What We're Reading / What We’re Listening To: June edition


Take a look at the great things we’ve listened to in June


The Burial Files by State Library of New South Wales

Julia Tsalis, Program Manager

Under Central Station once lay Devonshire Street Cemetery and the bodies of 30,000 people. In 1901 the bodies from the cemetery were exhumed in order to make way for Central Station. The Burial Files podcast, produced by the State Library of NSW, delves into the stories of ‘love, loss, and the layers of history beneath our feet’ that surround the cemetery and the building of Central Station. It draws on the research of State Library curator Elise Edmonds who hosts the podcast and chats with historians, curators, archaeologists, forensic experts and railway enthusiasts.

In the first episode Edmonds considers who lies beneath Central Station in light of the human remains recently found during the building of the light rail. She speaks with Ronald Briggs, a Gamilaroi man and the State Library’s Indigenous curator and historian Dr Paul Irish about the Indigenous and settler history underlying Sydney.


Dogged By Andrea James & Catherine Ryan

Jane McCredie, CEO

I recently saw Griffin Theatre’s play, Dogged, written by Andrea James and Catherine Ryan. This parable about Indigenous dispossession, set in the Gunaikurnai country of alpine Victoria, presents an encounter between a female hunter and a mother dingo searching for her lost pups. It is an extraordinary piece of physical theatre, requiring its three performers to inhabit various animal/human roles across the course of the play. They all do a great dog howl! The soundscape by Steve Toulmin is eerie, contributing to the play’s building sense of danger and violence. Overall, I was really impressed by this tense, moving, and occasionally funny, production, which explores vital themes in unexpected ways.


The Culture by Osman Faruqi

Martyn Reyes, Project and Communications Officer

The Culture is Schwartz Media’s latest audible offering, hosted by journalist and writer Osman Farqui, who also heads their successful 7am podcast. Each week Faruqi, together with a special guest, unpacks cultural phenomenons, trends or signifiers in an unpretentious and engaging way. The first episode centred around our universal obsession with true crime, and with the help of writer Sarah Krasnostein, interrogated what our interest with these dark stories says about us and society. They questioned the role media and police play, and looked more closely at the genre’s problems and ways to reinvent it.

The latest episode looked at the rocketing career of new-comer Olivia Rodrigo, who blew up through TikTok, and her debut album Sour. The episodes are fun, insightful, not too long and full of intriguing analysis.


The Imperfects by Hugh van Cuylenburg and Ryan Shelton

Claire Thompson, Program Officer

I’ve just started listening to the podcast, The Imperfects which is co-hosted by Hugh van Cuylenburg, founder of the Resilience Project and Ryan Shelton. In the episodes, Hugh engages in a deep conversation with a guest covering different topics which are often shied away from in our society, including mental health, purpose and vulnerability. Some of the guests on the show have been Jamila Rizvi, Missy Higgins and Johann Hari.

I recently listened to the episode with Will McMahon who co-hosts a radio show in Melbourne on KIIS FM, and he discusses his experience with depression. It’s refreshing to hear depression and mental health discussed in such an open way. Especially to hear men chat about these issues, which are often avoided because of the stigma attached to mental health, but maybe even more so avoided by men who are discouraged from showing vulnerability or emotion. In this episode, Hugh references a video Will and his radio co-host Woody made on R U Okay day, where they chat about Woody’s experience of having a friend with depression, and some helpful things a friend can do in this situation. And again, it was so refreshing to see men discuss their mental health and their emotions so openly. It’s so encouraging to listen to this podcast and the way Hugh and Ryan are making strides towards de-stigmatising mental health, and encouraging people to be more vulnerable with others, as Hugh says, when you’re vulnerable with a friend, it gives your friend permission to be vulnerable with you too. You can listen to this episode here.


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