There are a number of interesting podcasts created by students and faculty in the MST Department, and two of them recently collaborated on an episode. Pop and Play, hosted by MST Professor Nathan Holbert and Professor Haeny Yoon of the Curriculum & Teaching Department, is a podcast focused on play and pop culture, primarily in the context of teaching and learning. Produced by TC’s Digital Futures Institute, the podcast is a space for conversations with scholars, artists, designers, parents and kids about how and why they play. (Re)Search for Solutions is a limited series podcast produced by MST’s Media & Social Change Lab, focused on the unexpected and creative ways that researchers are looking at solutions to the persistence of gun violence. It is hosted by Professor Sonali Rajan of the Health and Behavior Studies Department, with episodes that span a wide range of topics — from firearm suicide to greening as a place-based intervention. 

On this crossover episode between Pop and Play and (Re)Search for Solutions, Haeny and Nathan are joined by both Sonali and also MST Professor Lalitha Vasudevan, Vice Dean for Digital Innovation, to discuss the troubling implications of the "Block 19" — a custom Glock 19 made to look like and be adorned with LEGOs. While discussing this gun, the group also dives into the complex intersection between play and violence. Bringing in their perspectives not only as researchers, but as parents and educators of young children as well, the episode is an insightful and thought-provoking conversation between colleagues. 

During a year which has already seen 314 mass shootings (and counting), including one at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, this episode is a timely and necessary discussion about the ways in which guns continue to affect children. In thinking about this highly politicized issue, this short collaborative podcast episode reminds us to consistently prioritize the needs of children in developing solutions to America’s gun violence epidemic. You can listen to the Pop and Play/(Re)Search for Solutions crossover episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.