By Isaha Cook
On February 26, 2015, a group of DLR students—Esther Wolfe, Daniel Brount, Jeff Owens, Bryce Longenberger, and Isaha Cook—traveled to Taylor University to attend the “Making Literature” conference. If I were to say that the DLR team’s efforts at the conference were epic in their nature, my exaggeration would only be a minor one. It takes a few special individuals to go from opening for a main act, to becoming the sole act in only a few productively panicked moments. While they were preparing to be followed by the conference’s keynote speaker for that night, Miho Nonaka, the team was informed that Miho was stuck in bad weather and would not make it on time. Our team members were then asked if they could stretch their fifteen-minute presentation while the conference organizers found a way to cover the loss of their keynote speaker. Of course, like academic superheroes, the members of DLR humbly agreed to give it their best.
Esther and the team decided that it would be best to proceed with the original plan and present on the Digital Literature Review’s ins and outs, current topics, and the upcoming issue for next year. Then, each team member would, on the spot, explain their own individual research projects, something that they had not planned on discussing. In this way, the team members would each get to expand the total presentation time, while also further illuminating potential forthcoming work in the DLR’s second issue, Slavery Now.
The first part of the presentation went smoothly. Esther started off by explaining her role as the lead of the Editorial team for the DLR, and laying out how the process worked for members of that team. She explained that members of the Editorial team took part in reviewing submissions, producing acceptance or denial letters, and finally slogging through the task of ensuring that each accepted article was perfect in the areas of grammar and structure. Following her, Daniel spoke about his role as the leader of the Design team. He explained the process: brainstorming, refining, and layout. Members of the Design team were responsible for the creation of advertising materials, the designing of the cover art, and the layout of the inner pages where the articles are found. He provided examples of some of the design elements they were currently working on for Slavery Now.
Lastly, the two other members of the presentation team, Bryce and Jeff, explained the responsibilities of the Publicity team and how our WordPress blog was being run to promote the issue before its release. They also went on to promote the DLR’s involvement with the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. In tandem, the two were able to clearly explain the duties that a member of the Publicity team performed: creating content for our social media, overseeing the publication of blog posts on our WordPress site, and ensuring that the advertisement materials are disseminated to the proper places.
Under the watchful gaze of instructors, students, and the conference organizers, our courageous DLR members finished the initial presentation and stretched their fifteen minutes into a glorious main event lasting nearly an hour. They explained, one after another, the various research projects related to “Slavery Now” that they had been working individually on for a semester and more. They spoke about delicate topics from how best to represent slavery issues to a modern world, to how authors can broach the sensitive subject with younger readers.
The audience members seemed to take to the personalities of our presenting members, but, more than that, they recognized the passion that Esther, Daniel, Jeff, and Bryce had for the content of this year’s DLR issue. Our team spoke with intelligence, precision, and passion, inciting the audience to pepper them with questions and positive feedback. As the DLR team left the stage, a good portion of the audience lined up to continue the discussions on a more personal basis, and I couldn’t help but wonder: “What’s in store for our release, if we can garner this much interest with improvisational efforts?” I do know that I look forward to it with great eagerness.