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2019 NWP Midwest Conference: Race, Writing, and Power

Save the Date! Friday, August 2, and Saturday, August 3, 2019 


University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (Nicholson Hall)

Accommodations at UMN residence halls and Graduate Hotel.

Submit your proposal here.

Registration details coming soon.

Download our flyer.

Call for Proposals

The National Writing Project 2019 Midwest Conference planning committee seeks proposals from educators across multiple teaching contexts (classrooms, community-based settings, artistic spaces) to teach and learn with one another about race, writing, and power. Taking up Sun Yung Shin’s (2016) call “to come together in real relationships across sometimes very difficult borders” and to be “better prepared for the conversations and changes ahead” (p. 11), we embrace this theme as less about presenting solutions and more about raising questions, creating supportive and critical spaces for tough conversations, actively listening to and witnessing one another’s ways of knowing and experiences, and generating next steps for equitable literacy education for youth in our local contexts. As Antero Garcia and Elizabeth Dutro (2018) remind us, “We need to find places to highlight how classrooms [and other sites of learning] are spaces of inclusion and oppression, are spaces that value and actively resist diverse identities, histories, and knowledges” (p. 382).

We invite proposals that explore both paradoxes and possibilities in living and learning. Join us for what we hope to be an immersive series of workshops, teaching demonstrations, performances, panel presentations, and roundtable conversations that explore what it means to teach reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the context of ongoing social inequities and uncivil discourse. We especially encourage proposals for sessions that are interdisciplinary and participatory. Proposals might consider any of the following questions or others related to the theme:

  • What roles can reading, writing, storytelling, and performance play in challenging existing structures of power and privilege, and in opening up new possibilities?
  • How do we help writers develop their voices and participate in conversations that matter to them?
  • How do we engage conversations about identity, power, and privilege without reinscribing the very structures we wish to critique or dismantle?
  • How can we create educational spaces that invite access and belonging?
  • How might we bridge the gaps between in- and out-of-school writing and learning?
  • How can we create opportunities for youth to be engaged in civic and community work (e.g. YPAR, community organizing, social action projects, maker spaces, artistic performances)?
  • How can we help students learn to read sources and research critically?
  • How can we teach students how to make well-reasoned, evidence-based arguments in an often polarized debate culture?
  • How can we forge partnerships within and across institutions in ways that are equitable and sustainable?
  • How do we care for ourselves, our fellow educators, and our students in the emotional dimensions of teaching and learning? How do we do this while holding our institutions accountable?
  • Where can we find hope and inspiration to sustain ourselves in the work of teaching, learning, and leading?


Garcia, A., & Dutro, E. (2018). Electing to heal: trauma, healing, and politics in classrooms. English Education, 50(4), 375-383.

Shin, S.Y. (Ed.). (2016). A good time for the truth: Race in Minnesota. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Session formats

Conference sessions are 75 minutes in length.

  • Workshop: In these highly interactive sessions, one or more presenters facilitate activities that encourage educators to practice, experiment, brainstorm, reflect, design, or otherwise interact together to grow and improve their practice.
  • Teaching demonstration: One or more educators model a lesson from their current teaching practice, engaging participants in the activities and reflecting on how such lessons might work in different contexts.
  • Roundtable discussion: These sessions feature 3-4 speakers and a moderator, with a discussion organized around a specific topic or question. After presenters speak, the moderator facilitates a discussion among presenters and audience members.
  • Individual presentation: 15-minute presentation on some aspect of one's teaching, research, and work in education. NOTE: Individual presentations will be grouped together by the conference planning committee and given a moderator to create a full 75-minute session.
  • Panel: A team of 2-4 educators present aspects of their teaching, research, and work in education organized around a shared topic or theme, engaging the audience in Q&A.
  • Performance: A presentation involving theater, music, reading, dance, or something else. This may also be participatory. The performance may take the entire session or may include opportunities for the audience and artist(s) to process in some way.

Proposals are due on Friday, March 1, 2019. Submit your proposal today!