International Audio Arts Festival

April 4th-7th 2019

Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, Ireland




HearSay2015 provides space to think deeply about creative audio. Varied in their approaches and subject matter, join a selection of HearSay contributors as they explore intriguing topics of their choice.



Boundaries Between Fact and Fiction

60 Minutes

Neil Sandell


For radio journalists, like Neil Sandell, the coin of the realm is authenticity, truth and fact.  The successful documentary maker and reporter plays to radio’s strength – intimacy.  As the audience hear someone speaking into our ear, we connect with a voice not just because of what they are saying, but the way they are saying it. We know intuitively who to believe.  Radio depends on this believability. It depends on the veracity of the scenes that unfold.


So what are we to make of those who cross the boundary of fact and fiction using the tropes and conventions of factual radio to invent a story?  Is it betrayal or fair game?  Should there be rules?  And why is it that some of these programs delight us and others infuriate?  What can we learn from the masters of these border crossings?


Once upon a time, Neil Sandell felt the sting of angry listeners when an Outfront production tested the boundaries of fact and fiction.  That piece will be one of many provocative, funny, and revealing audio examples in this tour of the radio borderlands.




Audience-Adapting Narratives

60 minutes

Tony Churnside


What happens when as a storyteller you start to explore the avenues that are opened up by using technology to enhance the experience rather than constrain it.


Once, we as storytellers gathered around campfires to tell tales. Creators connected with (small) audiences directly, watching how they reacted and subtly changing the story and how it was told to the audience as the creator was telling it. Then technology got in the way - the printing press - the record player - the radio - these all enabled broadcasting to massive audiences. But what this meant was there had to be a single “definitive” version of a story. One that worked for a whole mass audience. Now we all take this for granted. There’s a single correct version and vision.


But what if new techology means we no longer need to begin with a single fixed vision? Could we create audio content that can flex to suit an audience in the same way as a storyteller would flex a story when telling it to a group around a campfire? Tony Churnside draws on his role as Technical Director with the BBC's New Radiophonic Workshop, his colloboration with Bjork at MOMA and his ground breaking work in production workflows, to explore what new audio experiences could be generated if we started thinking differently.




"Deconsecration": a radio sermon about the things we build

45 minutes

Sam Greenspan


One of radio's greatest powers is that it can transport a listener to somewhere far away—but perhaps an even greater power of radio is to get listeners to see their own immediate environment differently.


99% Invisible producer Sam Greenspan reveals from the pulpit of the Old Church how telling stories of inanimate objects can help us make sense of the designers who made them, and—oddly—help bring people closer together.




The Radio as Time Machine

75 minutes

Rikke Houd & Benoit Bories


As humans, we exist in space and in time. We exist in a complex mix of now and then, of here and there, of ourselves and others, inner worlds and outer worlds, the everyday life and the dream, and everything in between.


The medium of sound has a special ability to capture and communicate this complex and often multi-layered human condition, experience and perception.


In this session Benoit Bories and Rikke Houd will sift through attempts at building soundscapes, acoustic spaces and narrative structures linked to transitions in time, to evoking the past, to life transitions and to human experiences. From sampling and building acoustic space to using double exposure and other narrative techniques, they will draw on their very different backgrounds as they explore how to subtly strengthen a complex many-layered story.


The session will end with a collaborative brainstorm between everyone in the room. If you have an early stage idea you are considering developing, bring it along!




The Blind Experiment

60 Minutes

Caroline Hennessy, Brian Leech & The HearSay Sound Investigation team


Sound affects the way we perceive the world around us. It changes the way we engage with food and drink. Our tastebuds take their cues from the audio world we are inhabiting. That which we love, we no longer desire. That which we would reject, we crave. Sound influences our sense of taste. Or does it?


Join in a collective HearSay experiment to explore the effects of sound on our tastebuds. It might be scientific. It might be optimistic. It’s guaranteed to be intriguing (and a wee bit fun).    


[Important Note: this session involves the tasting of some stunning locally brewed craft beers and as such is not suitable for those under 18 years of age.]




Good Catholic Radio

45 Minutes

Ronan Kelly


One of the things with Catholicism is you have to have Faith. RTE Documentary on One Producer Ronan Kelly loves the idea that there are stories everywhere and everyone has a story. His creed? Have Faith, don’t overthink it, just leap in!


In the run-up to HearSay, we invited Ronan to come down to Kilfinane armed with little more than a bicycle, a recorder and faith to test the power of prayer. Hear the results of that visit and other tales of how you come across a story even when you don’t expect it.





Audio Fiction—The Next Frontier

60 Minutes

Ann Heppermann


The radio world is abuzz, saying that  we are in another Golden Age of Radio. However, so far the vision has been limited to non-fiction. There is something grand on the horizon though—audio fiction. But as the form begins to re-emerge, what can we do to make sure that we don't creatively go back to the 1930s?


Ann Heppermann founder of the Sarah Awards, will present and discuss radio drama for the 21st century. She'll play works from around the world that expand the definition of narrative fiction created for the ears: dramas, mockumentaries, sound designed monologues, radio opera  poetry, and forms you've never heard before. The goal is to engage Hearsay participants in a discussion about what we can do as producers to blow up the term radio drama and start an audio revolution.





Breaking the language barrier

45 minutes

Tim Desmond


There is a  challenge in preserving the emotional impact of a story when the language of the teller is not the language of the listener.How do we remain faithful to the tellers of stories while allowing listeners into the story? What happens when a strong accent or poor vocabulary skills get in the way of the story and can a poor english speaker ever be voiced over ?

This session will provide an opportunity to practically examine and discuss the challenges presented by language and diction in radio documentary making. It will hopefully spark a lively discussion about what works best to break through the language barrier.





Out of Sync - Documentary Film and Sound

45 minutes

Tadhg O'Sullivan


Ideas of truth and ethics of reality run incessantly through all discussions of documentary, whether in film or radio. In film, sound and picture technology marches on an interminable path of ever more accurate, detailed, high-resolution representations of the world-as-it-actually-is.


But what kind of truth is important - a literal truth that recreates the sound of a given event as it actually happened, or truth more bound up with memory and experience - the creation of a cinematic world that is closer to the atmosphere as remembered and held in the mind of the film-maker?


In recent years, developments in camera technologies have prompted a return to separate sound and picture recording in the field. The problem of syncing has returned to documentary with various clever and complex solutions emerging. Having initially embraced the challenges of complicated systems that slaved his sound to the cinematographer’s picture, Tadhg O’Sullivan has come to cut the cord entirely in recent projects, embracing the freedom of non-sync audio.


Using examples from his recent films, Tadhg will explore his very individual approach to film sound and the freedom that he has found to explore ideas of truth that are different to the truth held up as verité when sync sound came to documentary in the 1960s.




The HearSay2015 Programme

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