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Claudia Towne Hirtenfelder

Founder, Producer, Host

Claudia Towne Hirtenfelder began the Animal Turn in February 2020 as a culmination of her interests in animals, ethics, and media. 


In 2023, Claudia completed her PhD in Geography at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She examined the historical problematization of cows in Kingston, Ontario and has broad interests in how animal histories and geographies are told. Her scholarly interests sit in the intersection of geography, urban studies, animal studies, history and power relations. 

Claudia also has an MSc in the Social Studies of Gender from Lund University in Sweden; as well as an MA in Tourism and Management, a BA(Hons) in Political Science and a BA in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg. 

In terms of the airwaves: Claudia was a host on the campus radio station, UJFM. She was also a news reporter intern for Classic FM and the founder and former host of Beyond Canada: International Thought and Scholarship.

Claudia's favourite past times are enjoying her husband's vegan cooking, getting into complex conversations, walking her doggo Linus, cycle-touring, travelling, reading, and watching crappy movies. 

You can find Claudia on Twitter (@ClaudiaFTowne)

Claudia Hirtenfelder

Christiaan Mentz

Associate Sound Producer and Editor

Christiaan Mentz joined The Animal Turn team in 2022 (the start of Season 5) as a fellow interested in podcast production and sound. He is now an Associate Sound Producer and Editor for the podcast.

Christiaan has loved music and sound from a young age. His first foray into leaning about music came as piano lessons at the age of 11. In high school he was exposed to rock and metal music and found himself wanting to expand beyond the confines of classical music. After many afternoons air-guitaring to Guns N' Roses and Metallica he finally bought a guitar and learned to play. Music and sound production have been part of his life ever since. 

He learned to edit and produce by playing in bands and wanting to make what he calls "passable recordings." Today he lives in Shuzou, China and continues to play and produce music. You can hear some of his work on Band Camp via Sputnik and Travel, Sustained Silent Reading Sir, and Catpiss

Christiaan continues to expand his sound producing skills through his work with The Animal Turn, helping to make each episode a better experience for listeners. 

Rebecca Shen

Assistant Content Producer and Designer

Rebecca Shen joined The Animal Turn team in 2023 (the start of Season 6) as a fellow interested in researching animals in design and podcast production. She is now an Assistant Content Producer and Designer. 


Outside the Animal Turn, Rebecca is a landscape designer and researcher. She is inspired by design as pursuits of worldmaking, especially to advance interspecies justice and collectivity during times of challenge. Rebecca graduated with a Master in Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2023, where she completed her design thesis, Sanctuary State: California’s Cowscape in Transition, which envisions the transformation of an 800-acre industrial “cattle” feedlot into a cow sanctuary, a site for interspecies confrontation, healing, and codesigning. It was right before starting her Master’s thesis when Rebecca delved into the world of animal studies and became an avid listener of The Animal Turn. Through her design work, she explores human-animal relationships in the built environment, ecological restoration, and regenerative food systems.


You can find out more about Rebecca on her website or connect with her via email at Rebecca is always interested in collaborating with other scholars, designers, or artists who are passionate about interspecies design.

Rebecca Shen


Fellows are volunteers with The Animal Turn Podcast who have an interest in animals, animal studies, and/or podcast production. 

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