3 Day Special Focus Event: Testimony and Education (October 2014: Montreal, Canada)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Rob Fisher, Inter-disciplinary.Net

3 Day Special Focus Event: Testimony and Education

Friday 17th October 2014 – Sunday 19th October 2014
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Call for Participation

This 3-day special focus event aims to examine the evolving genres and emerging contexts of testimonial production. Broadly understood, testimony is an autobiographical narrative that presents evidence of first-person accounts of human rights abuses, violence and war, and life under conditions of social oppression. It is a genre that continues to thrive and evolve in the twenty-first century and one that encompasses a diversity of expression or representation from oral to written as well as nonfictional to fictional.

The focus of this meeting will be on developing and exploring themes and ideas surrounding testimony in relation to education, critical pedagogy and civic and community engagement. Within this scope of Testimony and Pedagogy presenters may choose to engage with issues concerning social awareness and the creation of safe spaces for social justice and equity in their communities. we particularly welcome and encourage a variety of participants from both academic and non-academic backgrounds, such as scholars, artists, writers, professionals working in non-profit, social services (i.e. immigration and refugee services), to name a few. Questions to be addressed can include the following: in what ways are testimonies being told and shared? What forms of public participation are being created to facilitate a wider social engagement in education? How is participatory research being used, by whom, and to what end?

Some items that would be of interest for this first meeting in Montreal, Canada could involve the exploration of social justice programs implemented into the Canadian curriculum at elementary and secondary schools (i.e. Me to We Program, mandatory volunteer hours), the (not so) hidden secrets in Canadian history, especially in the cases of the treatment of First Nations peoples (i.e. reservations, residential schools, missing Aboriginal women, etc.), black history and slavery, migrant workers, etc.

We are committed to the view that it is through interdisciplinarity that a just and fair examination can be made of the impact and contributions of testimonial production within the cultures of redress and transnational justice processes for both the producers of testimony and their audience. This call for proposals asks for consideration of testimony in terms of its trajectories into questions dealing with memory, trauma, truth, and/or witness engagement.

Three focus areas in particular are being sought:

Focus 1: Testimony and/as Pedagogy
-Political/Social awareness and activism
-Methodological approaches/uses of testimony
-How to speak, how to tell; how to listen, how to hear

Focus 2: Testimony and Engaging the Public
- Community outreach and collaboration
-The act(s) of bearing witness
-Testimony and public space: art galleries, museums, document centres

Focus 3: Testimony in Action – Blending Theories and Practices
-Production, reception and beyond
-Multi-modalities of testimony

Proposals for panels and alternative forms of presentation are strongly encouraged on the above and related topics.

What to Send:
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 11th July 2014. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday 16th May 2014. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: T&E 1 Proposal Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs :
Cristina Santos, Adriana Spahr, Tracy Crowe Morey: ssc@inter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher: tested1@inter-disciplinary.net

All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). We anticipate establishing a specific publishing series dealing with testimony, along with a possible journal.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.