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Outlet Spotlight: Get to know 'The Minds Changing Lives'

21 October, 2022
“The work being done at the University of Newcastle is changing lives in our communities locally, and on a national and global scale.”

Advanced research is making waves at Southern Cross Austereo’s LiSTNR Network after the announcement of a new podcast, titled The Minds Changing Lives, in partnership with The University of Newcastle. Taking inspiration from the university’s online publication Hippocampus, with its focus on sustainability, renewable energy, culture, language, health and education, The Minds Changing Lives podcast will explore the research behind the pioneering technologies, innovations and ideas already shaping our future. 


“As a University, we’re fortunate to have many, many stories to tell,” says Shahi Wellington, the host of The Minds Changing Lives and proud Wandi Wandi and Jerrinja woman. “Each episode is designed to educate, inform, inspire and show people the difference we’re making in our area and beyond”. For Shahni, a communications specialist who does not come from a research background, the podcast is an opportunity for “us all to have an understanding of what can be really big ideas – like hydrogen-powered cars or needle-free diabetes testing – in an accessible, human way. We felt podcasts would give us the opportunity for our audiences to engage more deeply into these topics”.


Underpinning every episode is in-depth academic research on topics chosen to stimulate the minds of listeners. The second episode in the series focuses on encouraging children to raise their voices from a young age to reduce the number of students starting school without the basic skills to speak up in the classroom. The episode highlights the importance of coherent communication in all aspects of human life. In conversation with an Indigenous mother and her young daughter, Shahni highlights a speech pathology program that is helping young children in Indigenous communities find their voice. We also hear from a speech pathology graduate who discusses her experiences with the program and how it feels to be helping children develop the confidence they need to succeed in life. Shahni was inspired by the groundbreaking research being undertaken by the University of Newcastle and knew she had to be involved in the podcast. Coming from a career spent across television, online, radio and podcasting platforms — Shahni was previously the ABC’s National Indigenous Affairs Correspondent — she knew that she could put her extensive broadcasting experience to good use.

In line with LiSTNR’s aims to develop content that is suited to individual listeners, the podcast covers a broad range of diverse topics each pulled from the University of Newcastle’s own research projects and publications. “Our episode guests were so passionate about what they do,” says Todd Stevens, LiSTNR’s Executive Producer of Branded Podcasting. “But they’re even more driven by why they do it. The biggest challenge in making the podcast was narrowing down which of the university’s diverse range of topics would make it into the program.”

Multiple episodes have already been released with new ones dropping every second Monday. Other episodes will highlight the techniques scientists are hoping can reduce the impact of concussions on sports players, featuring special guest and Rugby League legend Timana Tahu, while another will explore the complexities of cold cases with renowned criminologist Xanthe Mallett.

The Minds Changing Lives podcast is available on the LiSTNR app now.

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