I didn’t anticipate this while designing the project and its methodology but in hindsight, it should have been obvious. The fact that each episode feels like an audio essay of sorts. This process includes not just the recording of the episode but also the pre- and post-production. When I first envisioned this project, I did want to focus on diverse perspectives, multiple interpretations, and co-creating knowledge together. I suppose I just didn’t connect this with an audio essay which seems like quite an individualistic process. When I wrote essays for my master’s, I much preferred working on every aspect by myself even though some lecturers and classmates suggested working together (sharing your ideas with each other + seeking feedback on drafts etc.) Even though the podcast process is very dependent on my own work too, this coupled with the collaborative aspects actually resemble my solo solo-essay writing process a lot more than I would have imagined.

  1. I go through a lot of literature and tend to over-prepare with my notes. I end up having much more points to talk about than I can possibly fit into one episode. So I end up only referring to a few of the notes/points. However, all of the background research does inform my overall thinking of the topic and even informs other/future topics
  2. I create a detailed episode outline to plan the structure of the episode accompanied by relevant notes from my literature. These  themes emerge based on my going through the texts + a discussion with the particular guest about what topics they’re interested in exploring.
  3. I have multiple multimodal sources of literature – largely fan podcast episodes but also essays and fanfiction, depending on what I find relevant to the episode coupled with what my co-participants suggest.
  4. In some episodes, we provide a brief overview to the literature in our conversation. In others, we use the points made in some of the literature to draw connections to our own experiences and ideas. So the literature both informs and inspires our conversation.
  5. We also often summarise arguments from the different literature sources and draw parallels between them by synthesising their points as we propose our own ideas.
  6. Sometimes we even make notes of specific quotes to read out on the episodes and cite the author and context of the quotes.
  7. Often, the literature sources signpost other texts – podcast episodes, essays, media, etc. – and one source leads to another. I follow and highlight relevant references to better understand the topic.
  8. In the transcript of each episode, I have an Episode Resources section at the beginning which puts together both mine and my co-participants’ text suggestions. This acts as a bibliography of sorts.
  9. Additionally, the text of the transcript also includes links to explanations/more detailed considerations of the point/term being mentioned. I also sometimes include videos, images and gifs. I look up these additional resources after we’ve recorded the episode, while I’m creating a lightly-edited version of the transcript for the blog.
  10. With my co-hosts, once we have a planning meeting to discuss the themes and structure of our episode, my co-hosts go and research some more and refer to this research in our discussion. This is not a part of the texts we exchanged with each other before recording the podcast. I’m not the only one bringing in additional resources to the conversation – though their contribution tends to happen before mine.
  11. Once I’ve created the final transcript for the blog, I read it and make notes for the intro. I write and record the intro which is then edited into the beginning of the episode. This intro summarises the various points we’ve covered in the episode for anybody who’s interested and sort of acts as an abstract for the episode. It is also the bio on SoundCloud and Anchor which shares it on the various podcasting apps.
  12. For the blog, SoundCloud, and Instagram, I also create a list of tags which are relevant to the episode. They act as key words.

Since each episode is a conversation, it’s a much more dynamic essay where both my co-participants and I are creating an argument together through our different perspectives. We’re often both surprised and inspired by each other’s points since we only discuss the overall themes and not the details while planning the episode. These surprises often mean that we’re coming up with new ideas or remembering relevant experiences during the conversation without planning it out beforehand. We end up co-creating knowledge by drawing on multiple sources – the literature, our discussion, and our own individual experiences and knowledge. Even though I can be quite a control freak and have preferred working on essays by myself, I find that I really love this collaborative audio essay supplemented by multimodal elements. I think the conversational aspect is key since we’re all bringing different kinds of knowledge and experiences together and learning from each other. My thinking is much stronger thanks to the process and I only wish all forms of knowledge-creation in more formal educational spaces were this conversational and collaborative.