From August 4-7, 2011, the Arts Writers Grant Program organized a convening for its grantees at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to discuss critical issues in contemporary art and the process of conceptualizing, crafting, editing, and publishing a piece of arts writing. Keynote speakers included artists, writers, curators, and scholars: Fia Backström, Marcus Boon, Melissa Lam and Aaron Levy, the Order of the Third Bird, A.L. Steiner, David Levi Strauss, Lynne Tillman, and Anne Wagner. Grantees reflected on their practices in small groups, and also gathered together for conversation in local art spaces.
Arts Writers grantees were joined by editors from journals supported by the Warhol Foundation’s Arts Writing Initiative, providing an opportunity for informal writer-editor conversations. The convening also allowed for grantees from around the world to meet each other, often for the first time, and compare their experiences writing on diverse subjects, in a variety of forms and venues. Approximately 105 writers—traveling from cities including Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, Istanbul, Los Angeles, and Vancouver—were present for the weekend’s events.