Hearing is Believing: An Audio Documentary Institute


In this weeklong, morning-till-night immersion in making audio documentaries, you’ll learn hands-on skills in recording and digital audio mixing; discuss issues such as the ethics of documentary work; explore varied uses for audio documentaries; and hear accomplished producers play and talk about their work in evening presentations. During the week you’ll collaborate with a fellow student to produce and edit a short audio documentary, from the first interview and sound-gathering to the final mix. The institute will be led by John Biewen, along with guest instructor Shea Shackelford. Special guest speaker Tina Antolini, host and producer of the popular podcast Gravy, will kick off the institute. Examples of previous students’ projects can be found here. (40 hours)

John Biewen is audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies. Besides teaching summer audio institutes and undergraduate courses, he produces documentaries and features for NPR, PRI, American Public Media, and other public radio audiences. Biewen has been making radio since 1983, including eight years spent producing documentaries for American RadioWorks. His work has won many honors, including two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Radio Impact Award.

Shea Shackelford is an audio documentary producer and creator of The Place + Memory Project, a public media project mapping a landscape of remembered places. His work has been heard nationally on such public radio shows as Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and Snap Judgment. When he isn’t producing his own stories, Shea is busy training producers and helping stations and organizations to design and create their own projects. His awards include a Bronze Award for Best Radio Documentary at the 2010 Third Coast International Audio Festival. Shea has been part of the CDS summer audio institute team since 2005, and he is a founder of Big Shed, a public media shop specializing in audio and multimedia production.

Additional information:
Computers and Hindenburg editing software will be provided. Students who have their own field recording equipment (recorder, microphone, and headphones) should bring it; equipment will be provided for those who don't. No experience in audio production is required, though a basic comfort level with computers is desirable.

Additional information and schedules will be emailed to registered students in June. The enrollment fee includes dinner the first night and all lunches during the week. Students are responsible for housing and transportation.

Hours for the institute are:
Sunday, July 10: 2 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Friday, July 11–15: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday, July 16: 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

The institute concludes Saturday, with a public presentation of student work ending at 3 p.m.


Add Section Location Ages Instructor Dates Days Times Fees Details Open