Writing Center Journal


This article is adapted from a keynote address at the July 2022 European Writing Centers Association (EWCA) conference, sponsored by the University of Graz in Austria, whose theme focused on writing centers as spaces of empowerment. Designed for peer tutors as well as writing center faculty, this talk first celebrates some examples of writing centers empowering student writers and tutors. It then attempts to articulate what scientific spectacles allow us to see when we look deeper into these examples of empowerment: some of the big ideas, the abstract principles, the constellation of expertise and commitments that underlie our contemporary writing center work. That expertise and those commitments range from what’s familiar in our field (writing expertise, care for writers and tutors, multilingualism, dialogic interaction) to what’s less familiar (the power of interdisciplinary teams and generalists, connectivism). The talk concludes by urging writing centers to use their expertise and commitments to forge partnerships and engage in some activism—in order to empower more writers, make centers and writing more inclusive, and influence teaching and learning at their schools and universities more broadly.