• Isabelle Osborne

My Favourite Podcasts

I love listening the podcasts - whilst doing the cleaning, cooking, and walking to campus. Despite not being an audible learner per say, I fiercely enjoy this method of education. I use podcasts to diversify my information intake, usually listening to topical affairs as considered by different academics and professionals of all genders, races and backgrounds. Podcasts have also offered me much food for thought on topics I am deeply interested in: international politics, feminism, race and more.

Below, I’m going to share with you my favourite podcasts to listen to on a regular basis, as well as my favourite episode from each platform. From my guilty pleasure podcasts to more informative episodes, each of these resources offer something unique and insightful, and I encourage you to check them out!

For the history buffs: Dan Snow's History Hit Podcast

I love history and everything that looking backwards in time can offer us. As I finished my history studies at A-Level, I was lacking a clear, informative medium by which to immerse myself in history and historical analysis. That is, until my friend recommended Dan Snow's podcast. As each individual episode covers a huge variety of historical periods and times, Snow's podcast allows you to learn about new eras of history whilst also giving you the opportunity to solidify your prior knowledge through hearing different angles and perspectives on the period. Snow interviews experts on issues that are well-known and highly covered, but also on eras that don't get as much coverage in mainstream education. One episode that really stood out to me was 'Rape as a Weapon of War', whereby journalist and historian Christina Lamb talks about the unknown scale of rape and sexual violence in modern conflict; whilst sombre, this episode captures the unique nature of Snow's podcast, as it gives voice to issues and debates that are left out of the historical canon.

For something lighthearted yet informative: Evil Genius with Russell Cane

This is one of my guilty pleasure podcasts. In each episode, Russell Cane talks to three guests about a famous person (deemed either a genius or evil by societal standards) and challenges our preconceptions of them. Although slightly reductive in its approach, the podcast offers new information on the people concerned, in an attempt to alter our perception of them. Cane and his panel ironise the cancel culture of our society that reduces someone to heroic or evil status in an instant. From Fidel Castro to Winston Churchill, Coco Chanel to Enid Blyton, Cane's podcast traverses centuries to offer something for everyone's interests. One of the most memorable episodes was that concerning Marie Stopes, birth control pioneer, as the panel consider whether she had a sinister motive behind her advocacy for contraception. This episode captures what is brilliant about this podcast - it opens your eyes to facts you may have been unaware of or ignored, and therefore makes for fantastic listening.

For the politics fans: The Times Red Box Podcast

This is the podcast I listen to on a weekly basis without fail. Hosted by Matt Chortley, each episode covers a different current topic, which Chortley debates the surrounding issues associated with this topic alongside a guest. I discovered this podcast during the COVID-19 lockdown, at a time when I needed to be engaging with the news and the world around me, and found it a much more palatable way of learning about our country and beyond simply reading a newspaper. My favourite episodes from this podcast are those which analyse and consider the PMQs. I find these fascinating and very helpful for untangling what is been debated in the Commons, especially as Chortley and his guest(s) provide clarity in the midst of the politician's rhetoric.

For when you don't know what you're looking for: Ted X Podcasts

Another brilliant podcast, the Ted Talks cover a huge array of interesting and engaging topics - scientific, historical, literary, geographical, medical. If you're looking to learn something new, this is the podcast to listen to. Two of the standout episodes to me was 'How menopause affects the brain' and '3 questions we should ask about nuclear weapons' - this shows the sheer scale of exploration this podcast offers. I always take something away from listening to this podcast, especially those that consider global issues from a first-person, opinion perspective based on experience - the anecdotal aspect of these episodes is fascinating.

For something a little different: Doing It with Hannah Witton

This is my most recently discovered podcast, and is the wild card in comparison to the historical/political podcasts considered above. This podcast discusses all things sex, relationships, dating and bodies. I admire Hannah Witton for her confidence, openness and honesty, and her encouragement of loving our bodies. One of my favourite episodes is the very first one released, whereby Witton converses with Scarlett Curtis, another woman I admire, about their experiences with illness and how this affected their bodies. I also loved 'Racism in Sexual and Reproductive Health' with Dr Annabel Sowemimo, which focuses on Sowenmimo's 'Decolonising Contraception' initiative and highlights the serious racial injustice surrounding family planning. This is a great podcast for boosting self-confidence, feeling empowered as a woman and understanding the conversation around sex and sexual health.

Featured image courtesy of Juja Han on Unsplash. Image license can be found here. No changes were made to this image.

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