About this podcast series

In this podcast series, I chat with academics about their stories and with thought leaders outside of academia who have insights to offer. Initially the academics will be drawn mostly from my own research area of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and I look forward to expanding this as time goes on to include academic stories beyond HCI.

Why this podcast series? Academic life is changing. Increasingly we hear colleagues from every country and institution talk about being increasingly under pressure with the academic workload and demands from corporatization of academic life, about being rated on performance criteria that they have little control over (e.g., ridiculously low acceptance rates of hard worked-on research proposals), and so on. It concerns me about what sort of future we are training our current PhD students for, what sort of life they can look forward to. At the same time academic colleagues will tell you they love their work, the privilege of shaping young minds, of exploring new ideas, of potentially making a difference. However the balance is changing to the point where it is becoming unsustainable and many of us struggle to find the time to do what we are supposed to do, and especially to do it within reasonable working hours.

Something has to change. We have to change. And we can work together to make broader change happen.

I was inspired to start this podcast series based on experiences in facilitating Doctoral Colloquia. Invariably what students said were the best bits were hearing each other's stories, sharing challenges and strategies for dealing with the challenges. There was something important about knowing that you weren’t the only one experiencing these things and the shared wisdom of the group always came up with great tips.

I'm hoping we can be inspired by each other and learn a lot from each other to make different choices in our own day to day life.  And explore how we can work together for change at a broader level.

[Final note: I use the term ‘academics’ here in its broadest sense to encompass anyone working in research and academia, in any sector.]

Acknowledgements: 

Thanks to Matthias Wunsch and Peter Purgathofer for technical advice and Mark Fitzpatrick for on-site support!

Intro/outro music: All Over the World (Acoustic II) “Above & Beyond”

https://soundcloud.com/aboveandbeyond/tracks