Bridging the Gaps 2023: podcasts on ecology, health, well-being….

Seán Ó Conláin

In our Bridging the Gaps podcast series, the hosts, Seán O’Conláin and Caroline Whyte, explore a range of topics with guests from a wide variety of backgrounds. As with our previous series in 20222021 and 2020, and our 2019 podcast series Beyond the Obvious, it is co-organised by Feasta and the European Health Futures Forum (EHFF). Please feel free to comment below.

Special thanks to Laoise Kelly who gave us permission to use her harp music. The piece is ‘Waltzing Daisy’ from her album ‘Just Harp’. You can find our more about Laoise’s music here.

Thanks also to Leontien Friel Darrell (@LFDDesigns) for designing our podcast logo.

Podcasts are listed below from the newest to the oldest.


Podcast 7: Healthcare on a burning platform

Sept 30 2023

In this month’s podcast, David Somekh of the EHFF and Caroline Whyte spoke with Bogi Eliasen, the Director of Health at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies (CIFS). Bogi initiated the Nordic Health 2030 process and has a key role in both the global Future Proofing Health Index and Movement Health 2030 that aspires to improve health by applying a new health paradigm. His current focus is facilitating the shift and building bridges between the fields of personal and public health. He calls himself a knowledge broker, whose expertise lies in combining various fields of knowledge.

Conversation topics included whether the goal of healthcare should be to have a good healthcare service or good health, how to support the 90% in living more healthily and sustainably, the best measurements of health to use in Wellbeing Frameworks, and the fact that countries are a social construction and we need global action.

Podcast 6: Transforming the treadmill – work in a post-growth economy

July 31 2023

Caroline Whyte spoke with Katy Wiese, the Policy Manager for Economic Transition and Gender Equality at the European Environmental Bureau, and Jan Mayrhofer, the Policy and Advocacy Manager for Sustainability at the European Youth Forum.
Katy and Jan discussed the recommendations in their co-authored report ‘Escaping the Jobs and Growth Treadmill,’ their impressions of the European Parliament’s recent Beyond Growth conference – including Katy’s experience on a panel discussing shorter working hours – and some potential next steps at the EU level to help achieve a post-growth, wellbeing-oriented European economy.
Topics covered included the ‘productivity dividend’, the need for an intersectional approach when considering the changes that are needed in work, the extent to which the future economy will involve manual labour, and the threats and opportunities presented by the European elections that are coming up in 2025.

Featured image on the home page: still from Modern Times by Charlie Chaplin, 1936

Podcast 5:
Three horizons, hope and the future

July 3 2023

David Somekh and Caroline Whyte interview futurist Bill Sharpe, author of the book ‘Three Horizons: the Patterning of Hope’. Bill explains how he came to be working in this area, the potential offered by the Three Horizons method, and describes some recent projects in healthcare and regenerative agriculture.

Podcast 4: Beyond Growth, Beyond Europe…and Beyond Politics

June 1 2023


Seán and Caroline at the European Parliament, May 17
In this podcast, Seán Ó Conláin and Caroline Whyte exchanged some initial thoughts on the European Parliament’s recent conference, “Beyond Growth: Pathways Towards Sustainable Prosperity in the EU,” which they both attended from May 15-17.

They placed the conference in the context of a highly unbalanced world trade system that strongly favours the Global North, and of a very worrying potential swing to the far right in next year’s European elections. Nonetheless, the Parliament provided a platform and forum for an impressive group of high-profile degrowth and post-growth speakers, and the building was jammed with enthusiastic young people. (Parliament staff said they had never seen anything like it.)

For this discussion, which we intend to be the first of several on the conference, Seán and Caroline picked out a few talks – on economic models, the EU fiscal framework and the global financial system – given during Plenaries 5 and 6 by Gael Giraud, Phillipa Sigl-Glöckner and Ann Pettifor.

These talks, and video footage of all the other conference presentations, are available on the conference website. We strongly recommend taking a look through it.

Podcast 3: Politicians and the Wellbeing Economy

March 31 2023

David Somekh of the EHFF and Caroline Whyte interviewed Laura Rayner, who is a policy analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels. Laura is currently working on the Wellbeing Economy Policy Lab, which is a crosscutting work programme to analyse how the EU can develop and implement policies leading to a more equitable, socially inclusive and regenerative economy. The Lab’s objectives are to help build a political consensus for a wellbeing economy, and to formulate wellbeing-oriented policy recommendations through multi-disciplinary dialogues and analyses.

Featured image on the home page: photo by Jan Haerer on Unsplash

Podcast 2: Community Wealth Building and the next economic system

February 28 2023

Caroline Whyte spoke with Sarah McKinley, who is the director of community wealth building programs for The Democracy Collaborative, working out of her home office in Brussels, Belgium. The Democracy Collaborative, like Feasta and the EHFF, is a member of the global Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

Sarah’s background is in community development and she has worked with community development organizations at different levels, including with the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, a Chicago-based community development corporation, and the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations in Washington DC.

Sarah explains what Community Wealth Building is, its relationship to social enterprise, how she came to be working in the field, and how Community Wealth Building can help us to visualise and plan towards a more regenerative economic system. 

Featured image on the home page: photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Podcast 1: Wellbeing Frameworks – challenges and progress

January 31 2023

Many people would agree that we need to change the way in which we measure progress and move past the current narrow focus on GDP growth. Ireland, along with many other countries, has been developing a wellbeing framework that contains a dashboard of indicators which are intended to give a snapshot of how Ireland is doing in many different areas, including health, education, employment and the environment. But can these wellbeing frameworks really help to bring about a transformation of society?

Seán Ó Conláin and Caroline Whyte speak with Margreet Frieling, the knowledge co-lead at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), about her experience with the New Zealand wellbeing framework and in WEAll, coordinating a global policymakers network on wellbeing frameworks along with the Zoe Institute, and sharing information on case studies of ‘wellbeing economics’ in action.

Featured images on the home page link: photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members. 

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