The Fakultet podcast: popular science that inspires

A bridge between researchers and people who are affected and may need the results of research. Told in a personal manner that touches people. These are the basic ideas behind the Fakultet podcast, published by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at LiU.

Annelie Norberg in the studio. Makingscience accessible. Annelie Norberg links science and everyday life in theFakultet podcast. Relevance and commitment are two keywords in the work. Magnus Johansson

Shows round

“Here we’re in the large studio. This is where I’m happiest”, says creator, producer and program leader Annelie Norberg, as she shows us round the studios on Campus Norrköping.

Annelie Norberg in the studio.Annelie Norberg in the studio. Photo credit Magnus Johansson

“If it’s possible, I interview the researchers here. But I also want to meet the people I interview somewhere completely different, such as in a preschool or a bootcamp, depending on the topic. This means that I can understand the context and appreciate the surroundings.”

Relevance

The first Fakultet podcast was recorded in the summer of 2019, and five episodes per season have been made since then. During the first year, a version known as Fakultet Story was made for a younger target group, while the Fakultet Essä version started in the most recent season, with researchers themselves recording their texts. This worked well, and Fakultet Essä will return with new episodes this winter.

Fakultet is one way in which the Faculty of Arts and Sciences can tell people about the research done here in a non-specialist manner. But those behind the podcast have higher ambitions than simply informing: they want to arouse emotions and stimulate thought, in this way reaching the people who are affected by research results. To put it another way – Fakultet is to be a link between the academic world and the society around us.

There topics discussed are very diverse: from women who are born without a uterus, and what the phenomenon does to their perception of being a woman (which was the topic of the first episode) to the right to asylum, and the relationships between people, technology, apps and games (discussed in the most recent season).

“Right from the start, it was important to work with real-life cases. We always try to find a context in which the research is particularly relevant, and then broaden the perspective and make it clearer by talking with people who are affected, or who benefit particularly from the research in their everyday life”, says Annelie Norberg.

Couldn't stop

One episode that aroused a great deal of interest was the podcast on the mental health of young people: Jobbigt nu. Men jag mår bra (It’s tough at the moment. But I’m OK). The episode shone a light onto the everyday experiences of young people, through recorded diaries and an interview with LiU researchers.

Annelie Norberg in the studio."We always try to find contexts in which the research results are particularly relevant", says Annelie Norberg. Photo credit Magnus Johansson

“Teachers and head teachers send me email saying that this was a program they had been longing for. Someone wrote that he couldn’t stop listening. We truly managed to reach the right people with this serious topic, where LiU carries out interesting research”, says Annelie Norberg. When asked about the target group for the podcast, she explains:

“We realise that not everyone can listen to everything. We focus on fairly tight target groups, which differ from topic to topic, but I don’t see this as a problem. At the same time, it is a well-produced podcast in the social sciences and each episode has been designed such that anyone who listens will be able to feel involved and affected – even if it’s not immediately about them.”

Commitment

Annelie Norberg has previously worked as radio reporter and thinks that audio is ideal when it comes to creating atmosphere at the same time as presenting facts. The listener to a podcast learns new material and hears the researchers tell their story, with their words and their own voices. This increases credibility.

One important objective is to communicate the passion that most researchers feel for their subject.

“Remember – this is something they have dedicated their complete professional lives to, and I want to bring that commitment to the fore. And it’s here that podcasts with their communication on a personal level are extremely suitable”, says Annelie Norberg.

Episodes of Fakultet can be found on the LiU website and all popular podcast platforms.

Translated by George Farrants

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