NCPTW 2021: Subversion & Subterfuge

Proposal Deadline: 5/28 Location: Online!


Conference Dates: Thursday, November 11, 2021 to Sunday, November 14, 2021

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has necessitated a shift in our conceptualization of writing center work. Especially as writing centers have reoriented themselves to online synchronous and asynchronous tutoring in 2020. Writing center practitioners have had to adapt and transform longstanding practices to better fit our new paradigm. Ongoing, too, is our reckoning with racism and white supremacy, a cultural pandemic, which has resulted in the loss of Black lives and the increased visibility of right-wing insurgents across the country.

Recent writing center publications are grappling with this transformation and with doing writing center work during a pandemic. The Peer Review highlights how writing centers are being asked to justify their work as never before. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal focuses on the need for inclusion in the writing center, re-interrogating the various ghosts that continue to haunt the regulatory work of the writing center, especially when it comes to antiracism. The WLN digital edited collection Wellness and Care in Writing Center Work, brings attention to wellness practices (or a lack of them) in the writing center, and the Fall 2020 issue of The Dangling Modifier focuses on reshaping the writing center, positing, ‘This contemporary environment for writing centers has challenged tutors to rethink everything they’ve learned while simultaneously bringing to light previously hidden inequalities and outdated practices of the center.”

The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) seeks to extend these lines of thinking, with a special interest in how tutors subvert writing center training or best practices. What forms of subterfuge do tutors deploy in order to complete their work in a pandemic? How might tutors use subversive complicity as a guiding philosophy for engaging in antiracist tutoring practice? What other ‘workarounds” do they create to do their jobs more in a way that aligns with their own tutoring philosophies? While subversion and subterfuge may traditionally be thought of as undesirable traits, the writing center’s historical positionality as marginal gives subversive tactics a special role, one that is often necessary for survival. As the pandemics, both cultural and biological, continue to rage, what tactics will writing centers need to survive and thrive in the world that comes next?

Possible Inquiries:

For the NCPTW 2021 conference, we seek proposals that think through or even invite subversion and subterfuge into the writing center space. Possible inquiries include:

•           How do tutors work around administrative directives in order to do their jobs in a way they feel more comfortable or more just?

•           How do writing centers work around restrictive institutional policies? How do writing centers (tutors, directors, staffs as a whole) work to challenge or sidestep institutional barriers to racial, linguistic, and social justice?

•           What have writing center tutors and administrators learned during the pandemic and racial upheavals of 2020? What lessons guide us as we transition completely or partially to face-to-face services in the fall?

•           What creative tactics have tutors developed to handle the transition to remote services, (e.g., with tutoring practices, technology glitches, etc.)? What adjustments or

adaptations have tutors made that they want to keep?

•           What new possibilities have been created by the transition to remote services? What initiatives have tutors developed to support their peers and/or coworkers during this time?

•           How have writing centers handled offering in-person services during the pandemic? What acts of subversion or creativity have been necessary during this time?

•           How have writing centers responded to or subverted institutional mandates arising from the COVID-19 pandemic? How has the pandemic impacted centers beyond the

transition to remote services (budgeting, staffing, scheduling, culture, morale)?

•           How have centers worked to support student tutors during the pandemic, including and beyond their role as student employees? How have centers worked to support Black tutors and students in particular?

•           How do tutors view and talk about the “work” of the writing center? How do tutors define and describe their roles, particularly as BIPOC*, first-generation, or international students?

NOTE: The chairing committee is still finalizing the conference experience and will take into account health and safety recommendations.

*Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Proposal Categories:

Individual Presentations (synchronous): a 15-20-minute presentation that will be combined into a conference panel by program chairs.

Individual Presentations (asynchronous): a 15-20-minute recorded presentation that can be played on site and on the NCPTW website.

Panel Presentations ( synchronous): Panel of closely-related talks (usually 3-4) on question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme. Panelists will have a combined 75 minutes for their presentation.

Panel Presentations (asynchronous): Panel of closely-related talks (usually 3-4) on question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme. Panelists will have a combined 75 minutes for their presentation. Asynchronous presentations will be available to view on the NCPTW website.

Roundtables (synchronous): 75-minute group discussion. Presenters offer introductory remarks and facilitate discussion on a question, topic, or issue relevant to the conference theme.

Poster Presentations (synchronous and asynchronous): organized as a remote research fair, presenters offer a visual representation of their research to discuss informally with attendees.

Workshops (synchronous): a 75-minute interactive session in which organizers facilitate engagement among participants to explore an issue, question, or theme.

Something else (synchronous, or asynchronous): concurrent sessions will be 75 minutes long; come up with something else that you can do in that time-present, perform, model, interact, etc.-and pitch your idea.

Proposal Guidelines:

Individual and Poster Presentations: 250 word proposal

Panels, Roundtables, Workshops: 500-750 words, should outline the content, goals, and takeaways of the session. Workshop and ‘something else” proposals should describe any interactive elements.

Conference Fees

  • Undergraduate students: free
  • Grad student/adjunct/paraprofessional/independent scholar: $25.00
  • Professional: $40.00

14 thoughts on “NCPTW 2021: Subversion & Subterfuge”

  1. Could you give me some information on what it would cost to enroll in the virtual conference in November 2021 and permit my staff (we have 18 tutors) access to whichever sessions they can fit into their schedule and would like to see.

    1. I found an answer for you!

      Hi, all! Please find the fees below:
      • Undergraduate students: free
      • Grad student/adjunct/paraprofessional/independent scholar: 25
      • Professional: 40

      That info is up on the NCPTW 21 site here:

      While I was able to share with the presenters, I haven’t been able to share more widely yet.


      Uncommonly yours,
      Eric Camarillo
      Director, Learning Commons
      Office of Information Technology and Learning Experience
      HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
      Executive Vice President, National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing
      Book Review Editor, The Writing Center Journal
      Pronouns: he, him, his

  2. Hello, I’m having trouble registering for the Nov 11 conference, could you help me understand the pathway? Also, do you have a schedule of talks listed on your website anywhere?

    Thanks so much!

    Christine Perrin

  3. Hey! Are you ready to register for NCPTW 2021? You better be, because here is the link: Registration price for undergraduates is $0. (Yes, $0.) Registration for graduate students, adjuncts, and independent scholars is just $25, and registration for professionals is only $40. You cannot get three days of fun, camaraderie, and intellectual stimulation anywhere else for that low a price (at least not legally). In other words, what are you waiting for? (And, yes, the conference program will be coming out soon.) Dates are November 11th to the 14th.

    1. Hi! One of my undergraduate tutors just tried to register and the registration form tried to charge her a dollar and asked for her method of payment. Is there a glitch?

        1. Hi, I am said undergraduate student struggling to register. I clicked the pay by check option and was emailed an invoice for it, but when I look at my account, it still says that I am unpaid and I am still unable to view conference details.

          P.S. It might be good for you to be aware that the emails I have been getting from the site are going to my spam folder.

          1. All the paid by check ones have to be authorized by NCPTW folks. They will do that as they see them. If you received the email registration receipt, you are registered.

  4. Could you tell me how to get the schedule of who is presenting and when? WE have some decisions to make as a writing center about what we would like to attend together. I’m registered but can’t access a schedule. At this point with everyone’s schedules we really have to make plans. Thanks!

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