ATESEA holds workshop for writers

ATESEA conducted the Writers’ Workshop on October 28-31, 2019 at Trinity Theological College, Singapore. The workshop was intended to enhance the knowledge and skills of faculty on writing academic papers; to encourage faculty to publish their academic writings; and to create a pool of writers in Asia.

Dr. Simon Chan, editor-in-chief of the Asia Journal of Theology, was invited to present the common problems he encountered as editor of the said journal. He identified the following weaknesses in the articles submitted to him for review: lack of original ideas, a rehash of old issues without any fresh insights, undeveloped, incoherent arguments, uncritical use of sources and a lack of in-depth focus.

Three panelists were also invited to share the challenges and potentials in writing academic papers. The panelists were Dr. Besly Messakh of Jakarta Theological Seminary in Indonesia, Dr. Solomon Opehtoo of Karen Baptist Theological Seminary in Myanmar,  and Dr. Mona Lisa Siacor of the College of Theology, Central Philippine University in the Philippines.

However, it is with sadness to note that Dr. Besly Messakh passed away on November 29. He died of heart attack according to the information the office received from Jakarta Theological Seminary.

One of the highlights of the workshop was the series of presentations conducted by Dr. Mary O’Shan Overton, Director of the Center for Writing & Learning Support at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She presented some insights on the construction of an article through the following topics:

  • Writing Open-Hearted Theology for Audiences away from Home: Mobility & Integrity in the Theological Discourse
  • Theological Writing from a Rhetorical Perspective: The Rhetorical Triangle & the Analysis of Theological Texts
  • Practicing Curiosity & Discovery: Critical Analytical Readings of Texts & Contexts for Stronger Theological Writing
  • Keeping It Focused: Functional Paragraph Construction In Light of Your Thesis
  • The Relationship of Content & Form: From Working Thesis to Essay
  • They Say/I Say: Taking a Seat at the Table & Engaging with Your Sources
  • The Eschatological Dimensions of Writing as Spiritual Practice: Rhetorical Skills and the Theological Imagination

Below were some of the impressions and recommendations of the participants to ATESEA at the end of the workshop:

  • This has been an extremely helpful workshop on academic writing but it would be good if another workshop on popular writing can be arranged.
  • It would be helpful to have seasoned writers as mentors who are willing to commit to walk with new writers.
  • Perhaps a group of English editors can be set up to help polish or improve our written work.
  • It will help promote writing if scholarships can be provided for those who want to write, and their work will be submitted as articles to the ATESEA journal.
  • Partnerships can be established to encourage and welcome faculties from other schools to write academic articles in other institutions under ATESEA. Support in the form of accommodation, meals and library usage (and maybe conversations with relevant faculty who are experts in that particular field) will be much appreciated.
  • Arrange Writers Symposium.
  • It would be good to have Writers’ Workshop as part of the break out session in ATESEA General Assemblies.

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