The Writing Studies Program's community and transnational writing projects grow out of its commitment to public engagement in its curriculum.

There is a shared sense that the program should not only teach about writing as a participatory activity, but also engage directly with the diverse communities of which it is a part, and to link the expertise of lecturers and instructors in the Writing Studies Program and other WLP graduate students to individuals and groups seeking the power and creativity of writing.


emersonWRITES is co-sponsored by the Writing Studies Program and the Office of Admissions with the aim of helping Boston public and charter high school students imagine themselves in a college setting by providing free weekend college-style creative workshops on the Emerson campus, where classes are team-taught by WLP graduate students. emersonWRITES is guided by the principle that writing is essential to intellectual engagement, self-representation, and access to opportunity.

Students choose from five or six fiction, nonfiction, and poetry courses that include the short story, science fiction, fantasy, scriptwriting, graphic novels, and other alternative forms of storytelling; memoir, the essay, journalism, and humor writing; and spoken word poetry, confessional poetry, and traditional verse forms. Twelve Saturday class meetings, 10-2, with a free pizza lunch, take place between October and February, with a culminating showcase attended by students, families, high school teachers, and Emerson faculty and staff, and the publication of selected student work in an anthology.

Visit the emersonWRITES site or their blog for more information.

Emerson Maintenance Workers Class

Co-sponsored by the Writing Studies Program and the Social Justice Collaborative, this weekly 90-minute course was designed by Tamera Marko and is co-taught with MFA graduate and Writing Studies Program instructor Eric Sepenoski. Both are fluent in Spanish and have lived in Latin America. The program was created at the request of Spanish-speaking Emerson maintenance workers, ages 24 to 64, who make up the program's core population and regularly attend classes in fall and spring semesters. The workers, who are from Central and South America, make their needs known to the teachers, who then develop English lessons suited to these needs.

Lessons are structured around vocabulary acquisition, question formation, verb conjugations, homophones, and translation. Students frequently act out scenarios such as “visiting the hospital,” “parent-teacher conferences,” “elevator conversations,” “at the registry of motor vehicles,” and “negotiating immigration issues.” Students produce a substantial amount of written work in English, composing narratives and descriptions about home life, food traditions, and cultural heritages. Some write about the discrimination they experience as a result of their accents and appearances.

Proyecto Boston-Medellin (PBM)

PBM is a transnational educational project in collaboration with students and faculty at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin. The project was founded in 2009 by Tamera Marko and Jota Samper. PBM includes the creation of a historical archive that records video histories with alternative visions of the city of Medellin and its future, exhibitions of emerging Colombian student artists at Emerson and other Boston-area colleges and universities, and writing workshops taught by Marko and Trimbur for faculty and students at the Universidad Nacionale.

PBM’s goal is to put into practice a twenty-first-century “pedagogscope,” or space for learning and teaching that crosses borders to link, both electronically and physically, faculty members and young emerging artists, architects, writers, historians, journalists, urban planners, filmmakers, literary critics, television producers, marketers, and scientists of communication in two undergraduate and graduate educational institutions in two countries: the Universidad Nacional in Medellin, Colombia and Emerson College in the United States.
Visit the PBM Class Site for more information.

Snowden International High School Writing Center: Calderwood Fellows (2008-2013)

Funded by the Calderwood Writing Initiative between 2008 and 2013, this program was administered through the Writing Studies Program with WLP graduate students tutoring as Calderwood Fellows at an inner city Boston public high school.

The Snowden International High School is an inner-city public high school that accepts students from Boston neighborhoods. The student body is predominantly African American and Latino. It is known as a safe haven in the Boston Public School system for gay and transgender students.

The Snowden Writing Center provided walk-in tutoring for students working on any writing project, collaborated with Snowden teachers by providing in-class tutoring, and conducted college-search workshops and college essay-writing workshops.