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Past Forward is a curiosity company dedicated to educational accessibility.
Our public podcast service, paired with millions of discounted books curated into topic-themed collections, provides guidance and tools to support lifelong learning.
Access to educational resources–articles, books, and podcasts–are typically provided through multiple services from various third-party companies making it difficult to find information.
Additionally, sorting algorithms based on relevance feedback from ads, purchases, and online sensationalism can complicate the reliability of search engines and contribute to misinformation.
Past Forward is a one-stop educational resource for articles, books, and podcasts.
We invite community leaders from academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, private corporations, and public agencies to document today, with context from our past, and learn moving forward.
Our free public podcast service is designed to amplify the voices of community leaders by providing a platform to share stories about art, climate, education, health, history, race, science, technology, and more.
We’re an online master class, mentorship, public think tank dedicated to civics, culture, and thinking creatively about our future.
We provide access to over 17 million discounted books and ship anywhere in the country through one of the largest networks of booksellers, librarians, educators, specialty retailers, and warehouses.
We also collaborate with experts and curate book collections inspired by topics from our podcast to create a path for curiosity.
Past Forward is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Recently, we received funding for bringing coders and curators together to change the way we search with Past Forward.
We are transcribing and contextualizing all podcast episodes for documentation and research; cataloging and tagging curated key words and key phrases to connect podcast episodes with recommended books; and re-coding the database and design of our search application to help users find resources on topics of interest.
Transcripts are created by a Past Forward contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of Past Forward’s programming is the audio record.
We regularly partner with academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, private corporations, and public agencies to develop original audio content that can be distributed as individual episodes, multi-part series, or seasonal programs. Listen to episodes for free on our website, Apple, Spotify, or wherever you podcast.
For consideration, submit the form on this page to participate in a podcast episode or series. Please include ISBNs, URLs, and relevant details. Accepted submissions will receive an email with instructions.
Past Forward is designed to support businesses, schools, and government departments or agencies by creating custom programs for employees, students, and community groups. Production, publishing, and distribution services are provided through contracts, donations, and grants.
We also offer branded and sponsored content through our podcast program. Promotional opportunities are available to feature podcast episodes and books. Please use the form on this page to start the conversation.
Please use the form on this page to propose a podcast episode or series, recommend a book, or report a website error. You may also use this form to donate and support our mission or to inquire about upcoming resources and partnerships.
Buy a book, gift a book, start a book club. Book sales support our podcast program and the curation of our book collections. When you purchase a book you are also supporting authors and publishers. All book discounts come out of Past Forward's share of the profits. Our books are provided through Ingram Content Group. For more information please visit ingramcontent.com.
From the first conversation we recorded in 2013, we knew our podcast was coming from a place of curiosity. Our first series, The How, The Why connected with authors, editors, and publishers. I approached every conversation from the perspective of a student curious about each guest, their process, and the purpose behind the work. Episodes were never about book promotions or book sales; episodes were about the individual and their experiences.
As partnerships grew, the topics of our conversations progressed into civics, philosophy, science, and social justice. While moving further from familiar areas of study, my questions were the consequence of feeling uninformed. As a result, I desired knowledge from our guests. They became mentors, providing time, passion, and expertise. I have gained more insight from these conversations than I did from four years of college.
During the pandemic, when the world was put on pause, we continued to connect with guests. Conversations would sometimes drift off topic with a personal story from the week, a comment about news from the day, or merely to connect with someone and ask, “How are you doing?” We were sharing timestamped moments of insecurity.
On November 4th, 2020, one day after the presidential election, I connected with Cheryl I. Harris (EP350), law professor at UCLA. Votes were still being counted as we discussed the history of redlining in America. Harris took a breath and reflected on the day, “I'm trying to manage my expectations in line with as much of the information as I can stand to absorb right now.” Not only did we share that uncertainty, but she connected it to the history of voter suppression allowing us to truly document that day, with context from our past, so we can learn moving forward.
While nonprofit organizations struggled to support their mission, I spoke with Jerry Van Leeuwen (EP356), Executive Director of California Center for the Arts, Escondido. He provided context about art’s power of shared experiences and the grief and mourning of the silent gallery, theaters and halls absent music and dancing. A museum without guests is a storage facility. A theater without performance is a body without a soul. Leeuwen put his personal emotion center stage, “First responders take care of business when there’s a fire or disaster and second responders are the artists and the folks that bring us back together and rebuild our lives… The thing that we lost was togetherness, we just couldn’t be together.”
In the wake of protests for equality while our climate crisis brought fires, floods, and catastrophic storms, I had the privilege of connecting with Dr. Robert Bullard (EP406), the anointed “Father of Environmental Justice.” He spoke candidly, off talking points, for 37 minutes. It was a masterclass on the history and challenges facing poor and marginalized communities and their omission from the bulwark of climate activists. Bullard spoke of his experience, “It took 40 years plus for people to understand how social inequality and racial injustice will fuel vulnerability.”
475 episodes later, our organization continues to listen, learn, and evolve—with each episode sharing a personal feeling, every conversation providing a new perspective. My hope, as a producer and as a host, is that my curiosity parallels that of our audience.
Bullard, Ferran, and Harris were featured in the following series: Environmental Justice, Chapters, and Significance of Race.
These books were written and recommended by guests from the following series: The Grammar of Science + Technology, The How The Why, and Without Books.
Past Forward is a curiosity company dedicated to educational accessibility.