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Kathleen Fitzpatrick on the Power of Generous Thinking

Kathleen Fitzpatrick gave the 2019 Munro Lecture

“What might be possible for us if we were to retain the social commitment that motivates our critical work, while stepping off the field of competition?” Kathleen Fitzpatrick asked a rapt audience at SFU’s Harbour Centre last Wednesday, “We would have to open ourselves to the possibility that our ideas might be wrong.”

Fitzpatrick is Director of Digital Humanities at Michigan State University, the former Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, and—most recently—the invited speaker at this year’s Munro Lecture at SFU.

Named after Jock Munro—an economist and former SFU Vice-President, Academic—the lecture series has hosted a number of acclaimed scholars over the years, including Linda Tuhiwai Smith on decolonizing the research process and Arthur Hanson on China’s green economy. This year’s edition continued the conversation started during last fall’s President’s Dream Colloquium on Making Knowledge Public.

Juan Pablo Alperin, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Joanne Curry at the Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking
Juan Pablo Alperin, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Joanne Curry at the Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking

In her talk, Fitzpatrick discussed the individualistic nature of academic life and how it impedes the relationships that exist between universities and the communities that surround them. Drawing from her newly released book, Generous Thinking, she explored the many challenges that stand in the way of a more engaged academic system and offered a radical approach to how overcoming them—starting with a complete shift in how we think about public scholarship.

Her passionate appeal resonated with many in the audience, with nods, sighs, and the occasional “Yeah!” permeating the presentation. “Generous thinking,” it seems, had been on many listeners’ minds.

As John Maxwell, Director of SFU’s Publishing Department, aptly put it, “Kathleen Fitzpatrick has elegantly articulated what many academics have been thinking—that the black and white framing of university and society is not serving anyone well, and that our culture of internal competitiveness undermines any effort to be engaged and relevant.”

So what can today’s academics do to become more engaged, relevant, and connected?

“All… possibilities begin with cultivating the ability to think generously,” Fitzpatrick offered at the end of her lecture, “To listen to one another.”  

Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Munro Lecture on Generous Thinking was presented in partnership with the SFU President’s Office, SFU Public Square, and SFU’s School of Publishing. For those who missed it, a video is available from the SFU Library.


This blog post was first published on the Scholarly Communications Lab Blog, and has been reposted here with permission.  



Making Research Knowledge Public Award | Interview with recipients Hannah McGregor and Juan Pablo Alperin

SFU Publishing's Hannah McGregor looking happy and vibrant in downtown Vancouver.
SFU Publishing’s Hannah McGregor is a recipient of the Research Excellence Award for Making Research Knowledge Public. Photo by Christopher M Turbulence.

“Sometimes people need to be told that your work is for them, or invited in some way,” says Hannah McGregor, an assistant professor in Simon Fraser University’s Publishing Department and the host and producer of the podcast Secret Feminist Agenda. “There are lots of ways to invite people into your work, but I think one of the best is to think about the kind of language and media that you use.”

The podcast, which she describes as “a weekly discussion of the insidious, nefarious, insurgent, and mundane ways we enact our feminism in our daily lives,” is just one of the many ways McGregor invites the public to engage with her work. She’s also active on social media, a co-editor of a new book exploring the state of Canadian Literature, and the organizer of Publishing Unbound, a workshop that brought together authors, activists, scholars, and publishing professionals to discuss inclusivity and accountability in Canadian Literature.

As of this December, she is also a co-recipient—with ScholCommLab director Juan Pablo Alperin—of the inaugural Research Excellence Award for Making Research Knowledge Public. Adjudicated by a university-wide panel, the award was jointly presented to the duo in recognition of their “demonstrated excellence in making research outcomes and insights public and in engaging new communities with scholarly or artistic work.”

Juan Pablo Alperin (centre) at the Research Excellence Award ceremony with SFU Publishing Director John Maxwell and FCAT Associate Dean Stuart Poyntz
Juan Pablo Alperin (centre) at the Research Excellence Award ceremony with SFU Publishing Director John Maxwell and FCAT Associate Dean Stuart Poyntz

Like McGregor, Alperin is an assistant professor in the Publishing Department and a strong believer in the importance of public scholarship. But while McGregor takes a public-focused approach to making research knowledge public, Alperin’s work is centred within the academic system itself—dedicated to investigating the ins and outs of open access publishing, the barriers that prevent academics from engaging in public scholarship, and more.

In celebration of the award, we asked Alperin and McGregor to share their views on making research knowledge public and the challenges that sometimes stand in the way.

What does “making research knowledge public” look like to you? 

Juan Pablo Alperin: I see open access as a very basic, initial step toward making research knowledge public. We never know who in society might care about our work, regardless of how niche an audience we might have in mind. My own research and other evidence points to the fact that there are members of the public who want to know. Even if faculty don’t want to change anything else about what they do, they can make sure that their research is at least accessible to anyone who wants to see it. For me, making research knowledge public is about enabling and supporting an ecosystem in which that becomes the norm.

Hannah McGregor: I think open access should be the default and baseline, particularly for journals. But access goes beyond just paywalls; it also has to do with language and discoverability. Journals—open access or not—still circulate within particular systems of discoverability that are available mostly to people who know how universities work.

The side of things that I have been working on is what my colleague Jon Bath calls public-first scholarship. I’ve been thinking about what it means to do your work in the public from the get-go, rather than doing it within the university and then making it public later. I’m making podcasts, because podcasts are not a university medium. They are a medium that has their own logic, a logic that is inherently open and inherently public-facing. I want the audience for my work to not be precluded by people who have access to scholarship.

What are the top challenges when it comes to public scholarship? 

JPA: What I see as the biggest challenge is getting academics to think and care about non-academic audiences—to start believing that making research available matters. Everyone cares in a very abstract way, but not everyone thinks about non-academic audiences as important constituents who they have a duty to share their work with. We need to shift that perspective so that faculty see public scholarship as a primary objective of their work, and not way down the list of things they have to do. We need to make it a priority.

“We need to shift that perspective so that faculty see public scholarship as a primary objective of their work, and not way down the list of things they have to do. We need to make it a priority.”—Juan Pablo Alperin

HM: For me, it’s the finitude of our time and energies. I’ve been working on my podcast for a year and a half. I love making it, but I also can do almost nothing else while I’m working on it. Many, many scholars doing this kind of work have been facing this challenge for ages: you end up having to do twice the work. You have to do all of the traditionally recognized scholarship in order to secure a job and then secure promotion and tenure. But at the same time, you want to do this other work—the work that, in my view, really matters.

The podcast is great and brings me a lot of public interest in my work. But can I get tenure for a podcast? Maybe not.

If you could change one thing…

HM: I’d like to see some pretty significant transformations in how, at the departmental level, research is valued. I think non-traditional scholarly options need to be taken seriously as the primary output of scholars. Based in part on conversations that I’ve had with other academics and in part on research that came out of this lab on public scholarship and the degree to which it’s represented in tenure and promotion documents, we know that the vast majority of university departments do not care about public scholarship. They care about published journal articles in peer-reviewed journals. People have finite energy, and if one thing is going to get you a job and the other is going to get you a thumbs up, but ultimately no financial security, what thing are you going to choose?

“Non-traditional scholarly options need to be taken seriously as the primary output of scholars… People have finite energy, and if one thing is going to get you a job and the other is going to get you a thumbs up, but ultimately no financial security, what thing are you going to choose?”—Hannah McGregor

What do you think researchers could do better? 

JPA: There’s a lot more that could be done around sharing, disseminating, and talking about our work in a wide range of venues. We need to look for broader audiences for our research—be that by posting on social media, doing outreach to media, or creating infographics and other simplified forms of communicating our results.

We need to widen our conception of who our audience is. An audience could be anyone, so just put your research out there in slightly different forms and different ways—as many as come to mind and as you have time and resources for.

This blog post was first published on the Scholarly Communications Lab Blog, and has been reposted here with permission.  


Subverting the Genre: Connie Walker on Podcasting and Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

As Connie Walker’s hit podcasts, Missing & Murdered—”Who Killed Alberta Williams,” and, “Finding Cleo”—approach the 20 million download mark, we take you behind the stories, into the editorial decision making, and into the struggles behind one of Canada’s most downloaded podcasts. How has the media transformed over the last five years when reporting in Indigenous communities? What is the importance of understanding the role of trauma in our communities in our news and feature stories?

Following a public talk, Connie will be joined by Ryan McMahon, creator, writer, and host of the Thunder Bay podcast, for a Q&A with the audience.

Connie Walker is an award-winning investigative reporter and host of the CBC News podcast, Missing & Murdered. In 2017, “Missing & Murdered: Who killed Alberta Williams?” won the RTDNA’s Adrienne Clarkson Award and was nominated for a Webby Award. Walker and colleagues at the CBC’s Indigenous Unit, won multiple awards including the 2016 Canadian Association of Journalists’ Don McGillivray investigative award, a Canadian Screen Award and the prestigious Hillman Award for its “Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls” interactive website.

Walker is from the Okanese First Nation, in Saskatchewan. She currently lives with her family in Toronto.

This talk is presented as part of the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit

As Connie Walker’s hit podcasts, Missing & Murdered—”Who Killed Alberta Williams,” and, “Finding Cleo”—approach the 20 million download mark, we take you behind the stories, into the editorial decision making, and into the struggles behind one of Canada’s most downloaded podcasts. How has the media transformed over the last five years when reporting in Indigenous communities? What is the importance of understanding the role of trauma in our communities in our news and feature stories?

February 13, 2019

7:00pm  to 9:00 pm | Room 100 | Asia Pacific Hall

SFU Centre for Dialogue | 580 West Hastings Street

Admission is free, but reserve your seat through Eventbright


Publishing undergraduate design students exhibition: The Sum of Our Memories

The PUB 431 exhibition explores different facets of memory while investigating the formats of publication and the act of publishing itself, to explore how form and content can affect the experience of reading the material at hand. The exhibition features unique student projects on the theme of memory.

Nostalgic candy will be provided to enhance the experience while supplies last.

Find out more at fb.me/pub431memories

 


Using Online Annotations to Promote Learning

Juan Pablo Alperin (Publishing Program) has been using an online annotation tool to facilitate reading-based discussions in his classes. Now he wants to share the tool with other instructors.
Juan Pablo Alperin (Publishing Program) has been using an online annotation tool to facilitate reading-based discussions in his classes. Now he wants to share the tool with other instructors.

By Mark Bachmann, Teaching and Learning Centre 

“For four years, Juan Pablo Alperin has been using an online annotation tool called Hypothes.is to generate reading-based discussions in his classes. The results have been so positive that this year he applied for a Dewey Fellowship (a teaching and learning–focused position granted by SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines) in order to spread the word.

‘I applied for the fellowship because I’m so excited,’ says Alperin, an assistant professor in the Master of Publishing program. ‘I want to use it to get more people to know about this option.'”

Read the full story on the Teaching and Learning Centre blog.


Dr Juan Alperin awarded Open Scholarship Award 2018

The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute has awarded Publishing@SFU’s Dr Juan Alperin their Open Scholarship Award for 2018, in honour of Dr Alperin’s many contributions to open scholarship and open access in his research and long-time contributions to the Public Knowledge Project (PKP).

The PKP blog has a nice write-up on it: https://pkp.sfu.ca/2018/04/16/pkps-juan-pablo-alperin-receives-open-scholarship-award

 

 


Reflections on the Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit

We were halfway through the intensive Emerging Leaders in Publishing Summit before we realized that we, the Master of Publishing cohort, were the Emerging Leaders.

It was also around this time that our conversations with industry leaders, which took the form of keynote lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and one-on-one mentorship sessions, began to change. At the beginning of the week we talked data, marketing, trends, and growth. But as we began to talk diversity, inclusion, and responsibility, we discussed not just the problems in publishing, but what we can do to make a positive difference.

Discussions centered around how to create space for marginalized groups, the importance of mentorship and support, and ways in which we can make our industry more representative and balanced—both in terms of who works in the industry and what is published. These things matter so much.

“It was intense…it was daunting and overwhelming at times,” said MPub student Jesse Savage. “It was great to have everyone come out and hear everyone’s stories, and gain some perspectives and start conversations. I think after hearing everyone talk, I’m really interested and excited to see how things are going to change…it’s pretty clear that things have to change.”

Industry leaders from a variety of publishing backgrounds (including Simon & Schuster Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, Indigo Books and Music, Rakuten Kobo, Theytus Books, Orca Book Publishers, and a variety of smaller publishing houses), along with academics and authors, also noted the impact the week of listening, discussing, and learning had on them. The deeper conversations have inspired MPub students, external participants, and professionals alike to get back to their important work with a renewed sense of fidelity and responsibility.

As Digital Broadcaster Ryan McMahon said, “We’ve made this connection, and now we’re all going to continue to work together on this conversation, and that’s a really amazing offer by everyone who participated.” McMahon also gave a special public talk on the Wednesday evening, where he problematized Canada’s recent race to Indigenize everything, and challenged people to really think about how thoughtless actions and platitudes will only further harm Indigenous Peoples. He also talked about how we need to be aware of who is in spaces—and who is missing; why the conversation about colonization needs to happen before we talk Indigenization; and why building relationships needs to be at the centre of all we do if change is going to happen.

Much of what he and other guest faculty shared led to the MPub cohort looking at publishing with fresh eyes. We leave with the language to have these hard conversations, a better understanding of what needs to change, and ideas on how we personally can affect change. I hope that moving forward from this week we will continue to not be afraid to ask hard questions, push for better representation in the industry no matter our positions, and break down barriers within the publishing industry.

As promised, the week was one of transformative change and learning.

Faculty guests included: Dave Anderson (Rakuten Kobo), Kristin Cochrane (Penguin Random House), Gregory Younging (Theytus Books), Hazel Millar (Book*hug), Will Ferguson (award-winning author), Noah Genner (BookNet Canada), Kevin Hanson (Simon & Schuster Canada), Robyn Harding(bestselling author), Rania Husseini (Indigo), Jónı́na Kirton (Indigenous author), Ruth Linka (Orca Book Publishers), Janice Lynn Mather (Bahamian author), Nita Pronovost (Simon & Schuster Canada), Felicia Quon (Simon & Schuster Canada).

Next year Emerging Leaders in Publishing will be held February 4-8, 2019 and is open to everyone interested in learning more about the publishing industry in Canada.


Publishing Unbound: Inclusivity and Accountability in Canadian Publishing

This February, Publishing Unbound is coming to Vancouver (February 9-11, 2018). This event came about as a way to bring together authors, activists, scholars, and publishing professionals in Canada to discuss inclusivity and accountability in the publishing industry.

Over the last year or so, many necessary conversations have taken place in the world known as CanLit. We have talked about the structural role racism, sexism, and colonialism play in the publishing industry; now we need to talk about what concrete steps we can take to change this industry for the better.

Publishing Unbound spans two and a half days, organized in conjunction with the Simon Fraser University Publishing Program’s Emerging Leaders Symposium (a weeklong event which fosters connections between MPub students and industry professionals). It begins on Friday, February 9 with en evening of readings and talks open to the public. Registration for this evening is currently full, but there is a waitlist in case of cancellations.

Speakers on the Friday night panel include Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, an Anishnaabe writer of mixed ancestry from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation and founder of Kegedonce Press; David Chariandy, Associate Professor of English literature at Simon Fraser University and 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner for his novel Brother (McClelland & Stewart); Jordan Abel, a Nisga’a writer from BC pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University and the winner of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize for his third book, Injun (Talonbooks); and Vivek Shraya, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary, founder of Arsenal Pulp Press’s new VS. Books imprint, and an award-winning artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. The panel will be hosted by Erin Wunker, Assistant Professor of English at Dalhousie University and author of the award-winning Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life (BookThug).

Assistant Professor in Publishing Dr. Hannah McGregor, who was instrumental in organizing Publishing Unbound, said, “The inspiration for [the event] came when I was trying to add readings to the PUB 800 [Text & Context: Publishing in Contemporary Culture seminar class] syllabus. I was new to the [Master of Publishing] program and I wanted more readings on the syllabus that spoke to race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality.”

She put out a call on Twitter, expecting to be inundated with papers and articles and assuming there was lots of work that she just hadn’t heard of.

Instead, she received an underwhelming number of responses and was struck by the realization that there is a significant gap in publishing studies as a field that speaks to the systemic barriers to access in the industry.

McGregor knew that these conversations were happening on Twitter and through other informal channels, and she wanted to find a way to host these important discussions on a more formal platform. After discussions with Heidi Waechtler of Association of Book Publishers of BC (ABPBC), Sylvia Skene of Magazine Association of BC, and Erin Wunker, Publishing Unbound was born.

While the second day and a half of this event consists of closed roundtable workshops (no audience), Publishing Unbound will be disseminating the results of the discussions to the public at a later date.

For those unable to attend the Friday night session, the event will be recorded and shared publicly.

 


Join Ryan McMahon in a discussion on Indigenizing the Media

February 7, 2018

7:00pm  to 9:00 pm | Room 1430 | Harbour Centre Campus

Admission is free

How do voices from outside the traditional settler mainstream media ensure that they are properly heard and represented? How can new media forms play a role in diversifying and enriching the media landscape? Ryan McMahon, Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker & community activator based out of Treaty #1 territory (Winnipeg), will explore these questions and invite the audience to be part of the discussion. 

More information here.