The theme for this year's conference is networks of technical communication. We increasingly live and work in a world mediated by layers of writing and other inscription that stand in for people, institutions, procedures, and decisions. Technical communication plays an important role, as an activity that solidifies and moves information into culture via various products, documents, interfaces, technologies, and practices. The information manifests, concretely, as facts, concepts, and more tangibly as roads that get designed and built, medical care that gets delivered, crops that get raised, etc., all of which play mediating roles in even broader networks of activity. In this sense, we can understand the work of technical communication in the context of networks: both those they help build and sustain and those out of which they arise.
Technical communication is also becoming more of a networked practice, as the efforts of technical communicators are distributed physically, geographically, culturally, and temporally. More people are involved in the production of technical communication, articulated together in strategic assemblages of people and technologies, connected, at least temporarily, by common interests and motivations. Maintaining these networks can be tricky business, often requiring technical communication skills of those not accustomed to practicing them. Such work also pushes on what we typically understand the content and skill base of technical communication to entail.
Given this backdrop, two questions central to this conference are:
How can we trace and understand the constructive work of technical communication through different networks?
How can we see technical communication providing the building blocks of those networks?
Answers to these questions will raise many related issues of theory, research, pedagogy, and program development.
Submissions on all topics are welcome, but we especially encourage submissions on the following: