Shaw Community

MRU and Shaw Team Up On Community Podcast Initiative to Give Voice to Marginalized Communities

May 25, 2021

(Calgary) — Mount Royal University is partnering with Shaw Communications Inc. to introduce a new podcasting initiative that will support and amplify community voices and stories.

Launching this fall, the Community Podcast Initiative (CPI) at Mount Royal’s School of Communication Studies is a first-of-its-kind program for a Canadian university that will see students and the community develop, produce and promote storytelling through podcasting focused on giving a voice to marginalized and underrepresented groups.

“Our initiative is focused on amplifying voices from underrepresented groups,” said Meg Wilcox, a journalism professor and one of the program’s co-leads. “And to do that, we plan to collaborate with people to find authentic and inclusive ways to share stories you aren’t hearing in traditional media. We are grateful to Shaw for its support of this vital project.”

Facilitated by the Journalism and Broadcast Media Studies program and powered by Shaw through a generous $100,000 contribution to the initiative, the CPI will open doors to innovative audio storytelling. This initiative will help establish MRU as a national and international leader in podcasting education, keeping with MRU’s focus on personalized learning and incubating change-making projects.

“We live in a world where news travels fast and topics about race, identity and diversity are frequently at the forefront of the conversation,” said Chethan Lakshman, Vice President, External Affairs, Shaw Communications. “The CPI will not only create an open and educational platform for these important conversations to happen, it will help develop students’ skills so they can better share the stories so important to our communities.”

In an era of rapidly shifting media and an explosion of digital storytelling, podcasting has enjoyed enormous growth with its emphasis on conversations that matter. That popularity has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek context and perspective amidst a sea of information and misinformation. Meanwhile, issues related to the Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) community have led to protests and demands for change.

 

To meet this demand, The Community Podcast Initiative will:

● support podcast production by providing technical space, recording equipment and software, writing strategies and training for students and community organizations;

● advance podcast knowledge through workshops, conferences and awards for podcast excellence;

● use podcasting to advance reconciliation and storytelling from Indigenous communities;

● boost marginalized voices including stories produced by and with BIPOC communities;

● maintain a hub of podcast content produced by MRU and community groups;

● provide research on podcasting and its role in knowledge mobilization. 

 The initiative is a natural evolution from the MRU’s existing podcast work. In 2019, for example, third-year students worked with MRU’s Iniskim Centre to produce “Raising Reconciliation,” a podcast series built around discussions with Indigenous community members. Topics ranged from adjusting to campus life as first-generation students and dealing with racism, to experiences of child apprehension and intergenerational trauma, and — for non-Indigenous students — what it means to be a good ally.

More information about the Community Podcasting Initiative can be found at https://thepodcaststudio.ca/.

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About Mount Royal

Mount Royal University is one of Canada's top destinations for undergraduate studies. It offers small class sizes and personalized student services within a scholarly community renowned for academic excellence and a focus on teaching and learning. Founded in 1910, Mount Royal remains dedicated to the success of its students. Today, nearly 15,000 students choose from 12 bachelor degrees and 35 majors. More than 100,000 Mount Royal alumni are contributing to their communities worldwide.

About Shaw

Shaw is a leading Canadian connectivity company. The Wireline division consists of Consumer and Business services. Consumer serves residential customers with broadband Internet, Shaw Go WiFi, video and digital phone. Business provides business customers with Internet, data, WiFi, digital phone, and video services. The Wireless division provides wireless voice and LTE data services.

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