Panel 16: Publishing and Pedagogy

Panel 16: Publishing and Pedagogy

Fresco Sam-Sin and Erwin Verbruggen, Jillian Abbott and Hannah McGregor and Stacey Copeland

In Things That Talk: Offering a Visual Outlet for Object-fuelled Student Research, Fresco Sam-Sin and Erwin Verbruggen introduce Things That Talk; a platform that encourages students to publish findings and stories about objects from a variety of museums – amongst which the many collections of the university library of the University of and the city of Leiden, but rapidly growing beyond this city’s walls. The website builds on two layers: the interactive, high-res image storytelling platform Micrio and linked data gathered and enriched via Wikidata. Originated at the university of Leiden, designed and developed by the agencies Fabrique and Q42, the intention of the platform is for students to share their research and stories about objects in a visually attractive way. Currently in use in over 30 courses at the University of Leiden, the platform has gained interest from outside universities and museums. The platform’s growing collection of Things crosses space and time. A recent development is the addition of more specific groupings for educators and students to showcase themes or course outcomes. Things That Talk is a growing resource that, to students, offers a middle ground between established academic publishing and more public-oriented formats. This paper describes the platform’s underpinnings and a testimony of how the experience of writing web-friendly stories about cultural objects with visual supports changes the framing – and legacy – of student work.

In Whose Story Gets Told: How teachers, publishers and other gatekeepers can help ensure more voices are heard, Jillian Abbott presents a pedagogical autoethnography covering the strategies she uses in her creative writing and digital writing classes, and discusses how pedagogical strategies such as autoethnographic insider/outsider collaborations can be adapted to an industry setting.

Empathetic and ethical autoethnographic collaboration between outsiders (established academics, publishers, game producers, podcast producers, etc.) and insiders (minorities, women, and other underserved communities) has the potential to enable traditionally overlooked voices to be heard.

This model empowers storytellers, whether students or practicing artists, especially women, people of color and other underserved communities to tell their stories. This methodology has supported Abbott in empowering underserved students to chronicle their experiences during the pandemic and/or with systemic racism, particularly as it pertains to last summer’s Black Lives Matters movement.

This paper is inspired by Abbott’s Spring 2020 and 2021 ENG 384 Writing for Electronic Media courses at York College CUNY, where students draw on their experiences of lockdown to frame their final digital products. Understanding outsiders’ privilege and confirmation biases can allow academics, publishers, game producers, and other gatekeepers to empower others to tell their stories.

In this paper, Abbott addresses teaching decisions, showcases students’ work, and examines ways this model can be applied to industry.

In Why Podcasting? A Case for Sound-Based Public Scholarship, Hannah McGregor and Stacey Copeland consider the growing numbers of scholars have turned to podcasting as an accessible and popular medium to share their research more broadly with academic and non-academic audiences (Samson, 2017; Alvarez, 2020). While people are often looking for concrete forms of advice – what kind of microphone do I need? where do I publish it once it’s done? – many are equally interested in the question of why they might want to start a podcast in the first place.

Drawing on their experience with the Amplify Podcast Network and the SpokenWeb Podcast, this presentation is a pitch for scholarly podcasting rooted in the theoretical and practical benefits of experimenting in sound-based scholarship. It is based on their  collective years of experience working in podcasting as well as related research on open scholarship, media culture, radical amateurism, and the subversive possibilities of DIY creation and self-publishing. 

Linking podcasting to the early promises of Web 2.0 and its decentralised and non-corporate logics (Dash, 2012), the DIY maker cultures associated with radical publishing practices like zine-making (McGregor, 2018), the ethos of public scholarship that emerged around scholarly blogging (Maitzen, 2012), and the intimacies and affordances of sound-based scholarship (Llinares, Fox & Berry, 2018; McHugh, 2012), this presentation will stage the argument that podcasting and academia are two okay tastes that taste okay together. 

While significant barriers remain around the problem of making non-traditional scholarship count, calls to open up the work of academics to wider audiences emphasise that now is the time to take risks and think boldly about the work of the university. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick (2019) has argued, publicly accessible and accountable scholarship offers a path forward to saving the public university by centring its public mission – a mission with which scholarly podcasting is deeply resonant.