A meeting place for audio lovers, In The Dark listening events involve collective speech radio and sound art appreciation. Normally evening affairs that are open to anyone and everyone, Clocks and Clouds was a different kind of gathering — an all day affair, tailored towards those working in radio.
In the lovely old Toynbee Hall, enthusiasts spent hours discussing the current crafted audio scene and listening to examples of the best audio features. It was a fitting venue — it was in this very lecture hall that Marconi first publicly demonstrated his wireless in 1896. Speakers included Julie Shapiro, artistic director of the Third Coast Festival, sound artist and radio producer John Wynne and Laurence Grissell from the BBC Documentaries Unit.
Third Coast is an annual audio event that takes place in Chicago but draws in English speaking radio practitioners from around the world. Julie Shapiro assured her audience that, despite inevitable and eternal worries about funding, this is an exciting time to be in radio. The medium has more vigour than ever and the now well-established podcast form has an increasingly positive impact. As listeners, it's an exciting time for our ears.
The day involved some excellent, expertly crafted audio documentary. It was a joy to just sit and listen with no other distractions, and to share the experience at the same time. Talk was about radio as an art form that should be appreciated critically. John Wynne demonstrated how the form can be played with and stretched to powerful effect, while Laurence Grissell showed how heart-stopping great storytelling can be.
Clocks and Clouds revealed a rich radio scene and proved that listening doesn't have to be a solitary or domestic experience. There's much more to speech radio than the mainstream and the traditional. There's currently something of a boom in creative audio websites and listening parties might just be the next big thing in nights out.
Find out about the next 'In the Dark' event on their website: www.inthedarkradio.org