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. Podcasts—mp3 audio files circulated online via a syndicated RSS feed—have existed for over a decade, and play an increasingly central role in North Americans’ media consumption and information-sharing habits. And yet, while there’s ample evidence that academics are interested in podcasting, there remains little institutional support for this growing form of scholarly communication.
The Amplify Podcast Network is a SSHRC-funded project dedicated to reimagining the sound of scholarship through the collaboration of scholars, editors, audio producers, librarians, students, and art organizers. We have developed our project around what we see as four key challenges: Scholarly Podcast Production, Mobilizing Scholarship, Discoverability & Sustainability, and Awareness & Pedagogy.
Our Podcast Production task force is led by Siobhan McMenemy (Senior Editor at Wilfrid Laurier University Press) and Amplify’s supervising producer Stacey Copeland. In addition to the network’s pilot podcast, Secret Feminist Agenda, Amplify will be producing peer-reviewed podcasts by Brenna Clarke Gray (Thompson Rivers University), Kendra Cowley and María Alvarez Malvido (University of Alberta), and Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee Nation, University of British Columbia).
In collaboration with WLU Press, WLU Library, and SFU’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab, this task force will build the infrastructure for scholarly podcasts as a form of peer reviewed open access scholarship. We’re working to create new editorial workflows and best practices (including transcription!) that other presses, journals, and organizations could adopt to start producing, peer reviewing, and promoting their own scholarly podcasts.
Discoverability & Sustainability
We don’t just want to produce new, peer-reviewed podcasts -- we also want to make sure those podcasts are discoverable in the short-term and the long-term. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab at SFU, as well as WLU Press and WLU Library, to build a new tool that will allow podcasters to archive their episodes with rich metadata, and to preserve their podcasts on their institutional repositories. Our long-term goal is to make peer-reviewed podcasts as easy to find as journal articles.
Awareness & Pedagogy
Podcast networks like the Amplify Podcast Network are an ideal way to promote new podcasts, build listenership, and engage new potential podcasters. This task force, led by Hannah McGregor (Simon Fraser University), is focused on building connections with the wider podcasting world and with other scholarly projects interested in podcasting. We’re working with the DOXA Documentary Media Society to add scholarly programming to their annual Vancouver Podcast Festival, and we’re producing free resources like our Guide to Academic Podcasting.
Through the work of these task forces, our goal is to increase the accessibility of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, by reimagining how that scholarship sounds.