New podcast highlights graduate student research

‘Getting Personal’ explores knowledge democratization, positionality, and reflexivity

The podcast is available on SoundCloud.

A group of four Queen’s graduate students turned their school project into a podcast everyone can listen to.

Last semester, Erica Shardlow, Saskia de Wildt, Kiera McMaster, and Sam Mishos came together in associate professor and Canada research chair Heather Castleden’s GPHY/EPID 836 class: Qualitative Research Methods. They chose to pursue a creative route for their final project: a podcast.

Called Getting Personal, the podcast is available on SoundCloud. It features discussions on positionality and reflexivity through an exploration of their research. The podcast has four episodes, each one focusing on a different student’s research. 

“One thing we were really trying to achieve is also the idea of knowledge democratization, so making it available for anyone who wants to listen, and making it also accessible,” McMaster said in an interview with The Journal.

Shardlow is a Master’s student in Health Promotion, McMaster and Mishos are Master’s students in Geography, and de Wildt is a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies. McMaster became familiar with podcasts through her undergraduate degree in Global Business and Digital Arts at the University of Waterloo.

“We were really excited about the creative opportunity to express what we had learned throughout the course, and also just the chance to meet people,” McMaster said.

READ MORE: Justine Aman secures second term as SGPS President

In their episode, each student discusses their research and who they are as researchers. The other three students then pose questions aligned with the episode’s theme to lead a discussion.

“We talked a lot about positionality […] and where we’re coming from to our research, and why we research what we research, and I think that was probably the jumping-off point,” McMaster said.

For example, McMaster researches food security. In her episode, she discusses the research background she has in the subject from her undergrad and the family connections to food that made her want to research it.

“We also talked about what it means to be a creative researcher, and how to leverage research in different ways,” McMaster added. 

Getting Personal uses “kitchen-table” conversation, which provides a safe space for people to chat about ideological issues, their research, or other relevant topics. 

“It provides a space for people to come together and reflect and learn within a safe, casual environment, illustrated by the idea of the kitchen table,” McMaster said.

READ MORE: ACSA Culture Show goes online

The group made a zine to accompany the podcast, also called Getting Personal. The zine is available digitally through Issuu and compiles the students' independent art pieces, all of which relate to their research. Each student has a two-page spread in the zine—it’s mostly visual, with written components.

Expanding on her research in food security, for example, McMaster crocheted an egg and staged photos of it.

“We each picked up some kind of theme in our research and explored it more visually,” McMaster said.

The group is currently working on making a collaborative journal paper for a more academic audience. The paper will explore using podcasts in classrooms and as a reflective tool, especially in a virtual environment.  

“It was a wonderful experience to get to work together,” McMaster said.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.