Austin and the Arts

Join one of the MLA’s cultural excursions and go behind the scenes of some of Austin’s cultural gems, then return to the convention refreshed and renewed for more fascinating sessions and networking opportunities. Sign up when you register for the convention, or you can write to Michael Reilly if you have already registered.

Austin Music Scene

Go behind the scenes at one of Austin’s renowned music venues, ACL Live at the Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits, the longest- running music performance show in television history. Explore the backstage hallways, hiding spots, green rooms, sound booths, and stage, while guides recount stories and anecdotes about the theater and the legends who left their marks. Then join Scott Newton, ACL’s staff photographer for over forty years, as he fleshes out the stories behind the photographs that line the walls.

Presidential Collections

Photographs, film footage, political cartoons, posters, letters, paintings, sculptures, furniture, books and journals, and many other artifacts from Lyndon Baines Johnson’s life and presidency are on display at the LBJ Presidential Library. Join the library’s archivists for a private viewing of a selection of telephone conversations, documents, photographs, and other materials and learn about the history of the library and the resources and reference materials available. Curator Michael McDonald will provide an introduction to the museum and an overview of what to expect as you tour the exhibits. You’ll be free to explore the galleries at your own pace, and docents will be available throughout to provide assistance and additional information.

Art through the Ages

Gothic bible illustrations, paintings and drawings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and twentieth-century multimedia artworks from North, South, and Central America are represented at the Blanton Museum of Art. Join one of the museum’s educators for a private tour created just for MLA members and based on the 2016 presidential theme, Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future. The tour will include a visit to the Print Room, where specialist Kristin Holder will have a special display of pieces from the museum’s collection of works on paper that are not currently on view to the public.

Arts on Paper

Although both MLA excursions to the Harry Ransom Center are currently sold out, there is still availability on the waiting lists. The Harry Ransom Center is an internationally renowned humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas, Austin. This two-part excursion pairs a special look at highlights from the literary collections, including works from Jorge Luis Borges, J. M. Coetzee, Radclyffe Hall, Doris Lessing, and David Foster Wallace, with a curator-led tour of the exhibition Shakespeare in Print and Performance.



Welcome to the 2016 Convention!

Photo credit: Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Photo credit: Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Everything’s bigger in Texas—the 2016 convention in Austin certainly is. The Program Committee received more special-session proposals this spring than it has in over a dozen years. We have more than 840 sessions and events on the Program (with over 3,600 participants), and more than 300 address the presidential theme, Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future.

The scheduled convention activities will keep you busy, but be sure to take time to experience all the city of Austin has to offer. Great restaurants and food trucks abound—and barbecue’s just the beginning. Music can be found on almost every street, with over 250 live music venues offering everything from rock to country, indie to Tejano. Austin natives and fans, we’re counting on you to post your favorites, edible and musical, on MLA Commons.

Join the 2016 MLA Convention group and create a group or blog for your session. Take advantage of the opportunity to begin a conversation online.

Convention sessions are put together by members, from special sessions proposed by individuals to forum and committee sessions developed by groups of members to sessions sponsored by allied organizations that are arranged by members as well. You and your colleagues have created a great convention—register today and come take part in it!

Photo credit: Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Photo credit: Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.


Karin Bagnall
Head of MLA Convention Programs

Live-Tweeting the MLA: Suggested Practices

The MLA has been a pioneering academic organization in embracing Twitter. Since 2007 the so-called “conference back channel” has been growing considerably. Adoption of Twitter amongst scholars and students seems on the rise as well, and reporting live from the conference is no longer an underground, parallel activity but pretty much a recognized, encouraged aspect of the event.

“It’s a conversation, not a lecture,” I wrote in a blog post for the Guardian Higher Education Network back in September 2011. By February 2013 I had to reconsider my position: Twitter adoption by scholars had grown so much that it became important for me to discuss how the platform required “more fluid rules of academic engagement.”  I also shared (back in 2012) some tips for live-tweeting from conferences. It makes me happy to know that these posts have been shared so many times on Twitter that the Guardian’s share widget counters have been restarted several times.

For me what remains key is that live-tweeting is essentially a form of reporting, networking and dissemination. For MLA members, it is a way of engaging with the MLA convention, which is of course a real life event. Live-tweeting is a form of broadcasting content, but is also a form of research (what you tweet is likely to be studied by someone else, and you might be tweeting as part of your research). It is most definitely a form of public dissemination that allows scholars to be present and visible in the convention even when they are not physically there. It’s always important to remember that the hashtag for the convention is not only for those attending in person.

Live-tweeting is always subject to context. Tweeting itself is all about context awareness in a way. The MLA convention is Twitter-friendly, and this is a great start. It means you are not being revolutionary for tweeting during the conference. It means there will be Wi-Fi available, and hopefully there will be plenty of places to charge your devices so you don’t run out of battery. It means you are not likely to be asked to put your phone or your laptop away. And this, for me, is a truly positive, exciting thing.

Before you navigate away, here are some practices I suggest based on my experience as a keen live-tweeter. There is nothing written in stone here. These tips might or might not work for you—your own way might be better. These suggestions are meant to be read like “notes to self”: it’s not me telling you what to do; it’s me telling myself out loud what has worked for me in the past and what I strive to do.

  • Read other resources, such as Roopika Risam’s excellent Quick Guide to Using Twitter at the MLA Convention.
  • Let others know who you are. If you are new to Twitter, and even if you aren’t, ensure your Twitter profile includes information about who you are (role, affiliation, interests) and a link to a web page with more information about you or your work.
  • Be recognizable. If you are going to the convention, it helps if your Twitter profile picture has an image of what you look like now—it facilitates real life networking and helps avoid that always-embarrassing Looking-Down-to-Read-Name-Tag-Closely thing. You can always change your profile photo to something else after the conference. Having a default egg profile pic is always a no-no.
  • #Metadata means you are discoverable. Always use the hashtag when discussing anything related to the conference. Make sure you are using the right hashtag. The hashtag for this year is #MLA15. So far it’s worked well; let’s hope no one else (like a video game or something) uses it. Since things can change, check the convention Web site or ask someone if you don’t know what the correct or main hashtag is. MLA sessions also have their own specific hashtags: “#s” followed by the session number (e.g., #s421). It’s OK to use both hashtags in that case, even if it reduces your number of characters. Hashtags are folksonomies and therefore are really hard to control, so one needs to be attentive.
  • Start tweeting with #MLA15 now. If you haven’t, you are already late. Interact with fellow attendants in advance; arrange meetings. Don’t be a stranger.
  • Be positive. Venting creates community amongst people who agree with your experience, but it can also equally alienate others. Formative, positive feedback will always be preferable. Life is short: unless some kind of major academic crime has been committed that you strongly feel must be publicly denounced, some opinions are better not tweeted. It’s all about moderation. This is, of course, not saying “don’t be critical.” You should be critical ethically and professionally. You want to make friends, connections, maybe get that job.
  • Remember, the World Wide Web is called so for a reason. The whole point of tweeting is that it is public and international. There will be people following you from different countries and different time zones. Not everyone will know/understand what you are tweeting about or even be able to infer your context, no matter how obvious it might be to you. Think globally; tweet accordingly.
  • Bring your laptop, not just your phone. To tweet from sessions, nothing beats a proper keyboard. It means you can search for information as you are hearing the talks and share relevant links in your tweets. Second best option is a tablet, like an iPad (some use external keyboards for those). It also means you can use TweetDeck (sadly not available on mobile anymore) to follow easily the main hashtags and key users. To tweet on the go, a mobile app on your phone or tablet is definitely better. 😉
  • Use columns to follow the main hashtags and key users. Many of us find it hard to type and follow busy back channels on smaller screens. The Twitter mobile app and the Twitter web client are not good options to monitor the back channel appropriately. On your mobile phone, apps like Hootsuite allow you to set up columns where you can follow the main hashtags and even key accounts. This will help you to be on top of things and not miss out.
  • Set your sound notifications off. You are likely to get a lot of them if you are actively live-tweeting and using the hashtag. Respect others. Type silently. A mobile phone should never ring or make any sounds in a convention room.
  • Share links to relevant academic articles and calls for papers. You know those tables where all the colorful calls for papers and announcements are left for you to pick up? Twitter is very effective for this. Twitter is not just for chatting; it is more effective to promote this kind of academic stuff. You have your target audience there, so share, share, share.
  • It’s not all about you (and it is). Having a dedicated column to follow the hashtag will make it easy for you to see what is being tweeted. You are likely to see that many others are tweeting from the same session, saying more or less the same. Avoid duplication and unnecessary repetition by not live-tweeting everything yourself. When promoting links, sessions, etc., don’t promote only your work: promote the work of others as well. No one likes shameless self-promoters who don’t care about others. On Twitter every time you promote someone else’s work, you are promoting yourself (your name and profile picture will be there), so it’s a win-win.
  • Attribute. When live-tweeting from a session, make sure it’s clear who is saying what. Are you paraphrasing? Are they your ideas or the speaker’s? Use reported speech conventions. Find Twitter user names of the speakers in advance. If you are reporting what a speaker with a Twitter user name said, @ mention them, but make sure it does not look like you are just replying to them personally.
  • Report spam. The hashtag is the equivalent of a “room” hosting a community. There is likely to be spam again this year. The only effective way of combatting spam is being careful about who we engage with, who we retweet, what applications we have connected our Twitter profiles with (check for this), and, importantly, blocking and reporting for spam. Block and report for spam each spam tweet you come across. It won’t go away if you ignore it. And if you can’t tell the difference between a real user and a spambot, that real user has a problem…
  • Socialize sensibly. Social media can include as much as exclude. Make sure you are cautious about how you come across: does it look like you are showing off that you are in an exclusive party where other mere mortals are not invited? If it’s not public, do not publicize. If you are there, be there. No need to be tweeting all the time. Switch off your phone and enjoy the conversation with your peers right there.
  • Ask before tweeting. Finally, never underestimate diversity. If you are with a group of people and are unsure if it’s OK to mention them in a Twitter update, hashtagged or not, always ask. I know this is not always practical. Just think that when in doubt, it is always safer not to tweet than to tweet. If you are amongst fellow keen tweeterers, it might not be necessary, but you never know. Same goes for photos of identifiable people. People have a right to privacy.
  • If you don’t want your paper live-tweeted, don’t present it. The above notwithstanding, when people are speaking publicly (keynote, panel, workshop, etc.), it is fair to assume they are happy to be publicized. If you want your presentation or work to remain embargoed, it might be better not to present it in public in any form. Speakers should be grateful their work is being promoted, for free, by their colleagues, sometimes en masse (as far as academia goes, that is). Work unknown is work that doesn’t exist.
  • Don’t drink and tweet. Most of us have done it once in while, but it’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Have fun. It’s not that complicated. In a way it’s a shame we need this kind of advice. But social media is not all fun and games; it can really get you in a lot of trouble. It is a professional activity now. Tweeting with the convention hashtag means you are participating publicly in the conference. You will be assessed on how you behave online. This doesn’t mean it’s not about having fun—just think before you tweet…

Academic conferencing is changing. The world is wide, and the challenges and opportunities are equally huge. Let’s make the most of the means we have available to us.


MLA Commons at the Convention

On Saturday, January 10, starting at 10:30 a.m., MLA members will discuss some of the ways in which they have made use of MLA Commons, the association’s social network and collaboration platform. From facilitating scholarly conversation after the convention to enabling the submission of article and chapter drafts for peer review, the Commons offers a range of possibilities for MLA members to strengthen ties and create a sense of community. Come listen to your colleagues talk about their experience with the Commons; then drill Nicky Agate, the managing editor of the Commons, and Chris Zarate, its technical lead, about what the platform can do for you.

Friday, January 9
MLA PubCentral, Vancouver Convention Centre (Prefunction level 1, West Building)

2:00 p.m. Ray Siemens, Literary Studies in the Digital Age
“Using MLA Commons for Peer Review and Publication”


Saturday, January 10
MLA PubCentral, Vancouver Convention Centre (Prefunction level 1, West Building)

10:30 a.m. Andrea Kaston Tange, Class in the Academy
“How to Spark Pre-convention Conversation with the Commons
12:30 p.m. Abby Goode, Sustainability and Population in American Literary History
“Using MLA Commons to Extend the Life of Your Convention Session”
1:30 p.m. Dawn Childress, Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures
MLA Commons for Your Division or Discussion Group”
2:30 p.m. Thomas Lawrence Long, Literature, Medicine, Medical Humanities
“Creating a Commons Space for Your Special Interest Group”

An MLA Member’s Guide to Foodie Vancouver

Vancouver is one of those cities where people ski and sail on the same day. If you are visiting Vancouver for the first time, be prepared for our misty winter weather (as well as great fish and seafood). Vancouverites take heart in our weather: what falls as light rain in the city also falls as snow in the mountains, which you will see directly across from the Convention Centre. With luck, we’ll score some sunny days, and you’ll get to see those mountains glow.

If you can take a break from MLA sessions, you may want to walk the nearly two miles from the Convention Centre along the scenic seawall that will take you around Coal Harbour to the edges of Stanley Park, one of Vancouver’s landmark destinations. For those of you looking for more urban flânerie, head in the other direction from the Convention Centre along Cordova Street and then along Water Street into Gastown, the historic heart of Vancouver, which has a mix of souvenir shops and hip independent designers and restaurants. If you have more time yet, you may want to explore Vancouver’s Chinatown, where you’ll find lively Chinese markets and the serenity of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the first Ming Dynasty scholars’ garden built outside China (578 Carrall Street).

Even if you don’t have time for an urban walk, you will need to eat. And Vancouver is very much a foodie city: its restaurants offer modern twists and fusions of traditional Asian and European cuisines.  Below is a list of dining recommendations in four areas in downtown, starting with affordable, cheerful establishments closer to the Convention Centre and then listing restaurants that are farther away (some a bit pricier).

Near the Convention Centre

At the Waterfront Centre across from the Convention Centre you will find Subway, Tim Hortons (a Canadian staple known for its donuts and coffee, which also serves sandwiches and soups), and Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar. There is also a food court inside the Waterfront Centre.  For something a bit more upscale, you will find the Cactus Club Café, one of several in Vancouver (1085 Canada Pl.; 604 620-7410).

Nearby, try the Lions Pub (888 W. Cordova St.; 604 488-8602) and Freshii (870 W. Cordova St.; 604 566-9952), which has fresh sandwiches, wraps, salads, and breakfast, or Hapa Izakaya (909 W. Cordova; 604 420-4272). Downtown Vancouver is also home to a chain of much loved, inexpensive Japanese izakaya restaurants called Guu, which features Japanese “tapas” and plates for sharing. The closest one to the Convention Centre is Kitanoya Guu with Otokame in Gastown (375 Water St.; 604 685-8682). Word from the foodie: “Everything is amazing but try the fried chicken.”

For pricier but memorable Japanese food with a fabulous view, try Miku, across from the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, in Granville Square. Advice from a serious foodie friend: “Go during lunchtime—it’s a little cheaper—and get the Miku Zen box. It’s the best value, and you get a feel for what the restaurant can really do.”

And not to be ignored: the best gelato in Vancouver is at Bella Gelateria (1001 W. Cordova St.).

Near the Convention Centre: Three Splurges

Three outstanding restaurants with prizewinning chefs are a within a mile of the Convention Centre and thus a short cab ride away (caveat emptor: these restaurants are on the pricey side):

Market, in the Shangri-la Hotel (1128 W. Georgia St.; 604 695-1115), is Jean-George Vongerichten’s signature restaurant in Vancouver.

Hawksworth, in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, is one of the premier restaurants in Canada, and its chef, David Hawksworth, has won many awards (801 W. Georgia St.; 604 673-7000)—the Hawksworth also has one of the best cocktail bars in the city.

Yew Seafood and Bar, in the Four Seasons Hotel, with another award-winning chef, is excellent; try the lobster poutine for a Canadian multiprovincial treat (791 W. Georgia St.; 604 692-4939).


Moving outside the immediate area of the Convention Centre to the east, there are many restaurants to choose from in Gastown. Here are just a few, starting closest to the Convention Centre, just past the Waterfront Station and moving east:

Steamworks Brew Pub (375 Water St.)
Water Street Café (300 Water St.)
Pourhouse Restaurant (162 Water St.)
The Flying Pig Gastown (102 Water St.)
Meat & Bread—the porchetta is particularly popular (370 Cambie St.)
Jules, a French bistro, with a three-course prix fixe menu (216 Abbott St.)


Richmond, the suburb just south of Vancouver where the airport is located, is now home to many of the best Chinese restaurants in the Vancouver area, but there are some notable options in downtown Chinatown. Unless you are up for a 1.7 kilometer walk (just over a mile), Chinatown is a quick cab ride.

Phnom Penh looks like a dive but is an institution in Vancouver, one of the best places for Vietnamese-Cambodian food and very inexpensive. They only take reservations for parties of six or more, so grab some friends (244 E. Georgia St.; 604 682-5777).

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie has terrific Chinese food. No reservations except for Family Table, which features a multiple-course tasting for parties of 8–10 and is $35 Canadian dollars per person—a bargain! (163 Keefer St.; 604 688-0876).

… and beyond Chinatown

Landmark Hot Pot House: Take the Canada Line to the King Edward stop.  This is a popular Chinese hotpot restaurant (4023 Cambie St.; 604 872-2868).

Lin Chinese Cuisine and Tea House (1537 West Broadway; 604 733-9696)

Fortune Garden, for very fine Cantonese dining (1475 West Broadway; 604 736-6868)

The West End

Vancouver is into sustainable dining, and one good example in the West End, just a quick cab ride away, is Forage, specializing in local British Columbia bounty (1300 Robson St.; 604 661-1400).

La Tavola, an Italian restaurant, has great food, a nice atmosphere, and is near the corner of Denman Street, the lively main fare through the West End that goes from English Bay down to Coal Harbour—great for an after-dinner stroll (1829 Robson St.; 604 606-4680).

The West End is also home to many great ramen restaurants:

Marutama Ramen (780 Bidwell St.; 604 688-8837)

Legendary Noodle House (1074 Denman St.; 604 669-8551)

Motomachi Shokudo (740 Denman St.; 604 669-0310)

And for dessert, try Nero Belgian Waffle Bar (1703 Robson St.).


Yaletown, a quick cab ride away, is home to lots of hip restaurants and small shops. Many of these restaurants are a bit pricey, but, exchange rate permitting, worth the detour, as they say in the Michelin guide. Two main streets run through Yaletown—Hamilton and Mainland—and they are both full of restaurants. Here are a few:

Rodney’s Oyster House, a casual seafood spot with a lively atmosphere (1228 Hamilton St.; 604 609-0080)

The Flying Pig Yaletown (1168 Hamilton St.; 604 568-1344)

Blue Water Café and Raw Bar is considered by many the best fish and seafood restaurant in Vancouver—great atmosphere, great raw bar, excellent fish (they also serve meat)—but it is pricey (1095 Hamilton St.; 604 688-8078).

Under the Bridge: Granville Island

Granville Island, a ten-minute cab ride away, is actually not an island but a former industrial area below the Granville Street bridge. This is definitely a place to visit if you have time. It is home to a terrific market with great produce, bakeries, and exotic foods (like Seattle’s Pike Place market but bigger). There is a great open area behind the market with views onto marinas and the whole downtown. The market is open during the day. Some of the highlights for grazers include the Stock Market (terrific hot soups), Lee’s (old-fashioned donuts done right), and Granville Island Tea (tea by the cup and countless loose-leaf teas to buy). There are theaters on Granville Island, the Granville Island Brewery (tasting lounge and retail), lots of little art galleries, jewelers and local craftspeople, as well as the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Plus, there are restaurants—just have a cab take you into the island and drop you off at the restaurant. It is not necessary to give the driver a street address since no one knows the street names except for the postal carriers.

Bridges, a popular waterfront spot with a seafood-focused menu and an upper dining room, bistro, bar, and patio (604 687-4400)

The Sandbar, a seafood hot spot with sushi made to order and live music nightly (604 669-9030)

Across the Bridge: Kitsilano

For those who want to go farther afield, a cab ride will take you across the Burrard Street bridge into Kitsilano, where the two main streets are Fourth Avenue and Broadway (the equivalent of Ninth Street). The number 22 bus will also take you up Burrard; ask the driver to let you off at Fourth Avenue and walk west. This is the side of the water where the University of British Columbia is located and where local academics are more likely to eat. Kitsilano offers lots of variety. All the restaurants listed below are quite small, so reservations are necessary, especially on weekends.

Maenam—this is the best and most inventive Thai restaurant in Vancouver. The award-winning chef, Angus An, prepares a five-course chef’s tasting menu that is the best deal in town (1938 West Fourth Ave.; 604 730-5579).

Fable (“farm to table”), a great example of local sustainable cooking—next door to Maenam (1944 West Fourth Ave.; 604 732-1322)

La Cigale French Bistro, friendly, authentic French bistro food—across from Fable (1961 West Fourth Ave.; 604 732-0004)

BiBo Pizzeria con Cucina, an Italian restaurant featuring wood-fired pies and handmade pastas in a comfy atmosphere—close to Burrard Street (1835 West Fourth Ave.; 604 568-6177)

The Farmer’s Apprentice, a minimalist, farm-to-table eatery serving organic wine and contemporary Pacific Northwest meals—take a cab for this one (1535 West Sixth Ave.; 604 620-2070)

Thai Cuisine by MontriMontri was the first great Thai chef in Vancouver, and after returning to Thailand for several years, he is now back. His food is wonderful. You will need a cab unless you want to try the Vancouver bus system (2585 West Broadway; 604 221-9599).

Other Locations

Main Street. There are lots of little restaurants along Main Street in the 20s blocks (a fifteen-minute cab ride away). A personal favorite is The French Table (3916 Main St.; 604 689-3237), which is an authentic French bistro, complete with French waiters who have been at this for years and are straight from central casting. Ask for a glass of Aligoté wine, which comes from the vineyards of Hervé’s (the owner’s) sister.

Commercial Drive. A fifteen-minute cab ride away, this multicultural, countercultural strip in East Vancouver boasts small restaurants that include everything from Salvadoran to Tunisian food. Just walk down “the Drive” and pick one.

Food Trucks. Finally, Vancouver is home to a lively food truck culture. Look for them all over downtown. They are perfect for when you are—literally—on the run. Try to find trucks nearby.

Bon appétit!

Presenting at the 2015 Convention in Vancouver?

Whether this year’s convention presentation will be your first or your hundredth, here are a few tips to make it your best yet:

  • Don’t read your paper. Looking down and reading a paper that was written to be read rather than heard is a sure way to make your audience disengage.
  • Plan for accessibility. Give your audience the tools they need in order to engage with your work. Post your presentation on MLA Commons ahead of time, bring large-print copies of your presentation and visual materials, and make sure projected images will be easily legible from the back of the room. Briefly describe the materials for any attendees who are visually impaired (accessibility guidelines are available here).
  • Use interesting visuals. Avoid filling the screen with bullet points that mirror what you’re saying.
  • Engage with your fellow presenters. Find ways to connect your presentation with those of your fellow panelists.
  • Respect the time limit. Exceeding the time allotted for your presentation leaves less time for questions and discussion, and may even cut into your fellow panelists’ presentation time. Practice in advance to ensure that your prepared materials leave you with a minute or so to spare. That way, you have a cushion to deal with any technical issues or to make spontaneous comments.

Collaborating on Convention Materials Using Docs

If you’re working with other members on a roundtable or another type of collaborative session for the convention, you might consider using the Docs feature on MLA Commons. Much like Google Docs, Docs on MLA Commons allows more than one user to edit and save a document online without using a separate software program. This feature can help you and your copresenters prepare talking points, discussion questions, and more.

Posting Convention Materials to MLA Commons

Presenting at the convention? Consider posting your presentation on the 2015 MLA Convention group in advance. To upload a file, click Files in the left-hand navigation bar and follow the instructions. Make sure to include the session number, date, time, and location in the description. You can also add an annotation to the online Program by logging in to, finding your session in the Program, and adding a link or annotation in the text box.

Posting your presentation online not only makes it easier for all attendees to follow along and be fully involved but also allows those who may be unable to attend your session learn about your work (complete accessibility guidelines are available here).

Thank you!

Discover Vancouver

The MLA Annual Convention provides a host of ways to discover and share research, connect with colleagues, explore the newest offerings in the exhibit hall, and develop professionally. In addition to attending some of the nearly 800 presentations and events, be sure to schedule in some breaks to discover what makes Vancouver so special. We have developed a variety of excursions to help you explore Vancouver’s history, culture, and cuisine. You can sign up for excursions when you register for the convention, or you can write to Michael Reilly if you have already registered.

First Nations in Vancouver

As noted in Margaret W. Ferguson’s blog post, “Negotiating Sites of Memory in Vancouver,” the city is home to many First Nations communities, whose languages and cultures existed in the area long before George Vancouver visited in 1792. The Museum of Anthropology excursion provides a curator-led preview of an exhibit that explores the Musqueam Nation’s identity and worldview, as well as a visit to the museum’s Oral History and Language Lab. The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art  excursion examines one of Canada’s most famous indigenous artists, Bill Reid, and includes a conversation about the Haida language and culture with his granddaughter, Nika Collison (Jisgang), curator at the Haida Gwaii Museum.

International Art Exhibits

Vancouver is home to many world-class galleries and museums. Join a private morning tour of two exhibits at the Vancouver Art Gallery that focus on Chinese art: The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors, a showcase of nearly two hundred treasured objects from the collections of Beijing’s Palace Museum, and Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art, featuring works by Chinese artists who examine tradition’s influence on visual culture in China.


Discover why the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library is the busiest public building in the city. Join a librarian-led, behind-the-scenes tour of the building, which was designed by Moshe Safdie; the tour offers access to the special collections and highlights by the collections’ experts.


What better way to explore a city than through its food? On Thursday, join the morning excursion for a tour of Granville Island, followed by a three-course lunch at Bistro 101, prepared and served by the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’ chefs in training. On Saturday afternoon, you can join the wine expert Jaime Kowan and Italian Kitchen’s executive chef, Mark Greenfield, for a two-hour tasting that pairs wines from British Columbia with a selection of small plates and canapés.

Preparing for the 2015 MLA Annual Convention

January 2015 is right around the corner! Or maybe it just seems that way from my desk in the convention office. MLA members have put together a great convention, and all of us on staff look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.

This year’s convention includes nearly eight hundred sessions, and more than two hundred address the presidential theme, Negotiating Sites of Memory. Nobody can attend every session, so we encourage you to extend the discussion on MLA Commons. Join the 2015 MLA Convention group and start a discussion, or create a group or blog for your session. Both are great ways to get the conversations rolling (and you’ll have a head start on your presentation).

Vancouver is a beautiful city situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains. The convention center has views of the water and the mountains, and the MLA registration and welcome center features floor-to-ceiling windows. Great food from all corners of the globe will keep you going (along with the numerous coffee shops!). Vancouver natives and fans—we’re counting on you to post your favorites.

We’ll be back with more updates. In the meantime, we encourage you to join the conversation.

Registration will open in early September for all MLA members. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.


Karin Bagnall
Associate Director, MLA Convention Programs