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Education Training, Music

Monash University’s “What Happens Next?” podcast launches new season with an exploration of play

Monash University 3 mins read

Monash’s award-winning podcast is back for an exciting eighth season that kicks off with an exploration of the transformative power of play throughout our lives.

In this season's premiere episode, “What Happens Next?”, hosted by academic and social commentator Dr Susan Carland, examines the consequences of transitioning from carefree childhood to adult responsibilities, jobs, and hectic schedules. The conversation encompasses a wide range of topics, from the roots of human musicality to the impact of neglecting leisure time in adulthood. The expert guests shed light on why individuals tend to deprioritise play as we grow older, and how technology might be contributing to this trend.

The second episode in the two-part series takes listeners to Monash’s groundbreaking Conceptual PlayLab, which pioneers play-based methodologies to teach complex STEM concepts to young children, fostering curiosity and laying the foundation for future innovators. Experts also explain the lifelong benefits of cultivating creativity and offer practical advice for even the busiest adults to add a little more fun to their busy diaries.

The two-part series features a lineup of world-leading experts from Monash and beyond:

  • Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer from Monash’s Faculty of Education offers insight into how imaginative play can help young minds grasp complex STEM concepts and discusses emerging evidence from the PlayLab that shows just how early in life we begin to imagine and play
  • Professor Margaret S Barrett, head of Monash’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, provides fascinating insights into the foundations of creativity and the profound connection between music and positive development
    • “First of all, cut yourself some slack. You don't have to be perfect. In fact, that's not even the point. The point is to play with something, to play with something that you love and to explore. Find some like-minded people… and take the risk of exposing yourself.”
  • A gaming expert from Monash’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Dr Xavier Ho discusses how play can enhance understanding of oneself and the world
    • “You're learning through play, you're learning through role play, right? You're trying to follow models, you're trying to find people who you connect. You're trying to find the industry, the work that you enjoy doing, the art that you enjoy picking up as a hobby, the spare time thing that you like doing, learning through play. So what is the role of play? Play is how we become who we are.”
  • Rob Walker: Author of "The Art of Noticing" and its associated newsletter, Walker explores the intersection of play and mindfulness. He reveals how play serves as a gateway to greater attention and creativity
  • Dr Mike Rucker: Author of "The Fun Habit", Dr Rucker explains the physiological and psychological benefits of play in adulthood, offering practical advice on integrating playfulness to stave off burnout

Please feel free to repost, 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

Laureate Professor Marilyn Fleer, Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor, School of Educational Psychology & Counselling, Monash University

Professor Margaret Barrett, Head of Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, Monash University

Dr Xavier Ho, Lecturer of Design, 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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