Community over competition — that’s the message that Toronto based all-around-creative Taylor Reynolds has been cultivating with her new podcast/digital zine project, Best Practice. The theme of the show is simple: leveraging a space that’s predominantly run by men, Taylor facilitates conversations with female creatives in order to share their experiences, their obstacles, and most importantly, their wins, in hopes of inspiring and motivating others. We chatted with her about getting started, and plans for a Season 2.
So frequently I found myself in the same conversations with friends; conversations about wanting to create something but not feeling like they have the resources or the connections to do so. You need people to bounce ideas off of, to check your work, to inspire you and to push you when you want to give up, to remind you of your worth and say things like, “charge more for that damn freelance project.” But for some creatives that network isn’t as inherent or accessible.
This is why I decided to create Best Practice, a podcast show dedicated to celebrating and maintaining mentorship among women. In the fall of 2016 the project took form, with the help of Kaylyn Jung, Kate Wilson, Kassi Bellamy, David Sutrin, Holly Hudson, and Adrienna Bailey. Technically, Best Practice is a Ryerson thesis project so the show has been facilitated through the school, although I plan to continue it for as long as possible. We were also lucky enough to receive a grant from the Allan Slaight Fund, which works to support radio-related projects. And we really have the community to thank as well, because of all this we’ve been able to go beyond the expected caliber of the show.
The idea is to share the stories of women within creative industries; to create a space where we can have the necessary conversations about challenges and processes we undergo. Ultimately, it’s to break down the walls within the industry, to inspire conversation and to not romanticize the hard work along the way.
Moving from the fringe to the mainstream within the last few years, the podcast medium has grown more popular. Its pop-cult newness means that it’s still not clearly defined, and it works in our favour, using its fluidity to create a personal sense of mentorship. The information is easily digestible and the conversational nature is raw and thought provoking. It’s these qualities that directly relate to our tone and purpose.
Further still, we wanted to add another element to this experience to round out a more complete picture. We decided a zine featuring the work of our featured artists was the perfect way. It pairs the voice of the artist to their stories, the hustle to the end product, and ultimately it can humanize the experience for our listeners.
So far we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to chat with Jessica Foley, Dani Roche, Leeor Wild, Reanna Evoy, and many more talented women (although I really want to interview Leta Sobierajski next season.) I read once that one of the hardest things she’s had to overcome is having the confidence to working solo (a lot of her shots required her to self-timer). It was something I was personally experiencing, feeling like I wasn’t a strong enough photographer to work alone, and it really resonated with me. I felt this humanizing experience when viewing her work afterwards, and that played into the development of the zine and its purpose in the project as a whole.
Ultimately, what we’re aiming to figure out is: how can we translate this sense of community and empowerment beyond our screens? We’re hoping to open up the dialogue beyond the podcast space with IRL events. And, Season 1 is almost complete with the exception of our live recording! Come by Free on January 26th to be part of a talk hosted by comedian Lauren Mitchell featuring artists Joy and Rose Broadbent.
While the completion of Season 1 is the end of round one, it’s only the beginning of a much bigger conversation.