Although not many activities in WSIG due to a number of challenges (i.e. structure and funding) there were two major developments that occurred in 2016. This report serves to account for the Writing Centre SIG activities (Consultants’ Day and Symposium) in 2016.
Academic Development Symposium
The Writing Centres participated in the regional symposium at UNISA Western Cape Directorate. The Academic Development Symposium was held on 16-17 September 2016. At least three institutional Writing Centre’s were present namely: Stellenbosch, UWC, UNISA and CPUT. UWC was represented by a person in student development, not necessarily working in the Writing Centre.
The Independent Writing Centre Consultant, Fatima Slemming attended and presented as well. The Symposium was concluded with the discussion on the need to revive the Southern African Writing Centre Association. The meeting resolved that the discussions and consolidation of the plans will be deliberated further at the HELTASA SIG.
Worth noting, as part of the resolutions, was the deliberations on linking up with and supporting TVET colleges on the intended esthtablishment of writing centres. The WSIG representatives will take the idea into the SIG to discuss the possibility of integrating TVET colleges in the Southern African Writing Centre Association.
Stellenbosch University hosted a Consultant’s Day on 22 July 2016 at Stias in Stellenbosch. What was fantastic about the intervention was that it was graced by the presence of international colleagues from National University of Lesotho. We shared best practices.
Representative from national university were: North West University (Potchestroom and Mafikeng campuses), Central University of Technology, Wits (Braaimfontein and Witwatersrand campuses), UCT (Science Faculty and Writing Centre), Walter Sisulu, CPUT, UWC and an Independent Writing Consultant.
The event was unique in the sense that it was a combination of genres and multimodal presentation techniques: poetry, role play, theoretical and empirical papers. We also held a group discussion where we discussed the role of Writing Centres in the national transformation discourse. A number of interesting ideas were generated which were instrumental in determining our identity and contributions both practically (daily duties) and theoretically (research activities).
Invitation for another university to host the Consultants’ Day in 2017 is open. The universities wishing to host the next event can duly contact Dr Rose Richards at Stellenbosch University.
Despite the upheavals in 2016 the Writing Centre fraternity in South Africa has taken significant strides to keep its activities going. The Writing Centre Acting Convenors would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you” to the fraternity for a work well done. Effectively, we wish to encourage all the members of the Writing Centre fraternity to work diligently to theorise and research the contributions of the Writing Centre toward the transformational agenda currently underway. We are therefore looking forward to fruitful deliberations in the WSIG at ICED/HELTASA 2016.