Progranme maker Zoe Comyns writes for Culture about her latest RTÉ project, Keywords, and why she needs your creative contributions to make it all happen...
I have been making audio for almost twenty years in as many different ways as possible - documentaries, dramas, short features, essays, live programmes and sound related theatre. I want to create a programme where other people can share my love of the audio and make pieces for it.
Keywords is a new series that allows anyone to do that - this is a creative hybrid for words and sounds, a platform to share your thoughts, record yourself and collaborate with the programme.
You can record a conversation, an observation, talk about an experience or a moment, write a poem, essay or story. You might just want to record sounds, leave a voice message or compose a piece of music, read a diary entry or a letter...
I absolutely adore going to literary festivals and I also love going to radio festivals. Both showcase the imaginings and work of creative minds. Rarely do they cross over though - and as I work in both writing and radio and have been trying to find a way to bring together these two areas of my work for some time. This offers a national platform for experimentation and encourages people to record their own work and having it heard on a wider platform.
Keywords commissions established and emerging writers and audio producers to contribute short pieces to this series. For the first series we have commissioned established writers such as Donal Ryan, Eimear McBride, Sarah Davis Goff, Nuala O'Connor, Sinead Gleeson, Julian Gough and many others to be part of this series, in ways you may not have heard them before. We want to hear all voices and so the keywords are open to everyone. Your contribution can be as short as just one minute or as long as five.
To kick things off, and give you lots of options we’re going to release the first four of eight keywords in the series.
The first keyword of the series is Distance - the deadline for this is 12th April.
For the next three keywords the deadline is 19th April.
Keyword 2 - Things Left Unsaid
Keyword 3 - Light
Keyword 4 - By Nature
You can use this keyword to prompt you in any way – you can record a conversation, an observation, talk about an experience or a moment, write a poem, essay or story. You might just want to record sounds, leave a voice message or compose a piece of music, read a diary entry or a letter. You may make a short radio feature inspired by the word. You might be moved by the curious and anxious times in which we are living or something else entirely and the keyword can be a gentle prompt or inspire a direct response.
The aim is to bring together a range of voices in different ways – each episode will take listeners on an audio journey of that keyword. I am interested in hearing recordings from wherever you are, whoever you are. You might record yourself or a family member telling a story, the sounds of your home, or in your workplace. You might have recordings on your phone already, or in your attic that you would like us to hear.
Keywords is a new series for @RTERadio1Extra - It's an experimental new writing/creative hybrid of fiction/non-fiction, sounds & audio features that you can record yourself. Public submissions open later this week with details of the first #Keyword. pic.twitter.com/ueoZLcmP4V— keywordspod (@keywordspod) March 30, 2020
When I started out in local radio, there were so few outlets for short pieces, and if you’re like me and move between forms, even fewer. It’s a sonic voyage into the unknown for me too because usually when I start out a programme or series I have a good idea of what will be in it before I start making it, this is more random and I hope that listeners will enjoy this new approach and find delightful and unexpected pieces in the series.