Public Writing: Turning an Academic Paper into a Blogpost

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Among other things, this has been a summer of canceled conferences. In fact, the biggest gathering of Canadian humanities scholars, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, was canceled outright due to the pandemic. I was supposed to deliver, along with James Skidmore of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, a workshop on writing for public audiences. It was disappointing, but it also became an opportunity to re-think how we were delivering the information. As a result, we made it available to a wider audience of grad students – not just those who could make it to London, ON for Congress.  

The same can be true for those papers you never got to present! It can be hard, especially as humanities scholars, to articulate how our work is relevant outside of the context of academia, but there are people out there whose lives, opinions, beliefs, understandings – whose minds can be changed because of it. Sharing our research through accessible, engaging writing, like blog posts, can bring new people into the conversation in unexpected and affirming ways. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, people who share their work online get cited more

So, if you submitted an abstract for a conference that didn’t happen, consider this an opportunity to re-think how you share that information. If you wrote an essay for a class that you think is really cool, share those insights with a larger audience than just your professor! If you’ve got a research project you want to get feedback on from your peers, colleagues, mentors, and participants, write about it online where they can see it. Start by filling out Part 1 of the workbook and checking out some exemplars.  Then, watch the webinar and fill out Part 2 of the worksheet as you listen. Afterwards, feel free to make an appointment with a WCC staff member to turn your outline into a blog post!

For access to the webinar recording, we have linked it on our workshops page.

Here at the WCC, we love to help people with all kinds of communication. You might be used to coming to us for support writing essays, dissertations, and journal articles, but we’re also happy to help you work on things like blog posts. Learning a new genre of communication can be scary, but that’s why we’re here to help.

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