Medea Vox

An academic podcast—by and with scholars—on media, design and public engagement (and a wide range of other topics!).

Listen to this podcast through the Podcaster app on iPhone or BeyondPod for Android. Just search for ‘Medea Vox’. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or on SoundCloud (and here’s the RSS/XML feed). Medea Vox is also archived on the Internet Archive.

Do you have ideas about people we should interview? Contact Richard!

On Sex, Intimacy and Robots #33

In this episode, we talk about sex, intimacy and robots. The basis of the discussion are so-called Real Dolls, which are hyper-realistic sex dolls. Professor Jeffrey Bardzell has studied how people describe their interactions with these dolls and their motivations for using them. This research can help us understand how to design for intimacy, sexuality and self-care. With scholars Bojana Romic and Jeffrey Bardzell.

“Teaching dance is teaching empathy”: On hip-hop, cultural appropriation and being h-u-e-m-a-n #32

Dance is more than physical exercise. Dance is learning about cultures and getting to know yourself. Dance educator and Afro-diasporic dance expert Moncell Durden says that “Teaching dance is teaching empathy – dance is everywhere, it comes from everyone.” In this Medea Vox episode, we talk about hip-hop, cultural appropriation and being h-u-e-m-a-n. With scholars Moncell Durden and Erin Cory.

We need to talk about data centers #31

New research shows that data centers are not the jackpot that local politicians and energy companies claim they are: They don’t create many jobs, they are a burden to the environment and the electricity networks, and they provide little benefit to local communities. So why all the hype when there’s a new data center coming to town? With media researchers Julia Velkova and Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt.

Scholarly Research Meets Comics #30

Would you rather starve next week when the economy crashes, or in 50 years when the ecosystem collapses? In this episode, scholars Patrick McCurdy and Temi Odumosu discuss the graphic novel The Beast: Making a Living on a Dying Planet, which has been described as a unique combination of scholarly research and creative writing with the comics medium.

The Smell of Digital Zombies #29

Scholars Simon Niedenthal and Michelle Westerlaken talk about our sense of smell. Can practicing smelling things delay dementia? Why is it so hard to use odors in video games? And what do zombies really smell like?

Handwork and computing are not as separate as you may think #28

Scholars Daniela K. Rosner and Per Linde discuss why women’s design contributions are often excluded in the history of engineering and innovation. They then move on to discuss a project where menstrual product dispensers are placed in public settings – a project that explores collective responsibility for public Internet of Things applications.

Designers Against Animal Oppression #27

Eating animals is outdated. In this episode, designers and PhD students Michelle Westerlaken and Erik Sandelin discuss how to move towards a society that does not treat other animals as lesser beings. Underlying the discussion is the notion of speciesism, which is the oppression or exploitation of animals on the grounds of belonging to another species – similar to racism and sexism.

Making A Space for Alternative Normal #26

Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt is professor in media and communication studies, but she is also the mother of a child with CHARGE syndrome. In this episode, we discuss digital parenting and how social media platforms can be spaces for pushing the boundaries of being normal. Host in this episode is Hugo Boothby, lecturer in communication for development.

The Truth About Fake News? On Disinformation, Censorship and Democracy #25

Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year 2016 was post-truth. Together with “fake news”, this is one of the most widely discussed digital phenomena in recent years. Why should we care, and can we do anything about it? In this episode, media scholars Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt and Johan Farkas discuss fake news and post-truth in relation to democracy.

Comics and Politics #24

Comics have been around for more than a hundred years. For a long time, comics were mainly viewed as light entertainment for kids, but today they can also be seen as an aesthetically ambitious art form. But are comics also a politically significant medium? In this episode, comics artist Daria Bogdanska and professor Magnus Nilsson talk about comics and politics.

Degrowth is not utopian, it’s happening #23

In this episode we discuss degrowth. How can we build societies where economic growth is no longer important? This year, the first of August was the date when we had used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. Are we about to eradicate our own habitats? This conversation between scholars Miriam Lang, Ruth Kinna and Alicia Smedberg explores what needs to be done to avoid it.

The iPod Orchestra: Music for Universities #22

In this episode, Hugo Boothby and Erin Cory discuss the project Music for Universities. The project is based around generative music, which is music that is produced by a system in which degrees of randomization are defined by the composer. Central issues that are explored include audio imperfections and the narrative of technological sonic progress.

Thinking About the Future Through Fiction #21

Fiction holds the ability of imagining alternative futures. Through comics, novels and videogames, we can explore social and technical “What If’s.” In this Medea Vox episode, we discuss how fiction can contribute to our thinking about the future in ways which other schools of thought – such as the scientific – cannot. In this episode: Alicia Smedberg, Per Linde and Magnus Nilsson.

Even self-driving cars will be tinkered with #20

In recent years, the effects of digitalization are starting to appear. Sensor data and algorithms recognize who you are and then open the apartment door and turn on the lights. Data-driven AI helps you find what you want on Google, Amazon and Netflix. Datafication is everywhere. In this Medea Vox episode, Sarah Pink and Maria Engberg discuss the pitfalls of data-driven decision making, ethical data futures, and how people – of course – will tinker with the algorithms in their autonomous vehicles.

Reaching for sustainability: When knowledge and toolkits are not enough #19

Sustainability is a wicked problem. The wickedness lies in that the problems related to sustainability can’t be solved in isolation from one another—and not with toolkits that take little consideration of the context in which the problem occurs. In this Medea Vox episode, Tim May and Magnus Johansson discuss sustainability from the viewpoint of learning, co-production, and how “knowing” things not always solve everything.

Nigeria: The Paradox #18

Nigeria is a nation of paradoxes. Crime and corruption, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants. But Nigeria also has one of the largest movie-producing industries in the world, Nollywood, and Nigerian culture is spreading all over the world. In this episode, senior lecturer Tobias Denskus and Nigerian journalist Eromo Egbejule discuss contemporary Nigeria and how the representations and media images of Africa are changing.

Making Commons Work #17

The idea of commons describes practices that rely on sharing and collaboration. But how do you make commons work in practice, and not just in theory? With design researchers Anna Seravalli and Bianca Elzenbaumer.

On Media and Medicine #16

This episode is about the connections between media and medicine. What do movies, TV dramas, and social media have to do with real-life doctor-patient relationships? And how can new media technologies enhance patient-centered care? With Kirsten Ostherr and Erin Cory.

Restoring Lost Voices of History #15

The voices that are represented in history are the voices of the elites. How can we restore lost voices and open up new perspectives on history? This Medea Vox episode is a conversation between Carolyn Steedman and Magnus Nilsson.

Sustainable Urban Development: What Role Can Culture Play? #14

Culture can be a tool for change across boundaries. In this Medea Vox episode, we’re discussing culture in regard to sustainable urban development. What role can culture play? Can we look at culture as a dimension to—or a pillar of—sustainability that is equal to environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic viability? This episode is a conversation between Jordi Pascual, coordinator for culture in the organization United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Asko Kauppinen, associate professor in English and Cultural Studies at Malmö University; and Clara Norell, director of ISU, the Institute for Sustainable Urban Development in Malmö.

The Future of Learning (Or, why school can never be as good as a cool video game) #13

New technologies have great potential to support education. However, bringing innovation to the school, university, learner, and teacher is a challenging endeavor. In this Medea Vox episode, we discuss how new technologies change the way people think and learn. More in particular, we discuss games, project-based learning and data analytics. This is a conversation between David Williamson Shaffer, Morten Misfeldt and Daniel Spikol.

Why Corporations Cannot Solve Climate Change #12

Large corporations, capitalism and technological innovation will solve climate change. That is the story we’re being told, but is it true? Professor Daniel Nyberg wants us to stop believing in that narrative, which he describes as a “corporate myth.” This myth is dangerous because it prevents us from thinking of other solutions to climate change, such as regulations and building stronger societal institutions. Host is Peter Parker.

Bicycling is About Slowing Down #11

For a hundred years, we’ve been burning fossil fuels to get from point A to point B. Now, when climate change is accelerating, we need other means than the car for individual transportation. Is bicycling part of the solution? This is a conversation between Staffan Schmidt, senior lecturer in design, and Jason Henderson, professor in geography and environment at San Francisco State University.

50 Years of Research, Teaching and Politics #10

Marju Lauristin describes herself as an academic spy in a political environment. In this Medea Vox episode, she talks about what life as a scholar was like in Soviet times—and how she brings her political experiences into teaching and research. Host is Pille Pruulman-Vengerfeldt.

Being A Researcher-Activist #9

To combine reflection with action is not as easy as one may think. Research ethics, feminism and activism are some of the topics that Mary Brydon-Miller and Maria Persdotter discuss in this episode of Medea Vox.

The Virtual Reality Hype #8

Virtual reality is celebrated as the ultimate medium for storytelling. Some even say that virtual reality can make you feel empathy in ways that no other media could. In this episode of Medea Vox, we gather three media scholars to discuss the concepts of augmented and virtual reality. Should we believe the hype?  With Jay David Bolter, Susan Kozel and Maria Engberg.

On Lifelogging and the Quantified Self #7

Many of us track our everyday activities. But what does the era of digital storage do to our concepts of identity and self-representation? This is a conversation between Molly Schwartz and Jacek Smolicki, both PhD candidates in media and communication studies at Malmö University.

On Museums and Nationalism #6

Modern migration and globalization issues are forcing museums around the world to think about their role in society. Can they balance the pressures of nationalism and multiculturalism? With Temi Odumosu and Peggy Levitt.

Feeling at Home With Internet of Things #5

In this episode of Medea Vox, we discuss what a “smart” home is—and what new ways of being together the Internet of Things will enable. With Clint Heyer, Anuradha Reddy and David Cuartielles.

On the Future of Book Design #4

Author and designer Zach Dodson discusses his book Bats of the Republic in relation to book design, hybrid narratives and the future of enhanced books. Maria Engberg leads the conversation.

Eat Your Plastic-Munching Pests (It’s All In Your Head) #3

In this episode, we discuss how plastic-eating worms might influence how we will live with plastics, and what it’s like to eat worms. With Pille Pruulman-Vengerfeldt, Åsa Ståhl and Kristina Lindström.

Why Reading Books is (not) Important #2

What is reading? Why is it relevant in today’s society? And, are Swedish teenagers really as bad at reading as it seems? With Pille Pruulman-Vengerfeldt, Alexandra Borg and Maria Engberg.

Extremist Communication #1

A discussion on how political extremists use the internet and social media to promote their cause. With Michael Krona.