Call for Proposals

Writing Through the Lifespan is a collaboration of nearly 40 scholars around the world who are committed to sharing related and complementary research studies focused on key conceptual and developmental aspects of writing across one’s life (lifespanwriting.org). We invite proposals for our second conference, “Expanding, Augmenting, & Illustrating Lifespan Writing Research,” to be held July 9-11, 2020 in Athens, Ohio, USA. 

The Writing Through the Lifespan collaboration recently put forward a definition of lifespan writing research as part of an effort to more clearly define this research tradition and, by extension, strengthen and expand the lifespan writing research happening around the globe. 

Lifespan Writing Research examines acts of inscribed meaning-making, the products of it, and the multiple dimensions of human activity that relate to it in order to build accounts of whether and how writers and writing may change throughout the duration and breadth of the lifespan. (Writing Through the Lifespan Collaboration, 2019)

With this working definition established, how might we go about augmenting and expanding lifespan writing research? What does writing research with a lifespan perspective look like? For our second conference, we thus seek proposals for presentations, panels, workshops, or works-in-progress that address the following questions:

  • What does lifespan writing research look like? What examples illustrate our work—particularly the diversity of disciplines and methods?

  • What are appropriate and useful methods in lifespan writing research?

  • What new methods might augment lifespan writing research ?

  • How can we “lifespan-ize” existing research projects by incorporating a lifespan lens?

  • How might your research project expand our definition of lifespan writing research?

  • How might we engage in data sharing and collaboration across individual research projects in order to deepen our understanding of lifespan writing?

  • What best practices should we follow in disseminating research across borders, whether those borders are disciplinary, national, or methodological?

  • Or share any lifespan writing research findings.

Lifespan writing research requires diverse expertise from a wide variety of disciplines.  All researchers who investigate writing within and across any population and who adopt (or seek to adopt) a lifespan perspective in their research are encouraged to submit proposals. Thus the conference welcomes writing research on any portion of the lifespan and from any discipline. For examples of the diversity of previous presentations, please see the program of our inaugural conference at https://www.lifespanwriting.org/2018-conference.


Proposal Submission 

The submission deadline is November 15, 2019 at www.lifespanwriting.org. The proposal submission system will be available here beginning August 15, 2019. We seek proposals for individual research presentations, panel presentations, work-in-progress presentations or workshops. Each participant may propose an Individual Research Presentation or as part of a Panel Presentation. All participants are also eligible to submit a Work-in-Progress proposal and/or a Workshop proposal. All presenters and affiliations must be entered at time of submission. Presenters will have the opportunity to submit their work for possible inclusion in an edited collection on lifespan writing.

Individual Research Presentations (300 words)

This category is for oral presentations on individual research projects. Individual research presentations will be grouped thematically to specific topics or by broad conference theme by conference committee members during the review process. Individual research presentations allow for researchers to propose new ideas grounded in the literature or to report on findings from either in-progress or completed research projects. Presenters will have 20 minutes (15 minutes speaking with 5 minutes for questions).

Panel Presentations (850 words including 100 for a session description)

This category allows multiple researchers to examine one topic or question from a variety of perspectives or from an in-depth perspective. Panel presentations should be submitted by a team of researchers (3+) and should be focused on a specific linking theme or topic. Submissions should include a brief statement concerning how the panel session will be structured (i.e., three separate presentations, presentations of different lengths, two presentations with a discussant, etc.). Panels will have 75 minutes (60 minutes for all speakers with 15 minutes for questions).

Work-in-Progress Presentations (300 words)

This category is for projects in early stages that would benefit from discussion and insights from colleagues. Work-in-progress presentations will be done in roundtable formats grouped thematically to allow for discussion. Proposals should include sufficient information about the project and identify questions that the researcher is seeking feedback or further insights about. Presenters may share empirical findings in this format as well, and we encourage discussions around preliminary findings that might spark future research trajectories. Presenters will have 25 minutes (10 minutes speaking with 15 minutes for discussion).

Workshops (300 words)

A workshop teaches participants a new skill related to lifespan writing research. Possibilities include teaching a new method for data collection, sharing strategies for building collaborative data sets or coordinating multi-institutional IRB protocols, introducing new tools for data analysis, etc. Workshop proposals must be clearly hands-on, involve substantial audience participation, and include clear learning outcomes for participants. 

The proposal submission system is now open! Please submit your proposals here.  

Researchers interested learning more about the Inaugural Writing through the Lifespan conference, which was held May 31-June 2, 2018, are welcome to check out the inaugural CFP, as well as the program. A report on the conference is also available. Questions can be directed to lifespanwriting@gmail.com.

2020 Conference Committee

Ryan Dippre, University of Maine (Co-Chair)

Talinn Phillips, Ohio University (Co-Chair)

Ashley Fox, Wright State University

Jeffrey Naftzinger, Trinity College

Yogesh Sinha, Sohar University