Working from a theoretical framework deeply informed by New Literacy Studies, activity theory, and what Paula Matttieu calls "the public turn" in composition studies (Tactics of Hope, 2005), this video presentation describes a new, deeply integrated model for writing programs, writing centers, and libraries. The video begins with a brief history of our writing center (established in 1977) as a "Responsive Writing Center"—responding to students both pedagogically (North 1984; Harris 1995; Brooks 1991) and politically (Grimm, 1996; 1999; Boquet 1999; Cooper 1994; Lunsford 1991). Building on Linda Adler-Kassner's recent work, especially The Activist WPA: Changing Stories about Writing and Writers, we argue for a writing center that has as a key objective "activism" more than "responsiveness." An "Activist Writing Center" serves as both research hub and campaign headquarters for Adler-Kassner's "story changing" activities.
Of course this new writing center is also a Responsive Writing Center (politically responsive, pedagogically responsive), but a key mission of this center is its activist role--changing stories about writing and writers by collaborating (deliberately and systematically) with the library, technology services, and campus writing programs (first-year writing, writing across the curriculum programs) in order to collect, tag, and archive new, previously untold or simply under-told stories about writing and writers. We are doing this work in conjunction with the Council for Writing Program Administrators Network for Media Action initiative and the National Conversation on Writing (established 2006), as we see this as a concrete project through which The Activist Writing Center can be conceptualized and enacted.