For the 2024 ATTW Virtual Conference, we welcome innovative assignments, frameworks, and concepts that illustrate how technical communication pedagogies can be liberatory in nature and foster community and coalitions in contemporary contexts. To encourage dialogue and mentoring for and alongside graduate student presenters, we invite proposals for 6-8-minute “lightning talks” that focus on a technical and professional communication assignment, concept, or framework.
Your brief proposal (approximately 350 words) should:
- 1) state the assignment, concept, or framework that you will introduce;
- 2) explain why that assignment, concept, or framework is relevant to the technical communication community; and
- 3) list 3-4 takeaways that the audience may learn from your presentation.
We strongly encourage collaborative proposals, and will give priority to proposals that include students, contingent faculty, and community or industry partners
Please submit your proposals via email to email@example.com by March 18, 2024. Acceptances will be sent out by the end of April.
Please direct your inquiries to conference co-chairs Josie Walwema, Natasha Jones, and Laura Gonzales (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Davis, A. Y. (2016). Freedom is a constant struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the foundations of a movement. Haymarket Books.
hooks, b. (1994) Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge.
Walton, R., Moore, K. R. & Jones, N. N. (2019). Technical communication after the social justice turn: Building coalitions for action. Routledge.