Written by Becca Meyer
Never having been to a conference like this, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or if I’d even like to present at one but I ended up walking away with some cool ideas to research for next year’s conference. Somewhat unintentionally, each panel I went to had a similar theme: inclusion, identity, and where a writing center fits within each of those. I went into each session with an open mind and took each one I attended as an opportunity to apply new ideas to how I view inclusion and identity from a personal standpoint as well as how I can implement those ideas as a consultant.
There were two presentations in particular that really got me thinking were Writing Centers and Disclosure: Accommodating Mental Health Characteristics Through Therapeutic Writing by some consultants from Ohio State and if a brown girl speaks in the writing center, does she really make a sound?- on the daily reality of having our authority questioned and how we heal by Raquel, Shana, and Marie from our very own writing center.
Something I liked about the former of the presentations was their suggestion to include a therapeutic writing room in the writing center. This would be a space for anyone to come in and journal or draw or just decompress between classes on a long day. I find it important to have a space like this because, for someone like me whose surrounding physical environment has a profound impact on thoughts and feelings, it can be hard to get in the right space to write. The latter of the presentations resonated with me from a personal standpoint. In a round table discussion, we talked about instances of negative interactions simply due to skin color and gender. Being new to The Writing Center this semester, I haven’t yet encountered any discriminatory situations so it hadn’t really occurred to me that some clients might come in with a racist or superior attitude because I look different than them. We ended up having a great dialogue about how to handle clients or really anyone who challenges the spirit of inclusion and community in the writing center and how to be supportive of our colleagues who do face instances of discrimination.