Australian podcasters converge for Audiocraft 2016 conference

Audiocraft 2016 producer Kate Montague on the foundation of Australia’s first dedicated conference to podcasts and audio storytelling.

Australian podcast producers and audio storytellers converged in Sydney over the weekend for the first Audiocraft conference.

The event, inspired by the US-based Third Coast International Audio Festival, hosted approximately 130 audio producers with five different panel presentations from globally recognised talent. Notably among the speakers was Joel Werner, an Australian producer with experience on shows including 99% Invisible, RadioLab, Freakonomics, and On The Media.

Audiocraft conference producer Kate Montague explained to Mediaweek that the scale of the first Audiocraft conference was deliberately kept small for practical reasons, with an intention to grow the conference. “Grassroots, grungy, lo-fi is the best way to start out, but we have already scoped a venue for next year and we’re looking to probably double in our size for next year,” Montague explained.

While the early bird tickets sold out immediately, Montague and her team opted to keep it at the scale initially planned: “For our pilot, we wanted to keep it small, see how it goes. We don’t know half the people who are coming. They’re coming from across Australia. What we really wanted to do was have almost a pilot event this year, find out who our community are and their needs, and then grow in response to that.”

“There was nothing like this in Australia. We really need it.”
-Kate Montague

Information sessions included producer profiles with Joel Werner and Jaye Kranz, panels on collaborative storytelling, and broader sessions on sound design and podcasting. Every session will be available as a podcast in the coming months. Audiocraft also maintained a strong focus on networking for attendees throughout the day-long event.

As Montague explained from her own experiences as an independent audio producer, she wanted to see attendees equipped to be able to know how to pitch their skills and produced work, how to value work undertaken, and how to talk to different organisations who are outside traditional broadcasting.

Audiocraft's Kate Montague

Audiocraft’s Kate Montague

Montague’s own experience began with community radio and has grown from there. Montague admits up front that she doesn’t have event management experience, but that the Audiocraft event has grown from the passion and experience she has developed as a practitioner. She has produced work for All The Best, Narratively, NPR’s Snap Judgment, Radio National, and is currently working with architects on a podcast series and exhibition audio for their work on an exhibition at the Venice Bienalle of Architecture.

Now that the first years event is out of the way, Montague is looking toward next year as she expands her team and grows the event.

“This is the kind of thing we want to go to, so let’s make it,” Montague enthusiastically said.

Image:  “blue-microphone-2740” by Scott Ritchie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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