Open City Documentary Festival

Intermediate Radio and Podcasting

Jan 17 — Mar 27

Course Outline

This practical audio storytelling course will build on basic audio foundation skills to help you make a short (up to 15 minute) audio feature. The aim of the module is to provide the technical and narrative skills required to tell short-form audio documentaries in a variety of styles including portrait of place, multi-person narratives, action-interview and montage. There will be weekly practical exercises that allow you to experiment with a range of narrative techniques, culminating in the creation of a 10-15 minute audio work and Critical Evaluation produced by 27th March. 

Though primarily practical, there will be an emphasis on learning techniques for telling audio stories through listening and discussion of works produced by audio producers both here in the UK and around the world. You will be challenged to think critically about audio storytelling and encouraged to explore your own authorial voice through choice of subject and form. 


You will need to know how to use a professional recording device (Zoom or similar) and editing programme (this course uses Reaper). You may be required to do a short additional exercise either before or at the start of the course to ensure you have the necessary background knowledge.

Teaching (150 Learning Hours)

The course will contain five seminars (including class discussion), four workshops and five tutorials. There will be at least one formatively assessed practical assignment before students embark on their final piece. The aim is to produce one short audio piece (10-15 mins long). Students will be also learn to give practical feedback and support through group crits.

  • 30 hours attendance
  • 40 hours private research + exercise assignments
  • 60 hours programme production + written assignment


Fridays – 14:00 – 17:00, from 17th January – 14th February
(21st February will be taken off for reading week)
Fridays – 14:00 – 17:00, form 28th February – 27th March.  



Nina Garthwaite

Course Tutor

Nina Garthwaite is a producer, curator and artist specialising in creative radio and audio storytelling. In 2010, she set up In The Dark, a media arts organisation best known for its gathered listening events (a bit like a cinema but without the pictures!). In The Dark has gone on to gain a reputation around the world for curating, commissioning and celebrating creative audio.

Nina is an interdisciplinary practitioner and has worked with audio in a variety of contexts, from traditional broadcast to audio-theatre and sound art installations. She has been mentoring new producers and running audio workshops for 10 years and brings a unique approach to teaching sound craft that draws on research from psychology, neuroscience, geography, poetry and music. Previous students’ coursework has both been shortlisted and won the Hearsay Rising Award and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.