Friday, August 19, 2016

Planning The Oakridge School's 2017 Inter-Institutional Colloquium on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Entry 2, August 18, 2016

On January 30, 2017, The Oakridge School will be hosting a colloquium on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, giving high school students the chance to present papers, works of art,  films, and more on one of British literature's most thrilling and horrifying novels. 

After much discussion with teachers in the DFW community, the consensus was clear: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein should be the focus for the 2017 Metroplex Colloquium, to be hosted by The Oakridge School on January 30, 2017. I can't think of a better choice considering the fact that we're approaching the novel's bicentennial! Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein in 1816, and it was published for the first time in 1818. We look forward to welcoming students and faculty from various schools to join us in a celebratory conversation about one of literature's most influential novels.

We'll be reading the significantly revised version of the novel that was published many years later in 1831. At Oakridge, we're using the Penguin Classics Deluxe Ed., which looks like this:

After deciding upon a specific text, I invited faculty members from different schools in the surrounding area to join me on a google doc to plan and write collaboratively a call for papers for the 2017 Frankenstein Colloquium. I want to thank the following people for contributing to that endeavor: Jennifer Bonner at The Oakridge School, Joel Garza at Greenhill School, Christopher Schmidt at Parish Episcopal School, Chris Renshaw at The Oakridge School, and Jenny Fast at Founders Classical Academy.

As a result of everyone's creative input and suggestions, this year's colloquium will offer some excellent options for paper prompts as well as opportunities for 2D Art, Film, and MakerSpace submissions. The theme for January's colloquium is "Frankenstein 200 Years Later" and the prompts invite students to write about topics that range from literary and historical concerns to ones of a more scientific and philosophical nature. All the prompts are relevant to our experiences 200 years later in the 21st century, so go here to read more about the 2017 Frankenstein Colloquium's Call for Student Papers.

This year, we're excited to expand the invitation for student work by offering 2 new additions for the upcoming colloquium: (1) a Call for Student 2D Art & Film and (2) a Call for Student MakerSpace Designs & Products. To find out more about opportunities to showcase art or film inspired by Shelley's novel go here. And go here to learn more about the call for student MakerSpace creations (that are inspired by one of literature's greatest and most terrifying creations, namely Frankenstein's "monster").

The submission form for all student work can be found here, and all submissions must be turned in by Nov. 22, 2016.

So What Happens Next As We Wait For The Arrival of January 30, 2017?

Once the Call for Student Work was completed, I put together a blogspot as well as an official twitter account for the colloquium:

The idea behind the blog is to provide a space where students and faculty from various campuses can come together to collaborate, share ideas, and respond to each other's work online while reading and studying Shelley's text this fall well before we meet in January 2017. In previous years, Joel Garza of Greenhill School and Deborah Moreland formerly of Hockaday School have joined me and my classes on other blogs (go here and here) to study collaboratively the texts we've chosen for previous colloquia. I think Joel and Deborah would agree that the collaborations on the blogs added so much to the overall experiences, so I encourage readers (both remote and local) to think about joining us this year online. It's worth the risk and adventure; just go here to see what I mean.

At Oakridge, we'll be reading the novel during the month of September, so most of our activity on the blog will happen then. However, other schools will be reading the text later, so activity will continue on the blog as we move into the fall and winter seasons. We'd love for you to get on the site this semester to join our conversations or to just leave a comment.

A Call for Faculty Readers and Evaluators to Help Select Submissions for the 2017 Frankenstein Colloquium

Again, submissions are due Nov. 22, 2016, meaning I need to start putting together the committee of readers and evaluators who will determine which submissions should be accepted to be showcased at the colloquium on Monday, January 30, 2017. I plan to enlist readers and evaluators from various campuses, which we've done in the previous years as well. The other task at hand is to determine what other kind of special programming do we want to include for the colloquium in January: Keynote speaker? Special panel sessions? Creative writing workshops? Theatre workshop with 1 of the many play renditions? There's so many ideas to consider, which makes the task of putting the schedule together an exciting and rewarding challenge. Please stay in tune to learn more about plans for the schedule and program! 

If you have ideas for programs or special workshops, OR if you want to be a reader or an evaluator of submissions, OR if you want to join our collaboration on the blog in a deeper way, please contact Jared Colley, English Chair, The Oakridge School, at or @jcolley8.

2017 Frankenstein Colloquium's calls for student work:
1. A Call for Papers
2. A Call for 2D Art & Film
3. A Call for MakerSpace Designs & Products
4. Submisstion Form for all student work (Due Nov. 22, 2016)

Contact Info.:
Jared Colley
Chair, English Department
The Oakridge School