Call for Blog Carnival Contributions: Makerspaces and Writing Practices

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*Note: There’s still time to participate! The deadline for proposals is extended to February 12, 2016.*

Over the last decade, the maker movement has gained significant traction in higher education. Originating in the tech industry, the maker movement invites individuals to create tools and technologies in a “do-it-yourself” fashion. From 3-D printing to metalworking and robotics, makers tend to employ a variety of tools to innovate. While makerspaces are typically considered an engineering enterprise, increasingly, scholars in rhetoric and composition have been interested in the intersections between writing and the tools, technologies, and processes of “making” (Sheridan, Shipka, Craig, Prins). Multimodal composition, for example, deliberately engages students in thinking about their writing not just as blocks of text, but also as work that engages readers visually and aurally. A maker philosophy does similar work, yet encourages even greater engagement with the processes of production than even necessarily with the final product itself. Some spaces have already started to engage from this perspective – multiliteracy centers like the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity often look more like makerspaces than traditional writing centers, for example – but there’s still more room for conversation about how making and writing intersect.

This blog carnival seeks to explore how a culture of making, crafting, innovating, and creating may be brought to composition classrooms, particularly in higher education. We are interested in how and where making practices get encouraged, what kinds of making practices have helped composition students see valuable connections between innovation and composition, and what the implications are of bringing makerculture – often associated with neoliberal capital and start-up culture – to the university.

Topics discussed in these pieces may include:

  • Descriptions of successful maker spaces and how they were facilitated
  • How makerspaces inform collaborative workspace design including writing and multiliteracies centers
  • The intersection of spatial rhetorics into a discussion of makerspaces
  • The types of tools found in maker spaces and how students/engineers navigate learning to use such tools
  • Connections between crafting and writing
  • Assessing maker practices
  • Encouraging collaboration among writing students and engineers in maker spaces
  • How working in makerspaces may impact understandings of audience and purpose
  • The implications of makerspace work for the politics of higher education
  • How makerspaces alter, illuminate, or deepen the writing process for students

If you’re interested in contributing to this blog carnival, please send a short (100 word or less) proposal for your post to drcfellows@umich.edu. We will be accepting and publishing posts throughout February and March 2016, so please send your descriptions as soon as possible but no later than January 30, 2016. The deadline has been extended! Submit proposals by February 12. Full blog posts will be due approximately two weeks after your 100 word proposal is accepted.

For more information, please contact: the Sweetland DRC fellows (drcfellows@umich.edu).

About Author(s)

Jenae Cohn is a PhD candidate in English and Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies at UC Davis. Her research explores how materialities of reading and writing technologies affect established and emerging writers' perceptions of reading and writing experiences. She works in her university's WAC program as a graduate writing fellow and also serves as a HASTAC Scholar. She blogs irregularly at www.jenaecohn.net and to get herself writing, she lights candles and dons the fuzziest of socks.

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