Women behind popular research podcast lead first foray into social sciences

PhD candidate Marina Khan from Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society joined the BLab Coats team early last year as a producer and hasn’t looked back.

The humanities and social sciences researcher, along with colleague Yinghua Yu, quickly connected with fellow female producers from similar backgrounds and began to explore opportunities to expand the popular podcast to cover a broader range of academic research – an idea the team immediately saw merit in.

“We saw a valuable opportunity to start sharing the fascinating research happening in the social sciences."

According to Marina, academic research in the humanities and social sciences is often only shared and discussed within the academic community, and BLab Coats as a documentary style platform was uniquely placed to help break down these barriers.

“It’s so important to open up these disciplines. Religion, heritage, culture, music, race, gender, sexuality, youth, climate, and migration, are all topics that affect contemporary society that now feature on the podcast.”

Founded by Hamid Sediqi, Alex Wray and Michael Horgan, BLab Coats was initially a science-focused platform. New appointments to the team, including several higher degree research students from across Western Sydney University’s humanities, cultural studies and education disciplines, have boosted efforts to diversify and grow the initiative.

“What makes BLab Coats awesome are the people behind it – we are not just colleagues but good friends. We have been able to bring together some really cool, smart, and passionate people,” said Hamid.

“We empower our team members by giving them flexibility and creative freedom, and by supporting them to contribute to BLab Coats in their own way – we’re really proud of the female leadership that’s evolved.”

Caitlin Cole, who is a Master of Research student at Western Sydney University, completed an internship with the team. Paired with Marina, she also contributed to the platform's expansion into social science and is now a producer herself.

“As a high school teacher and educational researcher I was able to bring my own perspective and I learned so many skills during my internship,” said Caitlin.

“Everyone on the team is there because they love what they do. It’s a community of researchers – we write papers together, make content together, and we are now working with students from local high schools on their own video projects.”

As part of national Social Sciences Week, the BLab Coats team together with Associate Professor Shanthi Robertson, from the University’s School of Humanities and Communication Arts and Institute for Culture and Society, will bust social science myths in a live podcast. The team are also running a social media poll in collaboration with Professor James Arvanitakis and Dr Chris Fleming for their event on conspiracy theories and the upcoming US election.

To register for Social Science Myth Busters by the BLab Coats Podcast, 10-11:30am, 8 September, visit the Social Sciences Week website (opens in a new window).

For more information on Blab coats, check out their website (opens in a new window), and follow them on social media:

Facebook: BLab Coats Podcast (opens in a new window)

Twitter: @BLabCoats (opens in a new window)

Instagram: @blabcoats (opens in a new window)


8 September 2020

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer