June 4th, 2020 | 35 mins 50 secs
chris dolan podcast, coronavirus scotland, covid-19, covid-19 scotland, dominic cummings, scotland
UK deaths from Covid-19; Dominic Cummings and UK government hypocrisy; writing under lockdown and Spain's emergence from lockdown. And trying to understand people you don't understand. Glasgow writer Chris Dolan.
May 22nd, 2020 | 21 mins 25 secs
aminat chokobaeva, bishkek, coronavirus, covid-19, kyrgyzstan
Until March of this year, Aminat Chokobaeva was based in Kazakhstan, where she's an academic at Nazarayev University. She returned to her home city of Bishkek in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan in March this year as her grandmother was gravely ill. Aminat is still there, weeks after her grandmother died. She shares her experiences of losing a loved one and planning a funeral in lockdown times, and the prospect of teaching online for the foreseeable future. And we also touch on the fascinating nature of Aminat's grandmother's work - she was an administrator during the years of Soviet rule and the early years of independence.
This conversation was recorded on Monday 18th May 2020.
May 14th, 2020 | 24 mins 2 secs
australia, centrelink, coronavirus, covid-19, dole bludger, jobseeker, tom hawking
What happens when a system that's designed to be cruel to the 'undeserving' poor suddenly has to be used to help the 'deserving' poor as well?
In March 2020 freelance writer Tom Hawking wrote in the Guardian Australia about his encounter with Centrelink, the Australian government's agency responsible for administering welfare payments.
Tom's piece touches on sticky questions like (and I'm paraphrasing here) "What becomes of the treasured myth of the dole bludger if we're all on the dole?" So I gave him a ring and we had a chat - about how each Australian government tries to outdo its predecessor with a 'tough-on-benefits-claimants' stance, and about working as a freelance writer when nobody's commissioning pieces.
Tom Hawking's piece for Guardian Australia is here:
'The Australian welfare system has always been needlessly cruel. Now it's punishing half the country.'
And you can find more of his work here:
May 12th, 2020 | 29 mins 53 secs
boris johnson, chris dolan, coronavirus, covid-19, glasgow, lockdown, nicole sturgeon, scotland, scotland covid-19, social distance
What happens when you have one state containing four countries and one of them starts to relax lockdown rules before the other three, even as infection rates continue rising? Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are about to find out. The UK government led by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on May 10th that restrictions would begin to ease, kind of, but kind of not. Well, maybe.
Confused? You're not alone. From Scotland, writer Chris Dolan gives me his perspective on the Scottish response to the muddled message emerging from Westminster, as well as his personal thoughts on how we might shape the future world into which we're now headed.
May 11th, 2020 | 29 mins 57 secs
collette cuningham, contact tracing, coronavirus, covid-19, ireland, social distance, ucc, ucc public health
'Contact tracing.' It's just one of the terms that's become part of our everyday vocabulary in the past few months (like coronavirus and social distancing and flattening the curve.) But what does it mean? How does it actually work?
'It's a bit like being an investigator,' Colette Cunningham tells me in this conversation. She is a lecturer in the school of public health at University College Cork, in Ireland. She’s worked in public health for many years in many different countries, so she brings - if I'm being honest - an awesome range of experience to her work during Covid-19 crisis in Ireland.
May 7th, 2020 | 25 mins 19 secs
coronavirus, covid-19, informal settlements, land portal, land rights, land tenure, montreal, quebec, stacey zammit
Montreal in Quebec has been especially hard hit by Covid-19. Stacey Zammit joins me to reflect on the uncertainty facing the city as the spring arrives. She also talks about her work with Land Portal. Land Portal's website describes its purpose pretty concisely: 'Securing Land Rights Through Open Data.' So we touch on the unfolding impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable populations worldwide, particularly those many of whom are dependent on casual labour and live in informal settlements.
You can find Land Portal's work here:
May 7th, 2020 | 45 mins 6 secs
archive of memory, colombo, coronavirus, covid-19, curfew, disappearance, malathi de alwis, migrant workers, singapore, sri lanka
This is a fascinating conversation. At the time of writing (7th May 2020) Sri Lanka has officially recorded nine deaths from Covid-19, which is a very small proportion of the population. Malathi de Alwis is a socio-cultural anthropologist based in Colombo. She joined me to offer some context for the government's handling of the pandemic and the idea of curfew; the impact of migrant workers from Sri Lanka returning home; and the racialisation of victims of Covid-19. And we chat about Malathi's research into disappearance, the uses of maternalism in political protest, and the importance of remembering. All of which offer a deeper context for what's happening today.
We spoke on 6th May 2020.
May 5th, 2020 | 36 mins 36 secs
amanda hargreaves, coronavirus, covid-19, italia, italy, lockdown, rome, scots abroad, springtime in rome
It's the first day of post-lockdown life in Italy. I say post-lockdown life, but partial post-lockdown life is probably a more accurate description. Travel within your own region is allowed, as are visits to relatives provided you wear a mask. Radio producer and translator Amanda Hargreaves takes me on a walk to the fruit shop to get oranges in warm sunshine and we chat about lockdown haircuts, traffic jams and what the future might or might not look like.
April 30th, 2020 | 32 mins 29 secs
berlin, coronavirus, coronavirus germany, covid-19, covid-19 germany, lars stegelmann, supply chain disruption
Lars Stegelmann is an engineer and a friend who I met first en route to a wedding in northern California in 2008. I picked him up in San Francisco and we drove up the coast, and I have this vivid memory of him, late on the night of the wedding, dancing with a floor brush. Anyway, after a long spell living near Kingston, Ontario, he returned to Germany in the summer of 2019. We spoke on Thursday 28th of April 2020, about supply chains (Lars works in global operations for Bombardier, the aircraft and rail manufacturer), paradigm shifts (yes, I really did use that phrase) home working and home schooling.
April 28th, 2020 | 22 mins 57 secs
coronavirus, coronavirus kampala, coronavirus uganda, covid-19, covid-19 kampala, kampala, simon peter mwesigye, uganda, un habitat
Maintaining good sanitation in a city that's partially underwater is a huge challenge. Simon Peter Mwesigye lives and works in Kampala, Uganda, where the level of Lake Victoria is the highest it's been in decades. He talked to me about the difficulties that poses for people living in low lying areas, often in informal settlements. Recorded on Thursday 23rd of April at 2200 Melbourne time.