Doctor of Creative Arts
Faculty of Creative Arts
McHugh, Siobhan, Oral history and the radio documentary/feature: intersections and synergies, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2010. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3194
(A) CREATIVE WORK: This Doctorate of Creative Arts is based on a two hour radio documentary/feature series entitled ‘Marrying Out’, which draws on 50 oral history interviews recorded by the candidate on the topic of family conflict and sectarianism associated with mixed marriage between Catholics and Protestants in Australia to the 1970s. The series seeks to harness the aesthetics of long-form crafted radio so as to allow oral history to achieve its fullest force, by emphasising orality while enhancing the interview’s ‘listenability’ and impact through carefully judged radio production techniques.
(B) EXEGESIS: The exegesis examines the proposition that the genres of oral history and long-form radio journalism have intersecting characteristics as well as divergent aims, and that each genre can benefit the other. It discusses how oral history debates around interview practice, memory, subjectivity,reliability and interpretation concur with or depart from journalistic interviewing for radio documentaries and features. It assays the characteristics of the radio medium and its affinity with storytelling. It argues that oral history research is most authentically rendered in aural rather than printed form, and that its creative treatment for radio legitimately enhances its inherent personal aspect. The exegesis asks whether the aesthetic interpretation of oral history in this crafted radio form (documentary/feature) and the distillation imposed by radio editing increases its ‘listenability’. While noting the rigorous research that is the foundation for high quality radio documentaries (such as those that win broadcasting awards or air on esteemed public broadcasting organisations such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)), the exegesis explores whether the range and personal nature of oral history research can expand the scope and impact of the radio program. The candidate proposes that the broadcast genre which places thoroughly researched oral history at the heart of creative storytelling on radio be labelled a ‘Doc-OH Feature’, a form that sits on the radio documentary/feature continuum. The exegesis concludes with a detailed case study of the making of the Doc-OH Feature series Marrying Out.