BIPOC Faculty: Making Room for Emancipatory (Summer) Writing

Workshop Overview

OFE is pleased to offer a facilitated summer-writing workshop series open to all BIPOC faculty and professional staff whose identities and positionality in the university have led to “invisible labor” (June, Matthew, others), often practical and emotionally strenuous. Each of the four workshop sessions takes inspiration from the acclaimed anthology: Spirit, Space & Survival: African American Women in (White) Academe, by editors Joy James and Ruth Farmer, with a foreword by Angela Davis. Collectively, the editors impart, “we write to retain our voices, to name and identify ourselves as independent…thinkers and actors” (Introduction). We also write to maintain our jobs as professors, administrators, and staff within institutions in which we may feel overwhelmed, muted, or part of a distracting hypervisibility. This month-long series of “meetups” encourages us to “work towards…the act of ‘making'” (19) by returning to long-neglected conference papers, manuscripts, articles, scripts, poems, and data sources, with urgent, fearless inspiration. 

The summer-writing workshop series is facilitated by Pamela Booker, MFA, an Interdisciplinary writing artist, OFE Teaching Consultant, and Montclair Writing Faculty. She served as Goddard College Graduate Institute (GGI) Visiting Scholar at the invitation of Ruth Farmer, anthology co-editor and former GGI director. 

  • We will meet on Wednesdays, June 8-29th, 11 to 12:30, by Zoom (click here to sign up).
  • Participants also have the opportunity to schedule individual meetings with the facilitator to discuss writing goals

How it Works

Each workshop provides dedicated time to review projects currently in progress or under consideration for individual and group feedback that borrows from the (CRP) Critical Response Process and leaves “the maker eager and motivated to get back to work.” We welcome scholarly, creative, and nonfiction texts, long-neglected conference papers, manuscripts, articles, and data research. Participants also have the opportunity to schedule individual meetings with the facilitator to consult on writing goals, intentions, revisions, and other support as needed. 

In addition, each workshop begins with a featured topic of discussion engendered by the anthology’s themes and other more recent writings as blueprints for “redefining ourselves” within the academy while also identifying strategies for flourishing. 

Workshop Sessions

Session #1: Spirit, Space, Survival: Building Tools that Emancipate

June 8, 2022, 11:00am – 12:30pm

“Who am I in the academy, and what do I do?” (83) serves as the gateway question for unpacking the challenges and rewards of the pathways we navigate. We also consider how community is central to the writing practice and what has shifted in the era of Covid. As academics, how do we find room for the spiritual or “nonscientific,” and how do we validate intuited observations and perceptions to galvanize our work and morale?  

Session #2: First, You Write, then You Rewrite

June 15, 2022, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Cultivating knowledge aimed at writing from a place of theory and practice, both in our local context and preparing our texts for public forums, is critical to the writerly process. Co-editor Joy James emboldens us to “Dance with the thoughts of the living thinker, and you dance with community” (37-38) for notions of “Space” that can be both emancipatory and transforming. We will give special attention to establishing discipline-specific writing habits and privileging diasporic and cultural idioms.

Session #3: Publish Because Perish is Not an Option

June 22, 2022, 11:00am – 12:30pm

How do writing texts and compiling analyses that reflect contested ways of seeing the world, intertwined with resistance and joy, both excite our scholarly and creative impulses and cause dread? How do our contexts and subject choices directly impact the audience we hope to transform? Further, the ways in which we locate ourselves and our work at these essential cultural and intellectual intersections are critical to reception and maybe even future employment. To demystify the publishing process, we will examine research-based and creative texts, digital media, literary publishers, journals, and other discipline-specific resources. 

Session #4: Planning Ahead for Emergent Work

June 29, 2022, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Now that we’ve toiled over the last weeks on meaningful research and creative projects, this final workshop is an opportunity to create “takeaway goals” for sustaining motivation and focus to continue and finish work. Our ability to more compassionately and skillfully “balance the personal and the professional” (179) enables us to move past survival to thriving productively in spaces within the academy and beyond. We will celebrate closing readings in the company of our generous “active listeners.”


Updated 07.21.22 SR