2015 CCCC Convention My Convention

Session Details

Handcrafted Rhetorics: DIY and the Public Power of Made Things

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Session Code: MW.02
Type of Session: Workshop Morning
Level: All
Abstract: Theorize and make DIY crafts, plan public circulation of your work, and build and share assignments leveraging DIY.
Description: In this half-day interactive workshop, we will work with participants to consider the potential that do-it-yourself (DIY) histories, practices, ethics, and publics have for rhetoric and composition pedagogies. We begin with the premise that DIY frameworks can expand our definition of writing to what Ratto and Boler call critical making, a process of creating things -- zines, buttons, yarnbombs, Twitterbots -- that critique and provide an alternative to received assumptions about what counts as legitimate knowledge production in the 21st century. Given this framework, we will work with participants to consider how such making is inherently public and the extent to which it shifts the politics of our classes from content to form; that is, from an emphasis on the social-epistemic to wider scenes of multiliterate, communicative practices. In this sense, we also want to consider the extent to which the range of modalities and styles we ask our students to compose with is rhetorically relevant in the digital age, when “attention is the commodity in short supply” (Lanham xi). That is, we want to ask, how do we make things that make a difference? That disrupt? That defamiliarize? Finally, we want to consider the ways DIY embraces the risks of rhetorical agency through an appetite for self-learning and experimentation--to bumble through new processes or forms or scenes only to see what’s possible in the process and in so doing, imagine a form of participatory democracy where making things constitutes political, civic action.

After an hour of discussion and theorizing, we will hold a “Makers Faire,” where participants will rotate through three different crafting stations in 90 minutes (or 30 minutes each). Options include working with textiles (yarnbombing and subversive cross-stitch), paper (zines and trading cards), and digital media (DIY websites and Twitter bots). During this time, participants will learn techniques for making DIY crafts and discuss how such work functions in relationship to -- and as -- public rhetoric.

The final hour of the workshop considers how to bring critical crafting and DIY practices into (and beyond) the classroom. Participants will leave the workshop with: at least three craft projects, information about all of the processes presented, encouragement to circulate their public rhetoric (within conference spaces, on Twitter feed, at an optional post-workshop meetup, etc.), and with new ideas about they might use DIY craft to enhance their teaching of composition and public rhetorics.

-To promote an awareness of DIY and its relevance to our changing understandings of what a text is, and to reveal why any new understanding of composition must acknowledge how making and writing are inseparably linked practices;
-To show how DIY is both a critique of and an alternative to, received assumptions about what counts as legitimate publication;
-To reveal why DIY production serves a democratic function--in our classrooms and in our communities.

9:00-10:00 Introduction to workshop
Overview of the morning, brief introductions, and theoretical and applied contexts outlined for ensuing crafting sessions.

10-11:30am: Makers Faire
Participants will rotate through three DIY sessions ranging from yarnbombing to zines to websites. Each station will be facilitated by two to three speakers. At each station, participants will receive guides to supplement instruction and information about circulating their work (conference events, Twitter hashtags, etc.), that can help keep us informed and involved in DIY throughout the rest of the conference.
 10:00-10:30: Session #1
 10:30-11:00: Session #2
 11:00-11:30: Session #3

11:30-11:45: Pedagogy Discussion
Speakers share assignments and pedagogical practices where they’ve incorporated craft and/or DIY

11:45-12:15: Pedagogy Brainstorm
In small groups, participants brainstorm about how they might apply these ideas and activities into their assignments. One speaker will facilitate each small group.

12:15-12:30: Sharing and discussing
In the large group, participants from each of the small groups will share their ideas about applying the DIY practices they engaged into their classroom practices. This might take the form of modifying current projects they assign or by beginning to develop new activities, assignments, units, or courses.



  • Wednesday 3/18 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM in Marriott, Marriott, Grand Ballroom B, Level Two

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