Saturday, August 4, 2018

The First National Writing Project Midwest Conference

NWP Midwest Conference Check-In at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Union Center
After spending the night in the student dorms and having breakfast at the Gordon Dining Center, I walked over to South Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to check in at the FIRST EVER National Writing Project Midwest Conference. As I approached the building, I saw the Director of the National Writing Project, Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, who greeted me warmly. We talked about writing retreats as we walked in and ran into Mark Dziedzic, the Director of the Madison Writing Project, who masterminded the new Midwest Conference.

Mark kicked off the Conference with our writing project tradition of inviting everyone to write together. The prompt was simple--to write about our roots and branches as writers. This theme was reflected in the conference program, made from repurposed file folders and with ample room to write in. 

Next, Elyse welcomed the group, announcing the activities leading up to the 50th anniversary of the National Writing Project--the 50 for 50 theme that explores the question of what can be done to emphasize that the National Writing Project Network is owned by all 50 states where there are sites. 

Next up was Troy Hicks, who presented the most information-filled keynote I've ever heard. His slides are available here. Be sure to check it out! Troy said, "Students need to be thinking about who they are as digital writers." Troy blended concepts from the College, Career, and Community Writers Program (C3WP) with his keynote on digital writing, encouraging us to pose these questions: "What counts as evidence? For whom? In what context?" He also shared some amazing digital tools for citing and reviewing one's online presence--links are in his presentation.

-Kelly Sassi