Aims & Scope
The aim of RDR is to provide an online space that brings together podcast and audio documentary* makers, their works, and critiques of their works. It will showcase the best the genre has to offer. It will also provide a forum for serious criticism that will help create a common language for the assessment and analysis of the genre. In so doing it will construct a model for audio documentary analysis that will inform both teaching and research. It will assist teaching by rendering visible the fascinating invisibility of the techniques that make audio documentaries and well crafted podcasts so memorable. It will assist research by piloting and testing modes of critique that will illuminate the value of the genre and its contribution to new knowledge. It will also develop an international community of audio documentary-makers and crafted podcast producers, who can keep abreast of new developments, styles, productions, and debates around the form.
The aims of RDR can be summarised thus:
- Evaluate and benchmark audio documentary and crafted podcast output from around the world
- Develop critical language and theory for the audio documentary and crafted podcast form.
- Build a canon of diverse examples of excellent audio documentaries and crafted podcasts
- Create an archive of documentaries and analyses which will provide a useful teaching and research resource.
- Demonstrate how exemplars of the audio documentary form may meet academic criteria of 'creating new knowledge' and be considered as scholarly research.
- Create a forum for debate and bring into connection those interested in the audio documentary form.
- Provide links to other relevant organisations and initiatives associated with the audio documentary form.
*For brevity, the term 'audio documentary' is used to include both the audio documentary and audio feature form; these can often be accessed online as podcasts, a term that is now used as a standalone descriptor, but covers many genres, including crafted audio storytelling. Some podcasts in this 'built' genre are podcast-only: they are not envisaged as works for broadcast on radio and are distributed solely as podcasts.
RDR represents an exciting initiative on the part of audio documentary practitioners and scholars from around the world. Unlike the film documentary, the radio/audio documentary has not been the subject of consistent and coherent theoretical analysis. There is no canon for the audio documentary and it is only recently that a body of work has begun to be established around which a larger body of knowledge can now begin to coalesce.
The self-reflexivity of the website where practitioners and academics work together to capture the evanescent makes it unique, not just as a meeting point but as a living breathing academic experiment. The hope is that it will not just raise the profile of the audio documentary but also ensure it gains the place it deserves in the academic canon.