Welcome to the Website
of the special international conference on Writing in the Knowledge Society
organized by the Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing
in collaboration with our partners:
"Writing in the Knowledge
Society" is a multidisciplinary international conference that examines
the link between writing and knowledge making in academic, workplace,
and public settings to derive research, pedagogical, and policy implications
for the study and teaching of writing in the knowledge society.
Join us from May 28-30,
2006, at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences to share,
discuss, and reflect on the link between writing and knowledge and on
the role and impact of writing in the knowledge society.
of the Conference
The main objective
of this special international and multidisciplinary conference on “Writing
in the Knowledge Society” is to facilitate the exchange of scholarship
and research on the role of writing, discourse, and communication in academic
and non-academic (workplace and public) settings in the emerging knowledge
society. In particular, the conference addresses these research concerns:
What is the link between writing and knowledge? How is this link articulated
in academic and non-academic settings, and especially in increasingly
digital environments? How, in Catherine Schryer’s (2005) words, do researchers
and teachers of writing articulate their logic(s) of practice in these
contexts? To address these questions, the conference facilitates the exchange
of the most recent scholarship and derives the policy implications for
the study and teaching of writing in the knowledge society. In pursuing
these objectives, the conference has the overall goal of advancing the
study and teaching of writing in both academic and non-academic settings
in Canada and internationally.
"Writing in the Knowledge Society"?
In the knowledge society,
the link between writing and knowledge becomes a pressing research concern
for a number of reasons. First, much of the value in a knowledge society—more
than 75%--is created not through the processing of materials, but through
the generation and sharing of knowledge (Brandt, 2005). Second, as Deborah
Brandt (2005) notes, it is largely through writing and communication that
knowledge is created, codified, shared, revised, contested, used, or enacted.
Regardless of the profession or organization, workplace professionals
use writing in order to generate ideas, to structure and shape their thoughts,
to argue for or contest knowledge claims, to collaboratively create and
share knowledge, propose and coordinate projects and business ventures,
assess their feasibility, solve problems, and take action. Similarly,
in academic contexts, disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge is
created, shared, and advanced largely through writing and communication.
As Ken Hyland (2004) notes, “what academics principally do is write: they
publish articles, book reviews, conference papers and research notes;
they communicate with colleagues by email, reprint requests, and referee
evaluations” (p. 3) —and increasingly they do so through digital technologies
(WIDE Research Centre Collective, 2005).
In the knowledge society,
then, discursive practices—writing and communication—become central to
knowledge creation and sharing. In essence, they form a large part of
the epistemological infrastructure in a knowledge society. Without attention
to writing and discourse as knowledge-making practices, a knowledge society
will not be able to thrive and compete in an increasingly global knowledge
economy. However, despite some progress in the last few years, the study
and teaching of writing in academic and non-academic settings are often
still absent from university curricula and receive little systematic attention
in university and national policy agendas. Yet, if the role of writing
and discourse in the knowledge society is not systematically addressed,
Canadian businesses, communities, and individuals will find it difficult
to compete in a global knowledge economy.