Barely Gettin' By returns for season two

Barely Gettin' By returns for season two

The podcast is back for season two and it’s all about making sense of the present by taking a look at the past as hosts Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward delve into the politics and culture of the 1990s.

Season one of the now popular podcast launched in September 2019 and included 12 episodes that drew from history to unpick everything from US politics and Brexit, to climate change, capitalism, fascism and feminism.

This season, Shortis and Ward continue to plumb their knowledge as historians, shedding light on present day events and phenomena with a dive into what Shortis describes as the “decade that made us”, the 1990s.

Subscribe to the Barely Gettin’ By podcast

“Chloe and I are both children of the 1990s, so this is a fun, nostalgic look at that era,” Shortis said.

But it’s not all fun and games as the hosts take a critical look at what has led us to where we are today and explore the concept of living through history, something they never anticipated experiencing.

“When you look back on what we experienced as a fairly prosperous, peaceful decade, you can see that behind that comfort there was a lot of complacency. That’s partly why the world is in such a mess today,” Ward said.


Podcast hosts and historians from RMIT's EU Centre of Excellence Dr Emma Shortis and Dr Chloe Ward.

Over nine weeks, season two, titled The Long 1990s, will explore how the politics and culture of the 1990s set us up for today’s catastrophic failures, as well as what is and isn’t considered history.

Episodes cover key events of the ‘90s (give or take), including The End of History and the Cold War, Clinton’s America, Britpop, Blair, the death of Princess Diana, girl power, wars, peace processes, terrorism and 9/11.

“The ‘90s might not seem like history yet,” said Shortis. “But we want to explore how the way the world was rebuilt after the end of the Cold War might have led us to this point.”

“For us, this means thinking about how history might help us understand why everything seems to be falling apart.”

Named as a nod to the line in singer Dolly Parton’s iconic song 9 to 5, Barely Gettin' By was conceived as an chance for Shortis and Ward, both from RMIT’s EU Centre of Excellence, to slow down to talk about what they did and didn’t know, and what they’d like to know better.

Recorded amid the COVID-19 pandemic from separate, makeshift home studios, season two most certainly required listening for anyone trying to make sense of the world today.

Subscribe to the Barely Gettin’ By podcast.


Story: Grace Taylor


  • Society
  • Sustainability
  • Government & Politics
  • Arts and culture

Related News

Subscribe to RMIT NewsSubscribe
aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer