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Halftime Scholars

Halftime Scholars

By Suren Ladd
A podcast series that features the interesting work independent and emerging academic scholars. The series speaks with scholars from a variety of disciplines.
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Half Time Scholars - Rethinking Violence: Religious Freedoms for Minorities in India

Halftime Scholars

Open innovation and Dynamic capabilities: Supporting small and medium-sized enterprises to better prepare, navigate and recover from economic crises.
Melissa Vasi is a doctoral candidate in Business Administration at Uninettuno University under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Vincent English.   Her research focuses on the influence of open innovation and dynamic capabilities on the resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study involves the implementation of a practical framework that supports firms in preparing for, during and recovering from an economic crisis caused by exogenous factors like pandemics, climate emergency, trade wars. Melissa received her B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2015 from University of Milano-Bicocca with a thesis on IT architectures that enable marketing communications and CRM development. She obtained her MBA in Business Administration and Digital Technologies (summa cum laude) in 2020 from Uninettuno University with a thesis on digital innovations and business models applied to insurance processes. Please follow Melissa’s interesting work on Twitter: @melissavasi or visit her website Website:
April 30, 2022
Half Time Scholars: Attacks on education as a potential driver of migration during times of conflict
On this episode we feature the work of Myuri Komaragiri (she/her) who is a first-generation Canadian, who is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). From field experience in Guatemala, Morocco, and Jordan, as well as her MA dissertation on higher education pathways for refugees, Myuri is interested in the intersections between forced migration, higher education, conflict and peace. Though previously focusing on access to quality higher education for forcibly displaced populations, she is now increasingly interested in how targeted attacks on education during times of conflict act as drivers for migration, particularly for students and academics. Myuri works as an Education Policy Analyst at Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and is a lecturer at the University of Toronto, teaching a course on the role of education in (re)producing and transforming inequities.
March 30, 2022
Half Time Scholars - Using genetics to improve the treatment of common human diseases
Chronic respiratory disorders like asthma affect around 600 million people worldwide. although these illnesses are widespread, they can have several different underlying causes, making them difficult to treat. On this episode we chat with William Reay a researcher from the University of Newcastle, School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, whose work focuses on integrating statistical genetics with systems biology to further our knowledge of the biological processes involved in complex disorders and how this could be leveraged for treatment in the future. William is particularly passionate about the application of this approach to psychiatry, as novel interventions remain urgently required to improve patient outcomes.  His research has thus far been published in prestigious journals including Molecular Psychiatry and Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity and presented at conferences including the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics and Schizophrenia International Research Society. Follow William’s interesting work on Twitter @williamreay96
February 02, 2022
Halftime Scholars - Optimal Deployment: The Race for Artificial Intelligence Supremacy
On this episode we explore how recently, governments have shown significant interest in disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). For example, recently launched national strategic AI plans. However, AI adoption in the public sector is an emerging trend, hence, there is enormous ambiguity about the optimal deployment. Our guest is Samar Fatima is a Ph.D. scholar in the Queensland University of Technology Business School. Her research interest focuses on exploring the role of artificial intelligence in the public sector. Through her research, she aspires to explain the role of technology in societal development initiatives. The first study identifies what approach each country is adopting towards AI through national strategic plans. The second study explores why the countries approached AI in a certain way. The third study focuses on how public agencies develop the readiness to design and deliver AI-enabled public services. The third study presents renovation in business models of public agencies for such disruptive transformation. By using a combination of data sources (primary and secondary) and employing a set of methodologies such as content analysis, fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis and design science research methodology, the dissertation covers a variety of theoretical and empirical avenues. The dissertation answers the what, why and how affairs of AI in countries. Besides extending knowledge on strategic planning of governments, the dissertation sheds light on various societal (e.g. ethics) and practical (policy implication) issues related to AI adoption and anticipates future of AI in countries. Follow Samar’s interesting work @ Twitter: LinkedIn:
December 20, 2021
Half Time Scholars - Rethinking Violence: Religious Freedoms for Minorities in India
On this episode we speak with Sudhir Selvaraj of King’s College London about his research study looking at religious freedoms for minorities in India. Article 25 of the Indian Constitution provides for the 'Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion'. However, in the recent past there has been an increase of violence against religious minorities. Sudhir’s study adopts Norwegian political scientist Johan Galtung's framework which advocates for a broad conception of violence which includes direct, structural and cultural factors. Galtung also suggests a causal flow of violence from its cultural forms to its structural forms and finally to its direct forms. Sudhir’s study argues that both structural and physical violence are rooted in and justified using the Hindutva ideology which portrays Christians as "foreigners" intent on destroying the integrity of the Hindu nation through religious conversions. Mainly, conversions are portrayed as a threat to the "Hindu State" in two ways. The first is its role in targeting "vulnerable" Hindu populations, particularly Dalits and Tribals. Secondly, conversions are presented as a tool of "foreigners" to influence India's politics. This broader conception of violence facilitates a challenge to existing notions that violence against Christians in the country began its proliferation in the late 1990s. Follow Sudhir’s work on Twitter @SudhirSelvaraj and also @ Programming note: The Episode was recorded under available internet connection
November 27, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Through a Dark Glass, clearly: Ethical Consequences of Emerging Technologies
On this episode we explore how emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence offer great opportunities, but also pose existential threats to humanity and the natural world. Our guest is Rebecca Johnson a PhD researcher from the University of Sydney, Faculty of Sciences. Rebecca’s work specifically looks at the ethics of artificial neural networks; the deep learning side of AI with a view to contribute to experts making better choices when deploying these new technologies into our world. Tools such as AI have no capacity for a sense of morality and values, yet we increasingly permit artificial agents to make choices and decisions for us. From autonomous vehicles to recidivism risk algorithms, distribution of health care services to algorithmically adjusted school grades, hiring of new employees to management of non-renewable sources; we have given huge amounts of agency to our artificial agents. Rebecca has long been fascinated by the interplay between humans and technology - sociotechnical systems. Sociotechnical systems (STS) approaches help us to better understand relationships between technologies, social structures, and the emergent phenomena that arise from those relationships. Follow Rebecca’s fascinating work at @, or Twitter: @VoxBec
October 28, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Get up, Stand Up: Performativity and Resistance in Zimbabwean Stand-up Comedy
In this episode we speak with Dr Amanda Källstig who did her PhD in Politics at the University of Manchester, whose research explored what stand-up comedy in Zimbabwe can tell us about resistance and subjectivity. Amanda's research interests include comedy, postcolonial international relations theory, resistance, and subjectivity particularly in the context of the African continent. Amanda’s research deals with what stand-up comedy in Zimbabwe can tell us about resistance and subjectivity. Through a fieldwork-based approach she looks at how stand-up comedy intervenes politically exploring how the genre interrupts the way both state and society constructs 'Zimbabwean-ness'. Follow Amanda’s work on twitter @DrKällstig. Amanda joined the Stockholm University in August 2021 as a lecturer in International Relations.
September 29, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Exploring the role of flexible education in supporting notions of self-fulfillment for women in Chennai, India
In this episode, we explore how women pursuing flexible education frame their narratives of self-fulfillment in Chennai, India. My guest is researcher Meenakshi Krishnaraj from the University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Meenakshi’s study explores the relationship between women’s pursuit of flexible education frames their narratives of self-fulfillment and analyzes the perceived efficacy of flexible education in supporting the roles, aspirations, and capacities of women. The education of women in India has focussed on collective identities, resulting in the marginalization of individual identities, beliefs, and notions of fulfillment. The study acknowledges the diversity of lived experiences and moves away from a homogenous collective representation of ‘women.' Further, education systems often legitimized certain aspirations and values over others, and also acted as instruments for gender regulation. Flexible education on the other hand is said to be learner-centered. Furthermore, the study explores the extent to which flexible education supports individual learners, particularly women, with respect to their idea of self-fulfillment. Content Warning This episode contains content that may be alarming to some listeners.  Mentions of violence against women. An acid attack incident and descriptions of its aftermath from 28min09sec to 31min50Ssec.
August 29, 2021
Halftime Scholars - The critical role of sources of efficacy information in a mandatory teacher professional development program: Implementation in a less privileged region of Indonesia.
In this episode, we discuss the concerns of government-mandated teacher professional development programs of Indonesia on teacher self-efficacy beliefs. Where evidence indicates the minimum impact on teacher practices. These concerns are more apparent in mandatory professional development programs implemented in less privileged regions. My Guest is Dr. Ria Asih, from the School of Education @ UNSW Australia. Ria’s study explores the relationship between teacher perceptions of mandatory professional development and teacher self-efficacy beliefs. Ria graduated from the School of Education of UNSW with the focus of study in teacher mandatory professional development programs in Indonesia's less privileged regions. Her research expands the current knowledge on teacher self-efficacy beliefs, in which her research model has proved that the construction of such beliefs which are highly influenced by the cultural and environmental contexts. Ria is a lecturer at the Masters of Pedagogy, Directorate of Postgraduate Program of Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang, Indonesia.  Episode Note - Please note this episode was recorded on available sound and internet quality. 
July 30, 2021
Halftime Scholars - The Environmental Sublime, Nature as the Other.
The sublime is an ancient concept, one that constantly poses questions about humanity's relationship to nature. Nanda's thesis charts the development of the sublime from Kant's eighteenth-century theory in the Critique of the Power of Judgment to its presence within the field of contemporary environmental aesthetics in the form of the “environmental sublime.” Developments in the natural sciences have led to changes in the ways that people perceive and respond to the natural world. Biology tells us that human beings are but one species among others on earth.  Technological leaps in the field of geology have confirmed the relatively short span of human life on earth in comparison with other forms of life and the age of the earth itself. Life in the age of the Anthropocene means that humans, nature, and technology have become entangled in such a way as to blur their distinctions: humans and nature are irrevocably fused. Yet experiences of the overwhelming complexity or power of the natural world still have the capacity to instil awe and wonder into the hearts of human observers. People are drawn to the types of difficult experiences designated as sublime because they represent gaps in human knowledge.  The contemporary environmental sublime is a concept that allows people to think about nature as other, or separate from the human being, despite the homogenizing demands of the Anthropocene. This thesis will argue that changes in the ways that people situate themselves in the natural world have caused a shift in the sublime from an anthropocentric conception of nature, seen in Kant's theory, towards a perspective that appreciates the intrinsic value of nature outside human experience. In this way, my research examines how the sublime can be harnessed in the pursuit of an environmental ethic that seeks to protect nature for its own sake.  On this episode we explore the ancient concept of the sublime, a concept that constantly poses questions about humanity's evolving relationship to nature.My Guest is Nanda Jarosz a researcher from the University of Sydney. In the International Comparative & Literary Studies discipline.
June 26, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Science for development, STEM education and rural young people’s aspirations: A comparative case study in Malaysia
Development’ discourse in the mainstream, is often defined in terms of economic growth that privileges modernity, urbanization, and scientific expertise. Across the Global South, this model has been internalized and reflected in a national focus on science—and recently STEM—education. Our guest today is Aizuddin Anuar a researcher from the University of Oxford Department of Education specializing in Comparative and International Studies. In this episode, we explore and focus on rural young people’s aspirations related to development, as they engage with (STEM) education as the state’s instrument for national development in Malaysia. Please follow Aizuddin’s work @aizuddin_anuar.
May 22, 2021
Halftime Scholars – Enrollment Change: Higher Education Policy and Transformation
In this episode, we examine how the Australian and Taiwan governments produced higher education enrolment policies between 2005 to 2009. These policies transformed both country's higher education systems in an endeavor to meet the national priorities. My guest is Leo Ren-Hao Xu a researcher from the University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Their enrolment policies include the 2008 Bradley review and the Labor government’s response, 2009 Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System (colloquially called the demand-driven system), in Australia; and the 2009 Conditional Standards of Developmental Enrolment and Resources for Tertiary Education and the amended University Act of 2005, in Taiwan.  In an endeavor to meet the national priorities, both policies were shaped as a way of governing student enrolment through changing the quantity of government-supported university places within different areas of study. This study adopts Foucault’s concept of Governmentality and Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be (WPR) to frame the understanding of how governmental interventions were produced in the specific political-cultural climates. This qualitative study employs semi-structured interviews (n=40) and policy document analysis. Data are primarily drawn from 19 interviews with senior politicians, policymakers, and university executives in Taiwan who engaged in the formation of selected policies between December 2019 and March 2020; and 21 equivalents in Australia from June to August 2020. Beyond these interviews, a considerable corpus of archival sources (e.g., policy documents and gazettes) was collected from the National Central Library of Taiwan and Parliamentary Library of Australia, and used in the analysis to support and complement the interview data.
April 28, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Sport Psychology, Mental Health Skills Training and Empowering Disadvantaged Youth
Grace Tidmarsh is a Researcher at the University of Birmingham, UK. The PhD is a collaborative project with St Basils’ housing support service for youth (16-25 years) experiencing homelessness. Grace’s PhD research is part of a wider project in which a mental skills training programme (MST4Life) is delivered to service users. Outcomes from the programme include improved mental health, improved life skills and re-engagement in education, employment or training. The research itself focusses on process evaluations to develop a deeper understanding of mechanisms that work or do not work with regards to 1. Delivering positive youth development programmes in complex community settings and 2. The extent to which it is possible to train front-line service staff to deliver these psychologically informed interventions with high fidelity. The PhD includes a fidelity assessment of the delivery style of MST4Life, a systematic review on process evaluations of PYD programmes for disadvantaged youth, evaluation of young people’s feedback on the programme and finally a protocol of evaluating the fidelity of training delivered to frontline service staff. Thank you for your support of Half Time Scholars. Get in touch! Instagram: @Halftime_Scholars Twitter: @surenladd
March 07, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Cognitive and Motor learning for the Elderly
Individualised Cognitive and Motor learning for the Elderly (ICOME) Motor sequence learning in the elderly is crucial to improve their motor function after serious health conditions such as strokes. Existing motor learning programmes neglect individual cognitive and motor differences, resulting in significantly varied improvements in motor function. An EU-funded project aims to offer a management solution to the ageing demographic in the EU. It hopes to create an efficient method to provide a personalised approach to motor sequence learning in the elderly. With goals to contribute to improving health management policies and future applications of advanced brain-computer interfaces. On this episode, we speak to neuroscientist Dr Russell Chan from the University of Twente, who is one of the senior researchers apart of this project. Please follow Russell Chan's work @PrimeYourMind on Twitter. 
February 01, 2021
Halftime Scholars - Respons-abilidad o la capacidad de responder. Response-able Spanish languaging practices: A social media discourse analysis in Australia
Over the past 30 years, shifts in language-in-education policies have resulted in the marginalisation and exclusion of world languages in the Australian education system. This has resulted in an English-for-all literacy mindset. These policy shifts have reduced access to world languages education in Australia. On this episode, we speak with Danielle Heinrichs from the Faculty of Education at the University of Queensland. Who draws on disciplines such as sociolinguistics, and critical theories to explore the notion of response-able language practices with relation to Spanish as a world language in the Australian education system?.. Please follow Danielle's work at @danielle_uq on Twitter. 
January 02, 2021
Halftime Scholars-Conflict, Popular Photography, and its socio-political articulation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's experience of war and the tensions in its aftermath were actively narrated by way of photography. Since the 1980s, the island's visual identity has been framed as a paradise-under-siege. What does popular photography reveal about experiences of conflict and post-war political articulation? On this episode, we speak with Dr. Vindhya Buthpitiya, from the University College London, whose research explores popular photographic practices among members of the Northern Tamil community, by examining the relationship between photography, conflict, and the expression of political sentiments in the post-war context. Please follow Dr Buthpitiya at @vindib_ to learn more about her interesting work.
December 04, 2020
Halftime Scholars - 'Dar la Cara’: How the Colombian government communicated the peace process.
 Colombia has a long complex history of conflict.  The government of President Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace agreement in 2016 with the guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army,  which sought to end fifty years of war.  The Santos government spent great efforts negotiating with the guerrilla group but failed to communicate the value of lasting peace to the Colombian people. On this episode, we talk with author, filmmaker and researcher Dr Gwen Burnyeat from the University College London on her ethnographic study of the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace, the government department responsible for peace negotiations and for explaining the peace process to the Colombian people. Dr Burnyeat has been been working on peace and conflict in Colombia for over a decade as both an engaged scholar and peacebuilding practitioner and is currently a Junior Research Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Oxford, please follow Gwen at @GwenBurnyeat to learn more about her interesting work. 
November 04, 2020
Halftime Scholars - Applicability of Robotic and Autonomous Systems.
Accross many domains, the limits to current human-centric boundaries like speed, knowledge and flexibility are being pushed forward by the use of Robotic and Autonomous Systems. However, with the use of these Systems brings many opportunities and significant challenges, both in terms of ethical and practical issues within the military and non-military settings. On this episode we discuss the public perceptions, challenges and vulnerabilities to the application of Robotic and Autonomous Systems with Bianca Torossian, a Strategic Analyst with the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. Bianca Torossian is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. Her studies at The University of Sydney, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Leiden University (The Hague), earned her a Bachelor degree in political science, political economy and sociology, and a Master degree in political science and international organization. At HCSS, Bianca primarily focusses on security and diplomacy. A specific area of interest is the field of technology and AI in defense contexts, which ties into a HCSS research project that critically analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by robotic and autonomous systems in the military. She contributes to a range projects commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
October 04, 2020
Halftime Scholars - Challenging a sacrosanct tradition? 
Challenging a sacrosanct tradition? Depathologisation and policy representations of 'care' for people seeking access to gender-affirming medical technologies.   This episode discusses the utility of a critical approach to policy analysis as methodology for enquiry into the social production of mental health and illness. Situated within the complexities of work to depathologise trans, gender diverse, and non-binary people, this presentation offers a critical analysis of policies that guide healthcare practices for people seeking access to medical gender affirmations. It investigates representations of “care”, offering an overview of a comparative analysis of a policy whose proposed care-practices pivot around DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for “Gender Dysphoria”, and a policy proposing a non-pathologising, rights-based healthcare model for the provision of gender-related body modifications. On this episode our guest is Ms Rebecca Howe, a PhD Candidate from the University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. 
October 04, 2020
Halftime Scholars - Hybrid Conflict: Neither war nor peace.
There are emerging security trends and risks worldwide. The international security environment is gradually characterized by hybrid conflict strategies that fall under military, political, economic, information, and cyber domains. Hybrid threats are complex, ambiguous and multidimensional in nature, and have gradual impacts, making them difficult for states to effectively respond and pose a significant challenge to long term security. On this episode, we discuss why hybrid conflict constitutes an increasingly desirable strategy to achieve political goals with Bianca Torossian, a strategic analyst with the Hauge Centre for Strategic Studies. Her studies at The University of Sydney, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Leiden University- The Hague, earned her a Bachelor degree political, economic and social science, and a Master degree in political science and international organization. She specializes in the intersection between emerging technologies and conflict.  
July 25, 2020
Halftime Scholars- Indonesian Diaspora across the Celebes Sea: Citizenship, Negotiation and Identity
On this episode of Halftime Scholars, we speak with Amorisa Wiratri from the University of Western Australia Whose research focuses on the dynamics of the Indonesian diaspora. Who have been living for generations in the southern Philippines? These communities have been officially recognised as (new) Indonesian citizens since December 2017. This is the first time that the Indonesian government granted citizenship to a subpopulation in its diaspora.  Join us to listen to her insights as she embarks on her fieldwork. 
June 20, 2020
Halftime Scholars- Community-based medical education in a post-disaster areas.
Natural disasters may have perplexing effects on the lives of those who live through them, in physical, mental and emotional ways. For years researchers have explored the long-term health impact of disasters, which can include anxiety, depression. How do medical practitioners deal with potential problems related to patients in these specific conditions? Greater awareness of these potential problems and solutions are vital for medical practitioners to work with patients from disaster-affected areas. On this episode, we discuss these issues and solutions with Dr Rosaria Indah from The University of Sydney, join us today to listen to her insights from her ethnographic study researching medical education during fieldwork Aceh, Indonesia.  
June 15, 2020
Halftime Scholars - on this episode we talk with Dr. Jeremy Cunningham.
What are the root causes of modern conflicts? How does ideology, policy and history contribute to them?. And what role does education play in fostering peace? We discuss these roots and some possible solutions to modern conflicts with Dr Jeremy Cunningham. Education consultant and independent researcher.An alumni of the University College London. Author of the book Conflict Transformation Through School. Dr Cunningham is an experienced school headteacher and has a background in history, peace, human rights, democracy and citizenship education. Join us on this episode to hear his insights from his research journey
May 21, 2020
Halftime Scholars - Identifying global trends in screen-based behaviours of Children and Adolescents : An interview with scholar George Thomas.
Identifying global trends in screen-based behaviours of Children and Adolescents : An interview with scholar George Thomas.  Halftime Scholars is a podcast series which features the work of independent and emerging scholars to share their research and practice. Created by Suren Ladd, a PhD candidate in Education at the University of Sydney. In collaboration with series editor Miljiana Miljevic. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast series does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. 
December 02, 2019