The Documentarians project began as a way to solve a problem of conference participation. In 2020, in anticipation of the March meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Julie, then-program Chair of the conference, created, with the help of CCCC Research Assistant Bree Straayer, and collaborator Bump Halbritter,  the role of the Documentarian. This was a form of participation in the conference that would earn those who signed up for the work a place on the conference program, for the purposes of professional visibility and securing financial support (from Documentarians’ home institutions). Conference-goers who signed up to be Documentarians in 2020 would agree to document their experiences of the 2020 conference by means of daily surveys, responses to which could then serve as the potential material for a narrative  (a “Documentarian Tale”) to submitted for publication as a story of professional life and disciplinary participation. 

When the 2020 Conference was suddenly canceled as the Covid-19 pandemic became a clear threat to public health, Julie, Bree, and Bump decided to continue with the Documentarian project, distributing daily surveys to those who had signed up to serve in that role–surveys that would now document, instead of conference participation, daily work routines against the backdrop of home life, family expectations, and professional obligations. Those Tales are what constitute the content of the Recollections from an Uncommon Time. A subset of the Tales appears in the SWR collection of Recollections; and they, along with the rest, are included here. Some of the Tales appear with a reflective narrative (written from a perspective one year following the original 2020 Tale). In 2021 and 2022, the Documentarian project continued–the Tales generated from Documentarian’s documented experience of the CCCC 2021 and 2022 Virtual Conventions, Recollections from our (Virtual) Common Place: 2021-2022 Documentarian Tales will have a home here, as well. We hope to extend the Documentarian project into 2023, and beyond, when the CCCC Conference will, after a long hiatus, be once again held in person.

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Who are Documentarians?

Our Mission

The Documentarians project aims to surface diverse stories of professional lives, work routines, writing practices, and human conditions of those who work in Writing Studies and related fields.

Our Vision

Our vision for the Documentarian Project has two dimensions: 1) it offers an alternative, inclusive model of knowledge production that makes use of community-building practices such as shared experiences of documentation and reflective writing; and 2) it introduces a means to circulate diverse stories that can help the field move toward new understandings of what is shared and not shared, in order to imagine humane and inclusive professional spaces, gatherings, and practices.  

Graphic of a boy journaling

Print Collection: Recollections From an Uncommon Time

Print Collection: Recollections From an Uncommon Time

A collection of essays and personal narratives about living, writing, teaching, and learning in higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are real stories from the field of writing and rhetoric, as told by the stories of individuals working within it.

This particular collection of essays was occasioned first by the Conference on College Composition & Communication (CCCC) 2020 Conference, and then, later, by the cancellation of it. In its original conception, it was intended to document a conference experience; in its current expression, it has become a means for Documentarians to share a common experience in this uncommon time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This volume is a collection of accounts of the shared experience of disruption in our work lives–which, as it turns out, also teaches us how deeply the terms of our work are implicated in our experiences of home, family, and everyday routines.

Book cover of Recollections from an uncommon time