Over the past four months, Maydianne Andrade, vice-dean faculty affairs, equity and success, at the University of Toronto Scarborough and a Canada Research Chair in Integrative Behavioural Ecology, has used her podcast, The New Normal, to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our daily lives.
But in episode 10 of the podcast, Andrade and producer Lisa Lightbourn discuss how the show took on a life of its own, venturing into reflections on larger problems in society.
“Equity is a big part of my life and my work, but I thought that this show would just be about, I don’t know – shopping, how we walk down the sidewalk,” Andrade says.
The podcast did indeed cover topics ranging from the awkwardness of grocery-shopping during a pandemic to the challenges of explaining the situation to kids and the joy of spontaneous musical performances on balconies. But it also took on pressing matters of equity and social justice, including the killing of George Floyd and the broader Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’re still trying to figure out what a new normal will be, and it’s not going back, right?” Lightbourn says in the episode.
“We don’t want to go back, necessarily, to this world where people had blinkers on about equity, where we thought about profit more than people,” Andrade says. “There’s all these different aspects of how we’re thinking about people and our neighbours now that we want to continue. We just have to figure out what it looks like as we move through this.”
The New Normal is created in collaboration with a University of Toronto Communications team led by Lightbourn. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify or listen on SoundCloud. You can also find it on Apple or listen on Google.