The Teaching Life Writing Project
About the Project
Led by Dr. Orly Lael Netzer and Dr. Amanda Spallacci, this research project investigates how we teach life narratives. Building on existing conversations about life writing and pedagogy (Teaching Life Writing Texts 2008; Teaching Lives 2018) and the virtual Teaching Life Writing Conference (December 2020) organized with Dr. Julie Rak, our project is the first of its kind to present and construct an open-access shared resource on teaching life writing. We thus aim to make answers and materials accessible to all those interested in teaching personal stories — as objects of study, as creative or critical practice, as a methodological approach, as a site of ethical inquiry, or as means to mobilize social justice activism.
Our method involves a scaffolded collaborative approach that includes an academic conference (step 1), a series of collaborative workshops leading to a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal (step 2), and a resource development summit that will contribute to an Open Educational Resource (step 3).
Hosted virtually by the University of Alberta, and organized by Dr. Amanda Spallacci, Dr. Orly Lael Netzer, and Dr. Julie Rak — the Teaching Life Writing Conference brought together scholars from around the world to consider current approaches, challenges, and opportunities related to life writing and pedagogy.
Following the Teaching Life Writing Conference, in keeping with our approach to pedagogy as a process rather than a product, and in continuation with our commitment to ongoing and collaborative development of research and teaching practices, the organizing team is hosting a series of workshops that investigate four key topics related to life writing pedagogy.
We are working on defining and designing an open-source repository of research material and teaching resources by and for established and emerging scholars, archivists, curators, museum guides, and instructors of community writing classes around the world.