With my editorial work, I hope to explore how online spaces can be used to make academic ideas and projects accessible to non-academic publics, as well as how they can work to increase interactions between people inside and outside university communities.
I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of agnès films, an online community of women and feminist filmmakers. We also welcome men who are interested in feminist and female-centered work. Our goal is to support the work of emerging and established women and feminist filmmakers. In order to do so, we review woman-made films of any length and genre as along as they are on the festival circuit, we interview filmmakers, and we write analytical articles profiling filmmakers or a particular aspect of their work. We also provide a forum for filmmakers to discuss their creative journeys through filmmaking narratives. For those embarking on their adventures behind the camera, we have articles giving advice on how to approach technical and craft aspects of film and video production, as well as how to distribute work.
Since myself, fellow editor Denah Johnston, and most of our reviewers are all academics, we have turned agnès films into a place where filmmakers and academics can come together. We believe this union is important because both groups have much to gain from each other. Academics who work with film but don’t produce it benefit from having a better understanding of how the filmmaking process works and from interacting with working filmmakers, while filmmakers benefit since their work can gain recognition, as well as reach wider audiences if it is written about in scholarly publications or used in the classroom. Creating a gathering place between these two groups, as well as those who straddle both worlds, like Denah, myself, and most of our reviewers, has become an important focus for us.
As the editor-in-chief of agnès films, I work closely with our contributors and reviewers through multiple drafts of their work. I also work with our editorial assistant and social media specialist, Katherine Grimes, to find ways to create greater visibility for our community through our Facebook group and our Twitter account and by reaching out to film festivals, filmmaking communities, schools, and individual filmmakers and scholars who might be interested in joining us. Seeing the agnès films community grow and become increasingly important to its members has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career and I look forward to the new directions in which the community will go in the future.
In the summer of 2009, I was invited to join a group of fellow Purdue Ph.D. students—Joshua Prenosil, Cristin Elder, Megan Schoen, Ehren Pflugfelder, Caitlan Spronk, and Allen Brizee—in founding a peer-reviewed online rhetoric journal. The idea was to publish short articles (we had a 2,000-word limit, which we later expanded to 2,500 words) dealing with the kind of timely topics that lose some of their relevance when going through a long review process. After much discussion we settled on the name Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society for our venture. We spent almost a year in different committees—I was in the web design and the text development committees—researching other online journals and scholarly publications to understand how we fit into what was already out there and to find our own unique voice.
One of our goals from the beginning was to publish the sort of rhetorical scholarship that would be useful to Rhetoric and Composition scholars but also appeal to other fields and to non-academics interested in rhetorical thinking. Due to the manageable length and accessible tone of our articles, we also hoped that they would become a resource for faculty looking to challenge their students with scholarship that addresses current events. It was also important to make Present Tense the sort of journal where articles on race, gender, and sexuality would be published, which is why we made a concerted effort to have a review board as diverse as the articles we hope to see in our issues.
As the journal’s multimedia editor, I have sought to foster the publication of articles that make extensive use of video, images, and hyperlinking, assisting authors with technological questions and helping define the journal’s aesthetic when it comes to articles that make use of the many multimedia possibilities available in an online journal. Not only has the journal thrived since its first issue but collaborating with my fellow editors has been an exciting and edifying experience.