Transnational Audio Storytelling: Writing the Common Language of Sound
Radio Doc Review. Volume 4, Issue 1 (2018)
University of Wollongong, Australia.
This special transnational issue of RadioDoc Review was curated by Dr Laura Romero and co-edited by A/Prof Siobhan McHugh. The issue features mainly sound-rich European works in languages other than English, critiqued by reviewers from four continents. It also showcases invited articles on mainstream podcasts, The Shadows (audio fiction) and Serial Season Three (crafted documentary) .
RadioDoc Review (RDR) is an international meeting in the form of articles analysing sound works. Our fundamental criterion of this issue was to select intimate stories with creative sound design, also stories produced in other languages than English. We invited authors from different backgrounds and countries to send their works and then, other authors and researchers wrote about them.
On the RDR website, we registered six hundred downloads of our Call for Works. We received stories from countries including Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, France, Holland, Belgium, Israel, Poland, Spain, Portugal, UK and Australia, all of them of great quality. We had to choose only six that would be part of this multilingual and cross-border exchange between works, authors and writers. These were the selected works: Avec le Vent, by Jeanne Debarsy (Belgium), Summer Rain, by Nanna Hauge Kristensen’s (Denmark), Qualia, by Charo Calvo (Belgium-Spain) Scheitern ist … by Rilo Chmielorz (Germany), A Very Different Time, by Phil Smith (UK) and Frente de Fogo, by Isabel Meira (Portugal). All of them contain elements that caught our attention, and among them we also find very different narratives: multiple roads from the classical to the experimental.
The curious thing, precisely, of this experience, is the discovery of authors, works and different ways of narrating (and in other languages) to other authors (the reviewers), seeking contrast, challenging the “algorithms” that nowadays seek to standardise. We wanted to create an authentic network where ideas flow and schemes break. Thus, we also wished to ensure that the authors/reviewers who are part of this meticulous work of analysis and writing, received audios that could be inspiring or interesting for them. The reviewers (all, incidentally, women) come from Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, France and Australia, and all of them have extensive experience in both audio production and educational activity: Silvia Viñas (Radio Ambulante), Ania Mauruschat (University of Basel), Charlotte de Beauvoir (Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá), Sophie Townsend (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Vanessa Ribeiro Rodrigues (freelance, Portugal) and Laura Romero (freelance, Spain).
This does not end here. Along the way, other interesting proposals emerged to be part of this issue: an article about the Prix Europa of this year (2018), written by the emerging Polish scholar Natalia Kowalska. Also, a critique from Neil Verma (Northwestern University, US) of the audio fiction podcast series The Shadows, a production of Kaitlin Prest for CBC (Canada).
I want to deeply thank all the participants: all the authors that sent their works, the reviewers, and especially my co-editor Siobhan McHugh for this experience. And of course, you, listeners and readers. I really hope you like this publication full of sonorous accents.
Romero, Laura and McHugh, Siobhan, EDITORIAL: Transnational Audio Storytelling: Writing the Common Language of Sound, RadioDoc Review, 4(1), 2018
Romero, Laura, Listening to our Inner Breath: the Acoustic Architecture of Avec le Vent (With the Wind), RadioDoc Review, 4(1), 2018.