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Education Training, Mental Health

Introducing season eight of Monash’s ‘What Happens Next?’ podcast

Monash University 3 mins read

In a world facing unprecedented challenges, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But what if you had a secret weapon that could empower you to understand and navigate these complex issues?


Monash University's award-winning podcast, "What Happens Next?", hosted by academic and commentator Dr. Susan Carland, offers precisely that—an opportunity to step through sliding doors and explore the potential futures that await us based on our actions today. The podcast returns on 18 August for its eighth season. A promotional trailer was released today in the podcast feed and on YouTube.


The upcoming season of "What Happens Next?" features global experts guiding the way towards a better tomorrow. This season, Susan and her guests will discuss six of today’s most pressing issues:

  1. Play: From childhood to adulthood, play holds tremendous benefits, including fostering creativity, enhancing our well-being, and strengthening social connections. But what happens when we stop playing? And how do we balance work and fun?
  2. Climate Anxiety: We’re facing an existential crisis in the form of climate change, and its psychological impact runs deep. Can we learn to conquer climate anxiety? And can art play a role in helping us manage it as we work together towards a sustainable future?
  3. Transhumanism: As technology advances at an unprecedented rate, the lines between man and machine may begin to blur. Is humanity on the brink of the next step in our evolution? What are the ethical quandaries emerging tech raises? And how can we unlock our full potential?
  4. Influencer Culture: Influencers wield significant economic power, but many people don’t take them seriously. Are gendered stereotypes at play? Susan and her guests take a closer look at influencer culture, exploring the consequences of one-sided relationships with our favourite content creators and questioning the hidden gendered labour behind this phenomenon.
  5. Escapism: We all yearn to escape reality from time to time, whether it’s through binge-watching Netflix, playing a little Dungeons and Dragons, or reading a good book. But can we overdo it? And is escapism really addictive?
  6. Civility: In an increasingly polarized world, civility is a crucial aspect of fostering healthy relationships and maintaining social cohesion. Are we becoming more rude? Does increasing incivility mean the end of democracy? And can we re-learn how to get along?

Each episode of "What Happens Next?" offers listeners expert insights and valuable perspectives, empowering us to make informed decisions and positive change.


This season, listeners will hear from world-leading experts including Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor Marilyn Fleer; Professor Margaret S Barrett, Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance; and Associate Professor Shaun Gregory, Co-Director of the University’s Artificial Heart Frontiers Program, among other prominent researchers.


Other notable guests this season include social commentator Waleed Aly, alumna and 1998 Young Australian of the Year Tan Le, Instagram influencer Olivia White and more.


Whether you’re seeking to deepen your understanding of global challenges or are keen to help change the world, season eight of "What Happens Next?" has something to offer. Join us and step through those sliding doors to glimpse the potential futures that lie ahead.

Please feel free to re-post, embed, or refer to the podcast where it can support your stories:

What Happens Next? explores some of the biggest challenges of the day. Academic and commentator Dr Susan Carland steps through the sliding doors with global experts and thought leaders to find out what could happen if we don’t change, and what the world could look like if we do. 

In January 2023, it was recognised with a Gold Award for Documentary under the Branded Shows and Advertising category of the inaugural global Signal Awards, alongside other high-profile podcast creators including Apple, HBO, Netflix and media powerhouses like the New York Times, Bloomberg and the ABC.

What Happens Next? is available on all major podcast platforms. Explore the podcast’s back catalogue:

- ENDS -


Dr Susan Carland, Lecturer of Language, Literature, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University


Monash Media
T: +61 (0) 3 9903 4840

For more Monash media stories, visit our news and events site 


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