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New Podcast from Trinity Long Room Hub: The History of the Future


February 22, 2023

The History of the Future podcast is a new initiative out of the Trinity Long Room Hub's Schuler Democracy Forum. In each episode, hosts Mark Little and Ellie Payne talk to scholars and reporters about how we can navigate the future.

Episode three, "Fear," features Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. In it, Professor Shapiro discusses the relationship between the media and fear. (Listen here).

Along with others, the Trinity Long Room Hub partnered with SOF/Heyman on the CHCI-Mellon Global Humanities Institute (GHI) on the Crises of Democracy, a project funded by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and the A.W Mellon Foundation. The approaches developed in the Crises of Democracy GHI are at the heart of the Schuler Democracy Forum, which was established to apply Arts and Humanities research to questions of media and democracy.

Listen to all available episodes of the podcast on Spotify and Apple Music.

Podcast Overview

In an era when the only constant is change, Mark Little and Ellie Payne take us on a journey along the fault line of media, democracy, and technology, to find the thinkers and doers who can restore belief in a better tomorrow.

A six-part podcast series brought to you by the Schuler Democracy Forum in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin. Each episode brings together arts and humanities researchers and media practitioners and theorists to discuss the critical themes around how we navigate the future.

The History of the Future podcast was created by Mark Little and Ellie Payne and produced by Patrick Haughey of Audiobrand. The Schuler Democracy Forum is generously supported by Dr Beate Schuler.

Episode 1: Future (available now)

Why are we so bad at predicting the future? In this episode, we talk to Jennifer Edmond, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin, about our failure to understand the future, the pros and cons of technology, and why imagination is the key to a better tomorrow.

Episode 2: Truth (available now)

How do we navigate the age of information overload? In this episode, we learn about polluted information systems, bad actors, and the importance of community with Claire Wardle, Professor at Brown University and Director of the Information Futures Lab. We also discuss truth and how we decide what to believe with Julian Biaggini, public philosopher and author of A Short History of Truth.

Episode 3: Fear (available now)

How do we find the right kind of fear? In this episode, we discuss horror stories and discover what we are scared of with Bernice Murphy, Associate Professor in Popular Literature at Trinity College Dublin. We discuss the effect fear has on the brain with Ian Robertson, Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. And we look at the relationship between the media and fear with Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.

Episode 4: Identity (release date 1 March 2023)

Do our fractured online identities mean the end of community? In this episode, we learn about how media has shaped identities, created communities, and fractured and polarised societies in the past with Adrian Bingham, Professor of Modern British History at the University of Sheffield. We discuss all things TikTok with Vice News journalist, author, and content creator, Sophia Smith Galer and ask how the media can reinvent itself in a world of radical decentralization. We talk to Lion Diop, co-founder of the organization Black and Irish, about their experience of identity and working to build community from the ground up.

Episode 5: Freedom (release date 8 March 2023)

How do you solve a problem like freedom of speech? In this episode, Irish Times journalist Karlin Lillington helps us to navigate the murky waters of the evolution of freedom of speech since the early days of the internet. We find out more about the origins, evolution, and practices of cancel culture with Eve Ng, Associate Professor at Ohio University and author of Cancel Culture: A Critical Analysis. We discuss the dangers of the selective application of the principle of Free Speech with Jacob Mchangma, CEO of Justitia and author of Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media.

Episode 6: Agency (release date 15 March 2023)

Can we be better digital citizens? In the concluding episode, we reflect on a theme that emerges throughout the series: the power of the individual. We return to Sophia Smith Galer to discuss accountability and digital footprints. We learn about the confidence mindset with Ian Robertson. And finally, we talk about the importance of engaging critically with media and technology with Jennifer Edmond.