The aim of the conference was to offer a space for working collaborations in the fields of writing centre work and writing pedagogies. Participants were primarily from European universities and writing centres but some delegates travelled from as far afield as the United States, Australia and South Africa.
Ms Dowse, the academic support co-ordinator at the CEA, presented a paper entitled ‘Conversations’ with postgraduate writers: understanding the role of the peer tutor. The paper, based on her continuing research into academic research writing, explored the role of the peer tutor, investigating the various models of peer tutoring and their applicability at graduate level through a range of peer tutoring opportunities such as one-on-one tutoring, group tutoring, collaborative tutoring and finally, online tutoring.
Ms Dowse also had the opportunity to interact with other writing practitioners including Dilek Tokay of the Centre for Individual and Academic Development at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey. Tokay has been instrumental in setting up writing centres in universities in Istanbul as well as being a key role player in founding and developing the European Writing Centers Association. In 2010, Dilek Tokay was the recipient of the IWCA Muriel Harris Award for her sustained dedication to the European Writing Centers Association.
Keynote speakers included freelance writer and speaker, Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo, an annual internet-based creative writing project which challenges participants to write 50 000 words of a new novel between 1 and 30 November and Dr Sarah Haas, a teaching fellow at the University of Ghent in Belgium who presented her work with PhD academic writing workshops where she attempts to develop self-directed writers who take control of their writing process.
European universities are seeing an increasing number of writing centres dedicated to postgraduate students and Ms Dowse’s recommendations of providing a home, a workspace, a social space as well as a pedagogical space in which to develop and support academic research writing at postgraduate level, was of interest to those who attended the session.