Authors: Galina Kallio and Eeva Houtbeckers

What happens when you put sustainability researchers, activists, and thinkers into conversation with two scholars passionate about shifting paradigms, add some microphones, and press record? This is how the HELSUS-funded Untame podcast was conceived, and the result has produced inspiring, thought-provoking, in-depth discussions with activists and thinkers on the cutting-edge of change. In this blog post we will introduce the episodes from first season of the podcast, Paradigm Shifters, and give some insight into the discussions that took place. 

Galina Kallio and Eeva Houtbeckers are Untame

The first season of the Untame podcast Paradigm Shifters was launched in May 2022. It starts with the idea that sustainability transformations not only require more or better knowledge, but that critical attention is given to the process of knowledge production and sharing. The Podcast digs into the root causes of intertwined ecological, cultural and economic crises, discusses sustainability transformations, and provides examples of self-reliant activities in academia and beyond. We partnered with independent musicians and singer-songwriters to highlight the spread and depth of self-reliant activities in various sectors of society.  

The podcast series is scripted and hosted by us: HELSUS researcher Galina Kallio together with Eeva Houtbeckers, and the production of the first season of Paradigm Shifters was funded by HELSUS. The first season brings together researchers, thinkers, artists, activists and other actors from different fields. Episodes focus on exploring how these different actors strive to move paradigms in their own fields. This season offers alternative perspectives and examples of how to act differently. It deals with topical but also marginalized topics with a multidimensional, in-depth and critical approach.

The first episode opens up the concept of paradigm and explains why we are doing this podcast and what kind of themes we will cover in future episodes. There is already a lot of knowledge about and solutions to eco-crises, but will anything change if we do not understand these crises root causes? The theme song of the podcast and music of the first episode is performed by the renowned jazz-musician Verneri Pohjola.

The second episode hosts our first guests: university lecturer Sanna Ryynänen and adult education professor Juha Suoranta, the authors of the book Taisteleva tutkimus. We discuss questions such as: who is legitimate to engage in social sciences? Can research also be done outside of higher education institutions? Is all research political? How can we think of research as work and as a practical activity (Kallio & Houtbeckers 2020)? In addition, we discuss the criteria for good research. At the end of the episode, we reflect on why building a state of peace in a polarizing world is important. Music is performed by the climate-conscious rap artist Idän Proffa.

Untame Podcast recording with Sanna Ryynänen and Juha Suoranta

In the third episode our guests are ethnographer and action-researcher Marja-Liisa Trux, and educator, entrepreneur and researcher Elina Henttonen. We ask: Who gives meaning to the work we do?  In the episode we discuss the work and books of our guests and reflect on working life and professionalism. We explore how everyone can increase self-determination and well-being in everyday life and in their own work. We consider insights from practice theory to think about work as a practical activity in which the actors, their experiences and personalities are taken seriously.Therefore, defining the meanings and goals of work is a matter of well-being. When people can act in a way that is meaningful to them, it increases their well-being. Music performed by the poetic singer-songwriter Aava Uusikuu.

In the fourth episode we delve into the living soil and diverse economies with experts Tuomo Alhojärvi and Ruby van Der Wekken. We discuss solidarity economy, shared economy, post-capitalism, and utopias. We ask why the capitalist growth economy system is being increasingly challenged and what alternatives there are to act differently. The episode is bilingual. Our first guest Ruby considers herself a member of the Global Justice Movement and is a producing member of Oma Maafood cooperative in Finland. Ruby is active in various processes around community organizing. Our second guest Tuomo is from northeast Helsinki and a Doctor of Philosophy who is fully employed by a nurturing economy, a father on duty at the playground, a geographer, a researcher of diverse economies and a cartographer of post-capitalism. Music for this episode is performed by an amazing folk music group Tuultenpesä.

In the fifth episode we discuss various aspects of land and forest management. We will consider how land management is understood in agriculture and forestry and how land is managed and cared for in different ways. Our first guest Laura Heimsch is a farmer at Pieni Kylä and PhD researcher. She is familiar with soil care and land management issues from the perspectives of both carbon sequestration and biodynamic farming. Our second guest, Eeva-Stiina Lönnemo, is a self-sufficient household farmer and one of the driving forces in the citizen movementMeidän Metsämme. Land management and soil care are practiced in diverse ways and open up as concepts in different directions. Music is performed by the mystical artist-singer-songwriter Mystisen naaraan portti.

The topic of the sixth and final episode is on hope, hopelessness and undesirable ideas. Our guests are two distinguished thinkers and creators of culture(s), university researcher Karoliina Lummaa and playwright-philosopher Ilja Lehtinen. They both have studied culture in the eco-crisis and written numerous interesting texts on the subject. Together we discuss hopelessness, posthumanism, the Anthropocene, and multiple ways of knowing. Are we sliding towards the collapse of societies or could we imagine ourselves as part of a new multispecies social order? In this episode we dive into the deep end of ideas. Music for the final episode is performed by the Haapoja & IllmariKollektiivi combining folk with rap, and rap with folk.  

We are grateful to all the amazing guests and musicians who offered their work to be used in the episodes. We thank Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS for the funding of production costs and Krash for the production. All six episodes are available Anchor or Spotify (in Finnish, except the 4th episode in Finnish and English). All episode specific information, such as references, is available at the Untame website.

We are grateful for all the encouraging feedback we have received from our listeners, and we hope many more will listen. We hope to record and broadcast the second season during 2023. Stay tuned and untamed!


  • Kallio, Galina, and Eeva Houtbeckers. 2020. “Academic Knowledge Production: Framework of Practical Activity in the Context of Transformative Food Studies.” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 4 (November): 577351.

Writer Introductions:

Galina Kallio is an activist-scholar based in Helsinki. Her research focuses on regenerative agriculture and community based economies. Her scientific work is based in ethnography, practice ontology, alternative economic theories and ecological philosophies. She is interested in testing and developing new methodologies for studying and conceptualizing human-nature relationships.

Eeva Houtbeckers is an activist-scholar focusing on postgrowth economies, work and livelihoods. Her ongoing ethnographic work explores the growing movement that challenges economic growth as an imperative. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *