Archer prepares for annual ‘Literature &…’ Conference


Photo credit: Anika Bhavnani

A presenter at the 2016 conference speaks at a panel. Last year’s conference was held in the library and was open to students throughout the day.

Archer’s annual Literature &… Conference gathers students across Los Angeles to discuss literature and share their ideas.

Seniors Isabel Adler and Zoe Webb-Mack are the student heads of the conference this year. Together with the assistance of English teacher and Department Chair Brian Wogensen, they are planning the conference by taking submissions, reading them and collectively picking the pieces that will work best.

“It’s not always about what’s the ‘best essay;’ it’s about what essays work together and which people would be interesting to have [on] a panel together,” Adler said.

Students from all over Los Angeles can submit their work by Feb. 3, and the actual conference will be held on March 3 from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

According to the official conference materials, “Archer’s annual Literature &… Conference is a unique opportunity for students around Los Angeles to come together and share their passion for literature in a collegial and intellectually stimulating environment.”

“One of the beautiful things about it is that we get 100-150 submissions from a dozen other schools, and it gives our students a chance to listen to and engage with all these other students, boys and girls, from all these other schools that come to our campus and present their great literary work, so there’s this nice exchange between our own school and all these other schools,” Wogensen said.

Adler and Webb-Mack meet regularly with Wogensen to read and discuss the submissions they have received. They have reviewed approximately 45 essays and will read all submissions before coming to any final decisions. Once the final essays are chosen, they will be grouped into panels based on similar topics.

The 2017 ‘Literature &…’ poster. Submissions are due by Feb. 3, presenters will be announced on Feb. 15, and the conference is on March 3.

“We want to encourage more different types of essays rather than just typical analytical ones,” Adler said. “That’s where the ‘and’ comes in.”

“We want to have diversity of presentations and of speakers, so that’s another thing we try to balance,” Webb-Mack said.

“I think Archer does a really good job about having diversity within our English classes and representing different opinions within discussions, but I do feel like I definitely have an Archer mindset,” Webb-Mack said. “I feel like there’s a certain [type of] ‘Archer English,’ so it’s nice to go outside and see how other people analyze texts, and you kind of weirdly get a flavor for the school.”

Both girls said they are excited to continue reading the submissions and getting ready for the conference.

“I think sometimes we can get caught up in the bubble of the world at Archer and it’s nice to have this day where we bring in the outside world into our world,” Wogensen said.

“At the end of the day, I think everyone that takes part in it feels like they were just part of a great, collective exchange of ideas, which is exactly what you want to have happen in a learning environment.”