Reimagining Writing Centre Practices: A South African Perspective
Edited by Avasha Rambiritch and Laura Drennan

As we take the first small steps in our journey to transforming our writing centres, we carry with us the burden of the past, and the future of our students. For what is a writing centre, if not a place crafted from the mistakes of yesterday, and the dreams of tomorrow?

This book is a celebration of practices; for reimagined, sustainable practices open up the possibility of embracing diversity, and embodies the writing centre as a global village. It paves the way for discussions that acknowledge alternate and multiple forms of knowledge and knowledge production, a space welcoming a widely diverse and international student body, the proverbial melting pot – a colourful tapestry of tongues, histories and nationalities!

In light of the changing face and internationalisation of our student body and their concomitant needs, this book attempts to foreground both the strides made in the field, as well as the important questions and debates confronting writing centre practitioners in the South African higher education arena. The latter demands that we review and reimagine the support we currently provide. Reimaging, however, forces us to wrestle with the challenges that are inherent in work of this nature and to be vocal about the difficult questions that must be asked and answered if we want to provide socially just solutions to our students’ writing challenges. The onset of Covid-19 also imposed on our daily practices and required a hasty re-evaluation of our service provision.

The aim of this volume is to further conversations and research on the notion of the internationalisation of writing centres and the necessity to focus on the key issues of multilingualism, discipline-based writing, social justice, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as specialised consultant/tutor training. Writing centres at South African universities have established themselves as fundamental to the support and development of our students. Thus, the time is ripe for us as writing centre practitioners in the South African context to continue writing our own writing centre narrative, to grapple with context-specific issues and questions, and to provide context-specific answers and solutions that speak to the lived realities of our students. We hope to achieve this through this book.

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