What Are You Listening To?

Did you know that Twig has its own podcast? Originally launched in February 2021 as Twig Education On…, the Twig Science On… podcast now has 7 episodes which aim to inform and inspire teachers across the USA. From exploring the challenges and benefits of 3-D science to discussing big topics like the power of recognising your own biases, the podcast has already covered a broad range of topics.

A teaser for what’s to come? Presenter Christopher Borjas will be talking to experts on the importance of early intervention when it comes to food science and teaching phenomena in the classroom.

Why not check out the podcast for yourself?


Depending on your genre of choice, podcasts can provide a moment of escapism, improve wellbeing, empower and inspire, give access to business expertise… and what’s more, they’re free!

Earlier this month we reached out to staff to find out how podcasts feature in your lives and influence your work. We had a huge response from podcast enthusiasts across the company who listen to podcasts for professional development and general curiosity, as well as pure entertainment. Wondering where to start? Take a look at the huge catalogue of suggestions you came up with!

Business Management

Comedy

  • By The Book – Half reality show, half self-help podcast, and one wild social experiment. Join comedian Jolenta Greenberg and culture critic Kristen Meinzer as they live by the rules of a different self-help book each episode to figure out which ones might actually be life-changing.
  • Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster – Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite special guests into their magical restaurant to each choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. Ever wanted to eat your dream meal? It’s time to order Off Menu. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information
  • Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine – Join Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin McElroy for a tour of all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.
  • The Adam Buxton Podcast – British comedian Adam Buxton talks with interesting people. The rambly conversations are sometimes funny, sometimes more serious with funny bits.
  • The News Quiz – Topical panel quiz show, taking its questions from the week’s news stories.
  • The Now Show – Comedy sketches and satirical comments from Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis and guests
  • Wonderful! – Welcome to Wonderful! It’s an enthusiast podcast by Griffin and Rachel McElroy in which they discuss Very Good Things and the Things that Make Them Good. 

Drama

  • Doctor Who: Redacted – When a terrifying phenomenon starts redacting the Doctor from reality, three queer women become the world’s only hope. #DoctorWhoRedacted
  • Forest 404 – Set in the 24th Century in a world where forests have been erased from history, Forest 404 is an immersive sci-fi thriller starring Pearl Mackie, Tanya Moodie and Pippa Haywood – with original music by Bonobo.
  • Homecoming – A thriller from Gimlet Media, starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer.

Education

  • Citations Needed – Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.
  • NGS Navigators: We’re Phenomenal! – Welcome to weekly episodes talking about all things NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) for teachers, parents, and administrators of children in grades K-8. Features interviews with NGSS experts, actual living scientists, and K-8th grade teachers all with one goal in mind: Providing you with effective, efficient, and engaging NGSS professional development. Because we think YOU are phenomenal.
  • Nice White Parents – If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from the makers of Serial and The New York Times.
  • The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast  – Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology — if it has something to do with teaching, we’re talking about it. Jennifer Gonzalez interviews educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you’ll never learn in a textbook. 

Fiction

  • Imagined Life – What is it like to be famous before you’re famous? What is it like to walk in the shoes of another person? Each episode of Imagined Life takes you on an immersive journey into the life of a world-famous person. It’ll be someone you may think you know, even admire — or maybe the opposite. You’ll get clues to your identity along the way. But only in the final moments will you find out who “you” really are. So sit back, let go, and — imagine your life, with our hosts, Oscar-nominated Virginia Madsen and celebrated voice actor Robbie Daymond. From Wondery, the network behind Dirty John.

History

  • Not Just the Tudors – Professor Suzannah Lipscomb talks about everything from the Aztecs to witches, Velázquez to Shakespeare, Mughal India to the Mayflower. Not, in other words, just the Tudors, but most definitely also the Tudors. 
  • The Rest is History – Historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook are interrogating the past, and attempting to de-tangle the present. They question the nature of Greatness, why the West no longer has civil wars and whether Richard Nixon was more like Caligula or Claudius.   They’re distilling the entirety of human history, or, as much as they can fit into about fifty minutes. 
  • You’re Dead To Me – The history podcast for people who don’t like history… and those who do. Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and history to learn and laugh about the past

Interview discussion

  • Grounded with Louis Theroux – Stuck at home, Louis is using the lockdown to track down some high-profile people he’s been longing to talk to – from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic.

News

  • Global News Podcast – The day’s top stories from BBC News. Delivered twice a day on weekdays, daily at weekends
  • Serial – Serial is a podcast from Serial Productions, a New York Times company, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial unfolds one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. The show follows the plot and characters wherever they lead, through many surprising twists and turns. Sarah won’t know what happens at the end of the story until she gets there, not long before you get there with her.
  • The Daily – This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
  • Today, Explained – News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Today, Explained is your all killer, no filler, Monday to Friday news explainer co-hosted by Sean Rameswaram and Noel King.
  • Today in Focus – Hosted by Nosheen Iqbal and Michael Safi, Today in Focus brings you closer to Guardian journalism. Combining personal storytelling with insightful analysis, this podcast takes you behind the headlines for a deeper understanding of the news, every weekday.
  • Ukrainecast 

Long-form Journalism

  • Radiolab – Radiolab is on a curiosity bender. We ask deep questions and use investigative journalism to get the answers. A given episode might whirl you through science, legal history, and into the home of someone halfway across the world. The show is known for innovative sound design, smashing information into music. It is hosted by Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser.
  • The Habitat – The true story of six volunteers picked to live on a fake planet.

Personal Journals

  • S-Town – S-Town is a podcast hosted by Brian Reed from Serial Productions, a New York Times company. The story follows a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed – The Anthropocene is the current geological age, in which human activity has profoundly shaped the planet and its biodiversity. On The Anthropocene Reviewed, #1 New York Times bestselling author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Turtles All the Way Down) reviews different facets of the human-centred planet on a five-star scale.

Science

  • 13 Minutes to the Moon – Epic stories of Nasa’s missions to the Moon. 
  • CrowdScience – We take your questions about life, Earth and the universe to researchers hunting for answers at the frontiers of knowledge.
  • Invisibilia – Unseeable forces control human behaviour and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia—Latin for invisible things—fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.
  • Ologies with Alie Ward – Volcanoes. Trees. Drunk butterflies. Mars missions. Slug sex. Death. Beauty standards. Anxiety busters. Beer science. Bee drama. Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming, bizarre stories about what fuels these professional -ologists’ obsessions. Humorist and science correspondent Alie Ward asks smart people stupid questions and the answers might change your life.
  • Science Friday – Brain fun for curious people. Note: a great resource for finding phenomena and recent science stories
  • Science Vs – There are a lot of fads, blogs and strong opinions, but then there’s SCIENCE. Science Vs is the show from Gimlet that finds out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. We do the hard work of sifting through all the science so you don’t have to and cover everything from 5G and Pandemics, to Vaping and Fasting Diets.
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage – Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists’ eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince.

Society and Culture

  • Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness – A weekly exploration of all the things Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye, Gay of Thrones) is curious about. Come on a journey with Jonathan and experts in their respective fields as they get curious about anything and everything under the sun.
  • How To Fail With Elizabeth Day – How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right. Every week, a new interviewee explores what their failures taught them about how to succeed better.
  • Stuff You Should Know – If you’ve ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.
  • The Trojan Horse Affair – A strange letter appears on a city councillor’s desk in Birmingham, England, laying out an elaborate plot by Islamic extremists to infiltrate the city’s schools. The plot has a code name: Operation Trojan Horse. The story soon explodes in the news and kicks off a national panic. By the time it all dies down, the government has launched multiple investigations, beefed up the country’s counterterrorism policy, revamped schools and banned people from education for the rest of their lives.
  • Things Fell Apart – A series of strange, unexpected human stories from the history of the culture wars.

Technology

True Crime

  • Bad People – Dr Julia Shaw and comedian Sofie Hagen dissect the criminal cases that shock, intrigue and scare us the most.
  • Crime Junkie – If you can never get enough true crime… Congratulations, you’ve found your people.
  • The White Saviors – Over 25 years, WE built a golden brand by inspiring children to rally around their charismatic leader. But behind the scenes, employees experienced a cult-like culture and a troubling blur of charitable and commercial activities. In the aftermath of a national scandal, thousands of donors and volunteers (and dozens of ‘celebrity ambassadors’) are left wondering where the money went, and whether the saviour industry creates a constant need for victims.

Wellbeing

“I think that resilience is an invaluable quality in the workplace and that mental wellness is the foundation for happiness and success in every facet of life. I find the Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos really motivating, and all the techniques and data discussed are useful as well as fascinating. The most recent episode on burnout prompted my partner and me to come up with a routine for helping to find a balance between work, our social lives, and artistic pursuits, but there’s so much more to the podcast than that!”

  • The Panic Years – This is the podcast for anyone who feels out of sync. Journalist and Author Nell Frizzell talks to some of her favourite people about The Panic Years – the period between carelessness and matching crockery, between your friends passing out on the dancefloor and those same people becoming parents; The time when we all start wondering when did everything get so serious? It talks about the big stuff, in a way that will make you feel better.
  • Modern Wisdom – Life lessons from guests including Dr Jordan Peterson, Ryan Holiday, James Clear, Robert Greene, Aubrey Marcus, Seth Godin, Douglas Murray, Michael Malice, James Smith, Dr David Sinclair, Mark Manson and more.

Who would work at a desk like this?

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos of their home working environments. It’s great to see your lives from a different angle!

What is your must-have item for working from home?

Twig staff shared that, in the past two years of working from home, they wouldn’t be without their standing desks, a dedicated workspace, really good speakers, extra screens, cafetieres, tea, big woolly capes, electric heaters, comfy chairs, vertical mouses (mice?), SAD lamps, plants and pets!

Which of these will you be introducing to your set-up?

Introducing Your…

As Terry Gilligan, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Core, reiterated during his visit to the Glasgow office earlier this month, it’s time to establish the Imagine Learning Studios culture that we want to be a part of. What better place to start than planning for a year of fun social events… Forced Fun Facilitators, assemble! 

In May, your department heads nominated a rep for the newly formed social committee. Working together with Agnieszka Davren, Director of HR,  they have been given the important task of reintroducing fun to the office and making social activities a priority. Embracing this mission, each member brings hunners of ideas, bucketloads of enthusiasm and bags of personality to the team. Let’s find out more about them…

Caitlin Wilson

Role: Office Coordinator

Representing: Operations

Mission: As the new office coordinator, I’m bringing my newly minted event planning expertise to the FFF team and am looking forward to planning some fun events to bring everyone together — and overall just have a laugh!

Fun fact: I (used to be) fairly fluent in Italian, as I used to work as a tutor/au pair in Italy.

Darren Jenkins

Role: Senior Software Engineer

Representing: Technical Development

Mission: I normally coordinate events for the digital team, so thought I may as well use these talents elsewhere. I want to help make a good social culture. Being a remote worker myself, I want to make sure all the work social events are accessible for all of our members of staff – not just the ones that can join in Glasgow. I want to make sure remote workers aren’t left behind.

Fun fact: For the last ten years, my hobby has been close-up magic and sleight of hand. I am not available for children’s parties.

Dee Ivanova

Role: Senior Project Manager

Representing: Project Management

Mission: I’ve been helping out planning all of our online fun since Covid began, and now I’m really looking forward to bringing all the fun face to face! My mission is to remind everyone to never underestimate the importance of having fun!

Fun fact: I’m a mermaid… 🧜‍♀️ Not really, but I am an advanced scuba diver and can enjoy our underwater world up to 30 metres depth.

Heather Drummond

Role: Marketing Executive

Representing: Marketing

Mission: I love getting together with everyone and just generally having a good laugh, so I’m really excited to help throw some fun events and parties! My mission is to encourage terrible dancing from EVERYONE so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb on the dance floor!

Fun fact: I’m a pretty open book so I don’t have too much mystery about me… but I can speak somewhat fluent French!

Laura Frame

Role: Design Asset Coordinator

Representing: Content

Mission: The design team have already had a lot of fun forced out of them by me over the last couple of years, so I guess I have graduated to annoying everyone else to have a good time and be pals as well as colleagues. I pledge to ensure drinks, dancing and dogs are always highly considered during fun enforcement.

Fun fact: I truly love happy hardcore.

Lisa MacKenzie

Role: Development Editor

Representing: Content

Mission: I have the counterintuitive role of blocking suggestions that are too exciting with my boring stick. I reel them in and prevent everything from becoming too much fun.

Fun fact: I think most of my friends know this by now, but I once appeared on All Star Family Fortunes (we lost).

Noby Leong

Role: Producer

Representing: Production

Mission: My mission is to force fun onto others. You WILL have a good time, whether you like it or not!

Fun fact: My superpower is the ability to buy a chocolate bar and not eat it immediately. My record is 1.5 years – a Snickers bar that is slowly collecting dust on my mantelpiece

Victoria Velasco Sánchez

Role: Spanish Reversioning Editor

Representing: Content Management & Delivery

Mission: Twig’s a place full of amazing people, and I’m here to bring everyone together! Whether at parties or daily in the office, I want everyone to feel welcomed and surrounded by office pals.

Fun fact: I can recite every word of The Return of the King off by heart.


To give you a taste of what’s to come… amongst other things, you can look forward to payday drinks, summer picnics, group hikes and festive parties. The first event to add to your calendar, of course, is Catherine’s farewell party celebration.

Wednesday June 15 @ 4.30 – 10.30 pm

The Haberdashery, 545 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7PQ

Dancing tunes, food and drinks provided

Please remember to RSVP if you would like to attend.

We are excited to welcome colleagues from across the UK who are able to attend the party. If you are travelling from outside the Central Belt, the company is happy to cover your travel expenses. We refer you to the expenses policy for guidance. 

If you have any ideas that you would like to be considered for our next social event, please reach out to your team’s Forced Fun Facilitator.

Introducing… Virtual Learning Lunches

As part of our Learning and Development Framework, the HR team is proud to launch the new Virtual Learning Lunch series – bringing staff together once a month for fun, informal learning sessions. 

The subjects covered in these sessions will not be limited to the following areas, but here’s a flavour of the possibilities:

  • Cross-training sessions: Do you know what it takes to be a graphic designer? Departments can share their working knowledge, allowing teams to gain insight into different areas of the company.
  • Product familiarisation: If you are aware of a gap in your knowledge, a product demo could quickly get you up to speed.
  • TED Talk-style: If you have a topic you feel particularly passionate about, here’s your opportunity to shine. This is a great way to get to know each other – share your own hobbies or learn about your colleague’s interest in poetry, talent for crochet or success in creative writing. 

We already have an exciting schedule of sessions. Here’s a taste of what’s to come…

Monday, May 9 – 12.30 pm

Introduction to Robotify

Dylan Fitzpatrick, Partner Enablement Manager – Robotify

Join Dylan to learn about the history of Robotify and learn more about the Imagine Learning program that teaches students to code by controlling virtual robots!

Monday, June 13 – 12.30 pm

How We Make Our Films

Natalie Moss, Senior Producer – Twig Education

Natalie explains how Twig films are made – from the early stages of scripting to the final elements of post-production.  

All sessions will last 30 minutes, be hosted on Zoom and recorded for staff to revisit. You will receive a calendar invite for each session – simply accept the invitation to secure a place.

If you have an idea for a session or would like to volunteer to host one, please submit your suggestions using the form linked below.


Coming soon…

Access Learning is another tool that will soon be added to the Learning and Development Framework. This new Learning Management System (LMS) will sit alongside PeopleHR and provides a catalogue of ready-made virtual courses featuring the following learning topics: 

  • Health and safety
  • Corporate compliance and social responsibility
  • Workplace skills
  • Soft skills
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Microsoft and Google packages

Access Learning will also offer the opportunity for us to create our own bespoke courses. 

Watch this space for more information!