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A dialogue hobby

05 Feb 2020

A dialogue hobby Image

People’s hobbies often tend to be starkly differentiated from the rest of their lives – an escape from their everyday responsibilities toward their real interests.

But for Nick and Katie, the hosts of Progressive Podcast Australia, podcasting is the culmination of the rest of their lives – their relationship, their politics and worldviews, and to an extent their work.

“When we got together in a relationship we were always talking about political kinds of stuff,” Nick said.

“And we liked podcasts,” Katie added.

The couple moved to Melbourne from Perth four years ago for work – Katie now works as a social justice lawyer and Nick teaches anthropology and sociology at the University of Melbourne.

And they record their podcast from their apartment on Albert Rd, overlooking the sprawling parkland around the Shrine of Remembrance where they walk their dogs.

Their show discusses current events and political issues from a “progressive perspective”: pro-animal liberation, anti-racist, pro-feminist, pro-queer, pro-environment and anti-capitalist.

But, politically, they had very different starting points.

“I was a pretty apolitical teenager, but my parents were quite progressive, so I was always on that side of things. It was punk music that made me more active and political,” Nick said.

Whereas Katie came from the opposite background. “My mum loved John Howard and Pauline Hanson,” she said.

“But I always had a strong sense of justice and I saw a lot of racism growing up in Darwin and having a best friend from a mixed-race background.”

“I got into feminism in early high school and then gay rights and then animal rights was the last thing to come.”

Both Nick and Katie are long-term activists, and said the podcast gave them a chance to bring their different political interests together – and to respond in real time to the world around them.

Climate change, for example, became a topic of heavy discussion as a bushfire crisis that raged on a national scale was also brought directly into their lives with air quality plummeting to hazardous levels and tens of thousands protesting in the city.

Having started in 2011, partly due to a lack of Australian political podcasts, Katie and Nick think they might be the only one that’s stuck around for such a long time.

But the longevity seems due, at least partly, to the talking.

“With my mum’s politics, and a bunch of different stuff, podcasts really helped,” Katie said.

“When you don’t have people around you who are into the same stuff, it’s hearing people with the same views as you that makes you feel less isolated.”

Their archive includes in-depth episodes on refugees, Syria, Palestine and Indigenous politics, but the talking isn’t only about issuing a solid or static position.

“It’s often about educating ourselves and growing our views. We’ve done episodes on topics where we try to work stuff out, go through different positions, and get feedback from listeners and change what we think,” Katie said.

progressivepodcastaustralia.com

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