[SFX: Writing with a pencil on paper.]
Dear Kairos Readers—and, in this case, listeners:
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Welcome to "Why Podcast?", a three-part podcast miniseries written and produced by Stacey Copeland and me, Hannah McGregor, that asks: Why does podcasting lend itself to the communication of scholarly knowledge? And what new possibilities does podcasting open up, especially for those of us interested in publicly accessible or community engaged scholarship?
We've created this trailer of sorts to help you navigate the miniseries. Before we give you an outline of the episodes, though, why don't we introduce ourselves?
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Stacey Copeland: Hi, I'm Stacey Copeland, pronouns she/her, and a Joseph-Bombardier (CGS) PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University's School of Communication. My doctoral research delves into sound studies, queer culture, radio history, feminist research methods, and of course podcasting. A topic I get to explore even further in my role as supervising producer with the Amplify Podcast Network. My interest in audio production and media culture began to crystallize during my Master of Arts in the Ryerson York University joint Communication and Culture graduate program. It was during my master's work that I co-founded FemRadio, a Toronto, Canada-based feminist community radio collective.
HM: And I'm Hannah McGregor, pronouns she/her. I'm an Assistant Professor of Publishing at Simon Fraser University, in Vancouver, Canada, where my research focuses on podcasting as scholarly communication, but also systemic barriers to access in the Canadian publishing industry, and the history of Canadian middlebrow magazines. I'm the co-creator of Witch, Please, a feminist podcast on the Harry Potter world, the host of SpokenWeb Podcast, and the creator of the podcast Secret Feminist Agenda, which underwent an experimental peer review process with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. I'm also the co-director of the Amplify Podcast Network, another project with Wilfrid Laurier University Press that's experimenting in expanding the world of scholarly podcasts. I'm also the co-editor of the book Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (Book*hug 2018), and I have a new book forthcoming in fall 2022, also with Wilfrid Laurier University Press, called A Sentimental Education.
SC: "Why Podcast?" consists of three main episodes, plus an appendix. Episode One, "Podcasting as Publishing," connects podcasting to the early promises of Web 2.0 technology, points to podcasting's inherently open-access ethos, and draws out its links to the rise of scholarly blogging. It concludes by turning to the podcast Can't Lit, an example of the informality, spontaneity, and accessibility facilitated by podcasting.
HM: Episode Two, "Sound-Based Scholarship," addresses the unique affordances of podcasting as an audio medium, including its ability to produce intimacy, to layer in affect, and to explore the politics of voice. Drawing on examples including The Heart and Another Round, this episode demonstrates how podcasts can build space for queer and Black feminist knowledges that are often excluded from conventional scholarship.
SC: Episode Three, "Making Podcasts Count," turns to the structural barriers that continue to discourage academics from experimenting with podcasting, including aesthetic gatekeeping and a lack of accessible models, alongside the challenge of assessing and valuing nontraditional outputs. Drawing on the example of The SpokenWeb Podcast, the episode demonstrates how facilitating DIY, maker-based, and community ethos in scholarly podcasting embraces the radical potential of the medium to transform how academia conceives of expert knowledge.
HM: We suspected from early on that Kairos was the right home for this experimental work, but that suspicion was confirmed when the editorial board proposed an audio response to our audio scholarship. We've included that peer review, along with framing remarks from Kairos Managing Editor Erin Kathleen Bahl, as an Appendix that you can also think of as a fourth episode of sorts. The peer review conversation draws out the many interconnections between our work and the robust rhetoric and pedagogy research on podcasting and public scholarship. This approach to peer review models the kind of openness, generosity, and dialogue that academia needs right now, and that podcasting can help facilitate.
SC: Ultimately, "Why Podcast?" is an invitation. It draws on our collective knowledge in Publishing, Media, and Communication to invite you, the Kairos community, into a multidisciplinary dialogue on the current and future state of open-access scholarship.
[SFX: Writing with a pencil on paper. Music "Dirty Wallpaper" comes in]
So, let's begin.
[Music fades out and pencils placed down on the desk.]