Please listen to the audio or read the text to understand what participating in the project means. It might seem like a LOT of information, but it will help you understand what you need to do, how much time you need to commit, and your rights as a participant. Once you know all the details, you can decide whether you want to participate or not. As a reward for all the reading/listening, there’s a ridiculous photo of my cat at the bottom of this page.
All the images included here have alt text enabled with written descriptions for your screen readers to capture and read aloud, if required. If you have any additional communication requirements either now or at any other stage during the project, please let me know so we can figure out a solution together.
Title of the project
Marginally Fannish: Fan Podcasts as Sites of Public Pedagogy, Intersectionality, and Critical Literacy
What is the project about?
I’m a researcher at the University of Leeds and I’m studying online fan podcasts for my PhD project.
Most books, movies, and TV shows tend to focus on the lives and perspectives of a limited group of people. For many other groups of people, our representations and experiences are either missing, superficially included, or heavily stereotyped. What I’m really interested in is the ways in which these practices are challenged in fan podcasts. Fans from those groups which are marginalised in mainstream media are increasingly turning towards online fan communities to make their voices heard.
In my project, I’m looking at the ways in which a selection of Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan podcasts raise awareness about these issues. More importantly (and excitingly!), I’m also going to be launching my own fan podcast. In my fan podcast, I want to talk to fans from diverse backgrounds about their favourite fictional worlds.
Since my project consists of looking at fictional texts through an intersectional lens, I want to explore different intersectional themes in our conversations. These include gender, gender expression and gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, national/regional origin, and age (though I’m very open to feedback on these themes based on which I will happily edit or expand this list).
Why do I want you to take part?
My PhD fan podcast is inspired by fandom culture where I want to create knowledge collaboratively through conversations with other fans – where we can learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives.
I’m especially trying to highlight those voices which are marginalised or missing in media texts and within fandom. For example, as an Indian fan living in the UK, I rarely see complex representations of my experiences in most of my favourite texts or in fan texts. If you think your experiences are invisible in mainstream media texts too, I would especially love to talk to you. While I’m largely focusing on Western media texts and fandoms, you may have a different perspective, which I’d be super interested in learning about too!
I’m currently planning on having ten episodes with guests. Each episode will be framed around a single intersectional theme, though of course we’re not limited to talking only about that specific theme. Based on your interests and experiences, we can decide which episode you would like to be a part of. I’m currently planning on having one guest per episode. But if I have more than one guest who really wants to talk about the same theme, we can have more guests on too!
The current list of ten themes are: gender, gender expression and gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, disability, religion, national/regional origin, and age.
For example, we can talk about how students and professors with disabilities navigate Hogwarts; racial diversity in Doctor Who; representations of different sexual orientations in Supernatural; or religion and national origin in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This podcast is open to anybody from any part of the world who considers themselves a fan and is interested in talking about any (or more!) of the themes through the lens of their favourite books, TV shows, or movies. You don’t already need to have thoughts about these themes – that’s what our podcast episode will explore. If you already DO have thoughts about any of these themes, that’s great too! My project is open to all kinds of fans.
Do you have to take part?
That’s totally up to you! You can decide whether or not you want to appear on the podcast. If you want some time to decide or need any other information, please feel free to get in touch with me. My contact information is at the bottom of this page. If you decide to take part, and then change your mind, that’s fine too! All you have to do is let me know – you don’t have to tell me why if you don’t want to.
If you go ahead with participation, I will send you a consent form to sign to make sure you know your rights as a participant and that you know how the podcast will be used and shared in my PhD project. I will also send you a copy of the University of Leeds’s research participant privacy notice which tells you how your data will be used and protected.
What do you have to do?
The first criteria for participation is you have to consider yourself a fan of any book, movie, or TV show (or any combination of the three!). It would help if you’re familiar with Harry Potter and/or Doctor Who, but you don’t have to consider yourself a member of either fandom. Our conversations will include your favourite fictional world.
If you agree to participate, we will discuss what themes and media you would like to talk about. The podcast is premised on both of us drawing on our personal experiences and the ways in which they colour our interpretations of our favourite media. We will both share our experiences and perspectives within the framework of the fictional world. However, it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable discussing and what you aren’t.
Once we decide which episode you will appear on, I will send you an episode of a fan podcast based on that theme. You are also very highly encouraged to share a fan text with me – this can be a podcast episode, fanfiction, a meme, a video, a Facebook post, an article, an essay, fan art. Or you can share a book chapter, movie scene or TV show episode. Basically, anything you can think of which fits the theme. These fan texts we exchange with each other will form the framework of our discussion. This is so that our podcast episode isn’t an interview where I ask you questions. Instead, it will be an informal conversation where we can use the shared fan texts as inspiration to talk about our own ideas about the theme and our favourite worlds. We will be able to talk in-depth about any topic we’re passionate about.
The podcast episode will last about 30-45 minutes. To record the episode, you will need access to the internet and a smartphone or a headset with a microphone which you can attach to a computer. You will need to be available to record one podcast episode. Once I’ve recorded all the podcast episodes for the project with other guests, I will spend a few months analysing these episodes. Once I’m done analysing, I would love to share my analysis with you so you can tell me what you think. This may be in the form of another podcast episode with a few other guests. Alternatively, you can share the feedback with me individually either by recording your reaction or as a text message or email. This latter process may happen many months after you first appear on the podcast but it will be based on when you’re available.
So, to summarise, the time commitment for you involves:
- Discuss which podcast episode you’ll be a part of and the topics we may discuss
- Listen to the podcast episode I send
- Send me a fan text (or book chapter, movie scene or TV show episode) which you have also read/watched/listened to
- Record the podcast episode
- Provide feedback on my analysis
What will we talk about?
Since the episode won’t be an interview and will be more of an informal conversation around a certain theme, we will decide what we will talk about together. It will primarily involve the book/movie/TV show we’re a fan of, the fan texts we exchange, and our experiences and perspectives on the intersectional theme of the episode. We can decide a format together before we record the episode.
After we have recorded, I will check with you that you’re happy with the episode being published online. If you want to add, change or exclude anything, we can decide how to do that before the episode is shared.
Will you be recorded?
I will use Skype to record our conversation for the podcast episode. This podcast episode will be uploaded on my blog and will be openly accessible to everybody on the internet. The podcast episode will be online even after my PhD project is over. I will also type up our conversation on the episode and share this on my blog. This is to improve accessibility for those people who would like to read the episode as they listen.
I will not record any conversations we have outside the podcast episode. However, if these conversations are helpful to my project, I may ask for your permission to include them while I’m writing about my research.
What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
Since this is a digital project where our podcast conversation will be available online, there is the risk of attracting trolls. We may get attention from people who dislike discussions about intersectionality. We may also have people who disagree with our interpretations and conversations and are very aggressive about it. My podcast will be hosted on my blog where the settings require me to approve of any comments before they appear on the blog. I will reject any comments which are meant to harass either you or me. When I share podcast episodes on my personal social media profiles, I will delete any abusive comments if they appear. However, if you or other participants or any followers of the project share the podcast episodes in other social media spaces, I won’t be able to monitor the comments there. Please be sure you’re okay with this risk of being involved in the project before agreeing to participate.
Additionally, using your own experiences to explore feelings of being marginalised based on your identity can be uncomfortable, emotional and/or upsetting – even when these discussions are framed within a fictional context. You will be able to decide what you would like to talk about and what topics are off-limits.
Mind is a mental health charity whose website offers information about online mental health, tips to deal with online interactions and bullying, and a list of useful contacts and helplines. In case you do face cyberbullying, I would highly recommend not only getting in touch with me but also visiting this page and using the resources provided.
You also need to commit some time to participating in the project. I will try my best to schedule this based on your availability and convenience. There will be no travel required. Your participation will be completely online.
If you agree to participate but then change your mind, you can easily withdraw from the project by just messaging me. Once we record a podcast episode, you will have up to a week to let me know whether you no longer wish for the podcast to be shared. Once the podcast and an accompanying text transcript are published online, you will have another week to decide you no longer want to participate. In that case, I can delete the podcast episode and transcript even after it has been uploaded but at that stage, we can’t control who has already accessed it while they were online.
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
While there are no tangible benefits to participation, you can help me with an experimental research methodology where I’m trying to engage in collaborative creation of knowledge. We will be co-participants exploring the topic together and developing new ideas through our conversations with each other. You can engage with knowledge and culture in ways which matter to you. You will also be able to provide comments and critiques on my final analysis. Your voice will play a prominent role in the research and in the final PhD thesis. You can help challenge the boundaries which separate people within academia and those beyond the university system. You will be a part of a non-traditional project that sheds light on important aspects of fans and fandom which aren’t usually considered in academia and in mainstream media. And hopefully, you will have fun talking about your favourite media!
What type of personal information do you need to give and why is this information necessary?
I will only need to collect a limited amount of your personal information which is relevant to the project. Depending on which themed episode you will appear on, this may be what you identify as in terms of your race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression and gender identity, class, age, religion, national/regional origin, whether you have any physical or mental disabilities. This information is relevant because your experiences and perspectives based on your identity may shape the ways in which you interpret your favourite texts.
Due to my project’s emphasis on co-creation of knowledge, I would like to attribute ideas and insights to you by using your name since I would like to treat both academic and non-academic sources with equal respect and reference them accordingly.
In case you would rather not be credited or would rather keep your fan and personal identities separate, you can choose not to use your full name or your real name and instead adopt a pseudonym. In this case, your name will not be stored or shared, but details of any self-identified marginalised identity will be. If you do decide to adopt a pseudonym and reveal a specific facet of your identity, such as gender, national origin, religion etc., it may be possible that someone you know listens to this, recognises your voice, and realises it’s you talking on the podcast.
I will be unable to anonymise any data on the podcast or on the blog. With current and future technology, it may be possible to trace quotes and comments back to you. For example, voice recognition software may be employed to identify people. On the podcast, I will not be using any technology to disguise your voice. Thus, it may be possible for your acquaintances to recognise you on the podcast, even if you adopt a pseudonym. Software may also be used to link emails to usernames and other social media profiles and thereby identify people who post comments on the blog using a pseudonym. I don’t have the resources to make provisions to ensure that the online data generated by my project in the form of podcast episodes and blog comments will be protected from data mining software or any other current or future technology which harvests data for research and/or commercial purposes. Please be aware of these risks and decide whether you’re okay with them before agreeing to take part.
How will I use, share and store your data?
I will encourage all my co-participants to share the podcast widely. But you don’t need to do this if you don’t want to. Anybody on the internet can listen to our podcast episode since the podcast will be publicly available. However, when it comes to any other conversations we have before or after your episode, I will check with you whether it’s okay to include it in my thesis. If you would prefer, we can keep those specific conversations confidential.
All the data which you have agreed to share will also be stored in the University of Leeds archive. Other researchers may use this information in their own projects.
What will happen to the results of the research project?
I will analyse and write about our podcast episode for my final PhD thesis. I will share the podcast episode on my social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). I may use excerpts from the episode and analysis to write academic chapters, journal articles, and conference presentations. I may also end up using the episodes in future research projects or continue the podcast once the project is over. If you are using a pseudonym, your real name will not be used in any communication about the research results.
Who is organising/ funding the research?
This project is being sponsored by the University of Leeds. Before starting the project, the project proposal was studied by the ethics review committee at the university. The project had to be approved by them before I could begin.
My university policy dictates that I need to tell you about all the things participation consists of before you agree to participate. However, I don’t want to restrict this to just the beginning of the project. If you have any questions or doubts now or in future, you can get in touch with me during any stage of the project.
Facebook: Parinita Shetty
Blog: Marginally Fannish
If you want to participate, please let me know so I can email you a consent form to sign.
Thank you for considering being a part of my project and for reading all this information! Here’s the promised photo of Luffy with a bonus photo thrown in.