Frida Buhre

1st International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW)

The 1st International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW) is an international workshop for emerging scholars and PhD students in rhetoric that is facilitated by internationally renowned scholars. The theme of the workshop, "Crossing Traditions: Reimagining the Political," seeks to engage with questions of how various traditions of rhetorical theory meet and merge within global rhetorical practices, and how these crossings can change and develop the concept of the political. The goals of the IRW are: 1. To jointly develop research-in-progress and thus further our understanding of political practices in a global context and the various rhetorical traditions used to understand these practices, 2. To create spaces for intellectual collaboration around questions of international relevance for the field of rhetoric, across universities and researchers globally, 3. To provide unique professional development and networking opportunities for graduate students and emerging scholars. The format consists of: a three-day workshop with an opening keynote address on each day; faculty discussion panels on topics relevant to the theme; and breakout sessions in which PhD student participants review and discuss drafts of ongoing research with faculty. It will be held on a biannual basis with rotating host institutions, where the first will be hosted by Uppsala University between the 17th and the 19th of August 2016.

Summary
In the first International Rhetoric Workshop (IRW), emerging scholars and PhD students met for a three-day long workshop between 17 and 19 of August 2016, at the Department of Literature, Uppsala University.
At IRW 2016, 49 researchers participated from 19 countries, among others Argentina, Ghana, Iran, China, Croatia, Norway, South Africa, South Korea, and USA. Out of these, 10 were invited well-renowned scholars and 39 were PhD students and emerging scholars, accepted through a double-blind peer-review process. The purpose of IRW was to offer an internationally oriented alternative to the traditional conference format, with a focus on research development and discussions around certain areas of interest.

Purpose and scientific relevance
The theme for the workshop, "Crossing Traditions: Reimagining the Political", sought to address questions of how different traditions within rhetorical theory are connected with global rhetorical practices, and how these border-crossing practices can reshape and develop our understanding of the political. The workshop aimed at: 1. Develop research in progress together so that the field of rhetorical scholarship can gain a better understanding of political practices in global contexts, 2. Create a global infrastructure for rhetorical research environments as well as for individual scholars around questions of an international character, 3. Offer possibilities for professional development and network opportunities for PhD students and emerging scholars.

Results
- 23 participants answered an online evaluation of IRW. The respondents were very enthusiastic about the unique setup and they all expressed hopes of a continuation of IRW with gatherings every second year.
- The IRW concept will continue and the next host institution will be University of Cape Town, South Africa. Seven institutions, in five different countries, in three different continents, have expressed interest in hosting future IRWs.
- The relatively strong participation from the African continent has led the rhetoric discipline at Uppsala University to draw up plans for strategic collaboration with the growing field of rhetoric studies in Africa, including student exchanges and joint research projects. Specific projects have been initiated for spring 2017.
- The established network between Northwestern University, USA, and Uppsala University has been strengthened and continues to develop.

The Planning Committee's assessment is that IRW has contributed to the internationalization of the field of rhetoric globally, and has laid the grounds for future research networks that can address global political challenges. Rhetorical scholarship has previously had a strong geographically structured field formation, but participants at IRW attest to new contact networks being formed between previously distanced fields. Because the support was directed to emerging scholars, these new contacts networks will hopefully have long-term effects.