Audio Drama Seminar

Audio Drama Seminar

Histories, Aesthetics, Practices

University of Copenhagen, 19-20 August 2014

Call for Papers

Audio drama is moving forward. There is a renewed interest in creating and analysing drama for the ears. It has become both easy and cheap to produce, download and transport sound. While radio drama is still stirring the airwaves of public service broadcasters, audio drama is appearing in many other contexts. Dedicated websites offer access to new and old audio drama productions, which can be listened to anywhere and anytime. Audio drama is also taking on new shapes, for instance as audio walks and site-specifics with sound as a primary element.

With this two-day seminar on audio drama we wish to examine, analyse and discuss the history, future, format and mediation of audio drama. In what way do the new technological possibilities of audio drama “on-the-go” affect the art form? Does this renewed interest in audio drama represent a revival of the art form and if so, where is it headed? Why does audio drama continue to awaken the interest of listeners in a media culture otherwise dubbed “the regime of visibility” by Camiel van Winkel?

The seminar is arranged in collaboration with The Danish National School of Performing Arts’ Continuing Education, the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies (including Theatre- and Performance Studies) at the University of Copenhagen and the Department of Aesthetics and Communication at the University of Aarhus and finally, the Radio Drama Network, (RDN, a Danish association of radio drama researchers, artists and professionals).

The three seminar sessions are followed by a workshop by Richard Shannon, UK, open to researchers as well as practitioners (dramatists, actors, directors, sound technicians etc.). The full seminar will take place in Copenhagen and will lead up to the first Danish audio drama festival, also in Copenhagen, 21-24 August 2014. Furthermore, a special issue of the Danish theatre studies journal Peripeti, dedicated to audio drama and edited by the RDN, will be released in autumn. For more information:

Session-abstracts of max. 1 page, incl. an indication of the preferred session (see seminar descriptions below) should be sent to Heidi Svømmekjær, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen:

Deadline: 1 June 2014

Three sessions:

1) Histories of Radio drama

This session offers the possibility of discussing the archival, methodological, and analytical challenges, or even perils, involved with an historical approach to radio drama. What are the benefits of such an approach in an age, which seems ever more future-oriented? We welcome single in-depth case studies as well as comparative studies of radio and audio drama(s), methodological and theoretical discussions and contextual (historical and institutional) analyses.

2) The Aesthetics of Audio Drama

From Arnheim to Crisell and beyond, the particular aesthetics of radio drama have been the subject of thorough investigation. The literature often reveals an innate urge to re-conceptualise radio drama to mark a distance from other, more visual but otherwise similar forms of cultural expressions such as stage drama and television drama. What are the characteristics of radio drama and how do they compare to other forms of audio drama, such as live radio drama, audio walks etc.? What are the recent developments in audio drama and where might it be headed? We welcome presentations covering the general issues of conceptualisation, analysis, comparison, and reception in relation to audio drama.

3) Practices of Audio Drama

Cross-overs between theories and practices are common in the field of radio. Several universities offer programmes in radio production. In some contexts these programmes are conceived as practice-based approaches to scholarly discussions on radio aesthetics, genres and formats, in others the programmes are thought of as an academic entry to a career in radio production or radio/audio art. This session could adress the pros and cons of practice-based radio drama courses in academic contexts. Other questions could be raised by producers of radio and audio. How do new technologies and new platforms for audio drama change the artistic approach to genres and formats? Why and how do other radio genres integrate elements of drama? In what sense is audio drama inspired by or offers inspiration to dramatic formats within other media? We welcome presentations from researchers, lecturers and producers of audio.

A workshop:

Impossible Radio

The seminar will conclude with a workshop on radio drama production, led by Richard Shannon. Richard Shannon is currently lecturing at Goldsmiths College in Radio Drama and Documentary and Musical Theatre production. He also teaches playwriting at Warwick University. Read more here: In this practice-based workshop, participating researchers and artists are invited to produce a very short drama, thus getting a chance to experience the phases of radio drama production from conceptualisation to recording and editing.