The Act of Listening: Personal Testimonies and Lives in Audio

Phillips, Tony (2022) The Act of Listening: Personal Testimonies and Lives in Audio. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Who gets permission to tell their story through the broadcast and podcast industries and how those stories are told has been my central concern for the last thirty years. Speech radio is defined by the voices we hear on air, and I have a particular interest in documenting voices and experiences from the African diaspora and other under-represented groups. I was born and brought up in Leeds, the youngest child of parents from the Caribbean, and two demographic descriptors, race and class, go some way to shaping me as an individual, as well as defining my professional course in the audio industry.

Audio documentary-making is shaped by the stories that people tell and inflected by their socio-economic backgrounds. What I have come to understand from my experience as a producer of radio documentaries, is that behind the myriad encounters and negotiations that take place when constructing a documentary, there is often an elusive possibility to create space for those whose experiences have so often been marginalised or silenced. In this dissertation, I am revisiting a selection of my productions. Most, but not all of them, are documentaries where the people involved are from under-represented groups as far as mainstream media like the BBC or NPR is concerned. I will show how they and their stories made it to being broadcast. A core aim of this thesis is to consider how I brought some of those voices and experiences to air, by various acts of listening: listening to what is being said to me as a producer and reporter; listening to what is not being said; listening to the archives; and listening out for the gaps and silences in what is being preserved.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Publication
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2024 08:24
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 08:24


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