To make a long story short:
We took a break over the summer. The way FPS had been running for years is no longer sustainable at this time. So things are going to change, we aren’t sure exactly how, but we have some great ideas. We thank you for your patience and your support.
To make a long story medium:
In September 2020, some big things happened in the world of FPS. First, there was a significant change-over in staff: many key members moved on to the next chapter in their lives, and a new crop of plucky scholars took their place. We also lost funding, which meant the Games Institute at Waterloo could no longer compensate FPSers and contributors for their labour. In light of this, FPS decided to keep the team small and have a core management team that wore many hats. Oh, and a few global events took place.
Despite our loss of numbers (both in bodies and finance), we started strong, keeping our publishing weekly, our podcasts monthly, and even starting streaming. While the old guard left us with a clean house and a dedicated crew, the staff was stretched pretty thin. FPS shrunk a bit more as the year progressed, but we were still determined to keep up the same output level as previous years.
It was ironic. First Person Scholar was created partly in response to the precarious labour practices that academia is so good at, and here we were holding ourselves to similar unfair standards. We eventually burned out. I don’t want to get into the gory details, but I can say that anxiety was brutal. I’m even stressing about writing this editorial—to be honest, it might be the only productive thing I do all day. Finally, we got to a point where the only way forward was to step back. At the advice of GI Executive Director and stalwart supporter, Neil Randall, we shut down operations for July and August.
What’s happening next:
So what now? Well, those of us who are still on the team are picking up where we left off, but we have several holes to fill before we resume full operations. The EiCs—Patrick and Sabrina—have promised each other that we won’t hold ourselves to unreasonable standards and will continue to run operations smoothly without burning ourselves out. We are changing the format as well (a change we are very excited to announce!). A weekly publishing schedule worked really well for FPS for many years, but it’s not something that benefits the publication anymore for several reasons, nor something we believe we should try to force to work at this time. As the publication has grown so much in the last 10+ years, so has its operations and audiences, which means that we needed to make changes to accommodate that growth. So we’ve decided to publish an issue of contributions every term, with an annual themed issue as well! We are still hard at work to sort out the logistics of this plan, but as we assemble some awesome folks for the new FPS gang, we’ll happily unveil our new format. Podcasts are continuing for the foreseeable future (expect our next one in October) and you’ll still catch us streaming on Twitch.tv/FirstPersonScholar (though maybe not as regular as last year).
Thank you for your understanding and support. We may seem a little quiet for a bit as we get things set up behind the scenes, but you’ll hear from us soon. Feel free to send us any questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina and Patrick