A manifesto outlining eight beliefs, practices, and commitments that guided this podcasting project.
1. Openness is not an objective good.
While openness can improve access to information, it can also reproduce inequities found in academia by centring Eurocentric, colonial narratives and ways of knowing and dictating whose knowledge counts. As Zoe Wake Hyde points out in the episode on open publishing practices (episode to come), openness is one tool among many tools that can be used to create a more equitable education system, but it is not the only tool and may not even be the right tool in all instances.
2. Education and design are always political.
As bell hooks (and others) have said, “No education is politically neutral.” Our politics and positionality always influence how we teach (or design). To acknowledge my own politics and positionality, I am a feminist, and I work to ensure my feminism is trans inclusive and does not centre white women. I am also a white, abled, bisexual, cisgender woman in my mid 20s, living on stolen Indigenous land. These things impact how I understand my politics, and they have influenced my approach to this project.
3. Epistemic injustice is systemic.
In Design Justice, Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock explains that when we identify biases, we need to understand them as symptoms of the “matrix of domination” (a concept developed by Dr. Patricia Hill Collins) rather than one-off mistakes. This podcast recognizes justice and equity do not happen by accident, as we are operating in a harmful system. It features guests who bring different perspectives, offer critiques on how open education reproduces epistemic injustice, and are exploring alternative ways forward.
4. Podcasting is a feminist praxis.
Praxis is the process of putting theory into practice and bringing practice back into theory. So much of my understanding of podcasting and feminism developed while listening to feminist podcasters who practiced public-facing, community-engaged work outside the bounds of media and academic institutions. As such, I see the two as tightly connected and send my gratitude to Dr. Hannah McGregor (Secret Feminist Agenda) and Sandy Hudson and Nora Loreto (Sandy and Nora Talk Politics) for the work they do.
5. Openness without consent is violent.
Tara Robertson pushes us to ask Who is Missing? and to reject the idea that all things need to be open. She stresses that openness without consent causes harm. And as Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom has argued, the risk of public-facing work is greater for marginalized people, who are more likely to experience high levels of harassment. I will allow my guests to review and revise questions in advance, select the license for their episode, and approve the episode before sharing publicly. I will make any requested edits.
6. Accessibility is a minimum requirement.
Disabled people have long argued that accessibility is always a minimum requirement: It is not a nice-to-have or something that can be added later. I will create and maintain a website that is accessible, always release podcast episodes at the same time as transcripts, and ask guests about their accessibility needs and accommodate them. My practices are influenced by the Protocols for Crip Podcasting by Aimi Hamraie, Jarah Moesch, Kevin Gotkin, Kelsie Acton, and Josh Halstead.
7. Critique is valuable and welcome.
I am aware of some of the limitations of my approach so far (everyone I interviewed lives in North America , has at least a masters degree–or almost does–and most work in post-secondary institutions). And I will remain open and responsive to critique. I will also continually reflect on questions like, What am I not considering? Who is missing? How are my biases showing up here? As bell hooks said in Teaching to Transgress, “If we fear mistakes, doing things wrongly, constantly evaluating ourselves, we will never make the academy a culturally diverse place where scholars and the curricula address every dimension of that difference.”
8. I design this work to engage a broader community, not to sit in an institutional repository.
My community is those working openly to make education a more equitable space and those offering critical perspectives around openness. These people do so much of their work in the open: through podcasting, blogging, tweeting, and other means of public engagement. I follow in their footsteps by designing this project to live online, to be easily shared, and to not (just) sit in an institutional repository.