When work went fully remote in 2020 and office life in the Department of Communication Studies ground to a halt, one of the things we missed most were chance meetings with colleagues and students. Gone were those unexpected, in-person conversations that often sprout new ideas.
Professor Greg Dickinson missed the spontaneity of department interactions (and we missed his regular visits to our offices with candy bowl extended). As Spring 2020 gave way to nationwide social unrest following the killing of George Floyd, and the contentious election season bore down on us as much as the thick smoke drifting east from the ever-growing Cameron Peak Fire, Dickinson saw an opportunity to engage with colleagues in a new (albeit highly scheduled) format: the podcast.
Speaking Well covers the issues and circumstances present in our world, such as living and working from home during a pandemic, reckoning with systemic racism, coping with social isolation, and navigating a highly charged and controversial election. More importantly, it addresses those issues by drawing on the expertise of Department of Communication Studies faculty.
“More than anything,” Dickinson says, “I wanted to create a platform for introducing folks to the breadth of the work we do and give our faculty an opportunity to share helpful communication tips and takeaways they have distilled from years of research and teaching.”
How do you best support your friends during a time of need? What are a few tips for surviving these contentious political times? What was the seed of the ACT Human Rights Film Festival? What’s the purpose of voting? How do you improve your public speaking to make change? Dickinson explores these questions and more throughout the first season of Speaking Well.
Podcasts are produced in partnership with KCSU 90.5 FM and hosted on their website. Throughout the year interviews were recorded in a variety of formats including host and guest together in a large studio with proper social distancing measures in place, fully remote interviews using a web-based feed, and a combination in-studio and fully remote. As a result, listeners can hear differences between the sound of host and guest audio – just one more example of the pandemic’s impact on our daily operations.
Dickinson will return to the studio for a new season of Speaking Well in late August.