This page features an ‘audio essay’, something new that we experimented with in our audio production course this year. The aim was to apply principles drawn from theory on qualitative social research to a reflective discussion of our own personal experiences of putting together audio documentaries. At the bottom of the page is an explanation of the relationship between my own approach to the practice of producing audio documentary and the principles drawn qualitative social research methodology. The right hand panel lists concepts drawn from social research that I found of value to my own experience. In the main panel, I present a series of ‘radio talks’ reflecting on the different aspects of my experience of production. By listening to the talks and studying the text, listeners and readers will hopefully gain some insight into my own work, but also find a real meaningful merger between theory and practice.
What I set out to do within this documentary was to try, as best as I could, to capture the essence of what Grahamstown Hospice does, feels like, sounds like; who they are. I wanted to capture “truth” by hearing from the people who make up the organisation - both the staff and the patients. It turned out that this was no easy task. The ethical challenges involved in coming to an understanding of people’s “life world” become particularly complex when you deal with the subject of death and dying. In this first talk, I reflect on these challenges.
This next talk looks into my fieldwork, reflecting mostly on the people I met, talked to; special moments, personal discoveries, as well as reservations getting started. I also reflect on some of the circumstances that the nurses and the patients of Grahamstown Hospice deal with in their everyday lives, and the emotional side of the job.
When I scripted this documentary, I sifted through all my fieldwork, reflecting on everything that people at Hospice shared with me; and I looked for words, phrases, and stories that would best represent this. This reflection describes the process of writing up the paper edit; creative reason, issues, challenges, and also theoretical ideas.
This final talk describes the process of mixing down the final documentary. This means listening through all the sound again, making it work, and making it final. It includes, not just the technical processes, but the growth I have felt as a result of this; and an expression of my feelings towards trying to capture what I set out to do.