Creating Narrative Podcasts with Oral Histories

Oral History
Thursday, June 27, 2019
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Producing podcasts offers an appealing option for anyone interested in creating audio stories built around oral history. This workshop will introduce participants to the basics of creating a narrative podcast using oral histories. We’ll discuss the elements and steps involved in creating a 25-minute podcast episode: the necessary equipment (as well as tips and tricks) required for narrative reporting and audio gathering, how to use oral histories in a narrative podcast, how to gather additional archival materials, and best practices for scripting and editing. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops and a project they’re currently working on.

The workshop will teach skills useful for students, teachers, researchers, oral history practitioners, and a variety of jobs in academic and public organizations. We’ll also offer insight into how to engage students in project-based learning, along with practical ways to incorporate podcast production into curriculums, from syllabus design, through scaffolded assignments, to guiding students through their final edits.

The Institute has been conducting interviews for more than 30 years and has roughly 5,000 hours of recordings in its collections. We are one of the only institutions in the United States to focus our oral history work on scientists from diverse disciplinary fields. Distillations exists where science and the humanities overlap. Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.


About the Presenters

Samantha Blatt is a program associate in the Center for Oral History at the Science History Institute. Her work not only involves conducting interviews for various projects and developing the oral history collection more generally, but also creating and cultivating public-engagement pieces and public-history events, including the biannual oral history training institute and the Things Fall Apart oral history walking tour. Samantha has served as the development director for Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) since 2016.

Mariel Carr is the senior producer of the Science History Institute’s Distillations podcast. She is also a documentary filmmaker whose award-winning film, A Confused War, won numerous film festival awards and was broadcast on Al Jazeera. She attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and the Documentary Film Master’s Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Her radio stories have aired on stations throughout the United States and Europe, and her films have been featured in festivals in the United States and London.

Rigoberto Hernandez is the producer for the Distillations podcast. He holds a journalism degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He interned at National Public Radio, the Oregonian, and the Orange County Register.

Roger Turner is a historian of science, technology, and the environment. Working as a public historian, he has edited oral histories that documented the classified wing of the U.S. Weather Bureau and helped produce a documentary film about a leading 20th-century scientific instrument maker. He has also taught at universities, most recently leading a course on the history of climate change, where students made heavy use of the American Meteorological Society’s Oral History Project. More playfully, Turner runs the blog Picturing Meteorology and sometimes speaks about science in pubs.


Interested in joining?

Advance registration is required. For more information please contact Samantha Blatt at 215.873.8242 or