2.1 Students Documenting Histories- by Bridget Blankley

Brilliant session about teaching life writing outside traditional creative writing classes. All the speakers, Heidi Bollinger, Sam Meekins and Clark Pomerleau, shared examples of how they had engaged their students in the process of life writing. I know that we are not meant to have favourite presenters (much like we are not meant to have favourite children but …..) However, I found Heidi’s talk on her classes in writing graphic novels particularly interesting. Having explained the range of topics covered by her students she went on demonstrate how the student’s writing/drawing could examine both the personal artistic decisions that the students had made as well as critical analyses of published illustrated life writing. Comparing this approach with that of the other two presenters who have made me think seriously about how I manage my community classes, including the need encourage students to think about not only what they write, but also about who will read it, and how public their personal stories will become. Although these presentations were not focused on community education, I have come away with new ideas and new questions. I will be approaching my community writing classes with a new outlook, and, you never know, I might even be brave enough to try to include at least a single session on graphic novels or on writing the mundane in my classes.

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