Archer holds annual ‘Literature & …’ Conference, includes ‘impressive’ presentations


Photo credit: Nelly Rouzroch

Head of School Elizabeth English addresses the audience at Archer’s annual Literature & Conference. The event took place in the library on Friday, March 3. This year’s event included a record number of outside visitors and attendees.

Kanye West. Colonization. Postmodernism. Horror films. These are only a few of the wide range of topics that were discussed at Archer’s 11th annual Literature & … Conference last week, which took place on campus in the Tia Palermo Library.

Each year, the conference invites students across Los Angeles to share their original work, and the presentations include everything from analytical essays to creative pieces to performances. All of the participants’ work is inspired by literature and its connection to another medium — some disciplines include history, film, pop culture, science and philosophy.

According to Archer’s website, “The academic conference challenges students to make connections, question preconceptions, and engage in purposeful dialogue about literature and its relevance to the larger world.”

Six Archer students participated in the symposium, while there were 25 presenters from other private schools in Los Angeles. There were speakers from Crossroads, Loyola, Windward, Milken, Episcopal School of LA, Flintridge Prep, Buckley, Marymount and Polytechnic.

Emma Bradforth, a student from Polytechnic, presented a synthesis essay that focused on “Heart of Darkness” and its connection to historical irony and colonization. 

Through the conference, students can start to realize that their work has greater value than simply a grade and a greater readership than only their teacher.”

— English teacher and Department Chair Brian Wogensen

“It was exciting to share my essay that I’ve been working on for a long time with a wider audience,” she said. “I had a great experience.”

This year, Archer seniors Zoe Webb-Mack and Isabel Adler organized the event.

“Organizing Lit & was a whirlwind, but it was so much fun,” Adler said.

Webb-Mack echoed Adler’s sentiments, noting that reading hundreds of submissions was challenging to accomplish in such a short amount of time, but going over each piece helped them arrange the conference.

“I think the breadth of the work presented was great, and the panels were well-organized,” Webb-Mack said.

Adler and Webb-Mack worked alongside English teacher and Department Chair Brian Wogensen to select the pieces for the conference. This year, over 200 essays and creative pieces were submitted.

Ten schools were represented at the event, and one of the conference’s goals is to get more public schools involved in the day. Literature & ran all day from 8:20 a.m. to 3 p.m., and many Archer students came to listen to the various panels.

“It was amazing to hear what other schools were talking about in addition to Archer students. I think at Archer, we have a very specific focus and hearing different perspectives was great,” Gwen Strasberg ’19, who attended one of the panels, said. “I was really impressed by all of the presenters.”

Wogensen also highlighted the significance of Archer students attending the conference.

“The notion that younger students can see the work that another student has done for a class manifest into something more— something that is shared, something that has an authentic audience, is fantastic,” he said. “The conference this year was outstanding.”

To view the archived videos from the event, click here. 

Correction Statement March 14 2017, 9:40 am: The original version of the article stated that 2017 was the first time that students have moderated some of the panels. This error has been corrected by deleting the previous statement in the article. Students have moderated panels in past years.