UnionDocs is extremely excited to be partnering with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) to bring their popular week-long audio intensive series to our space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The application window is open now and competition for slots can be stiff as AIR accepts only 10 producers. The theme for June 25-29 will be Magnetism. Check back in the Fall for the application for Sounds Elemental: Gravity, held December 17-21.

Producers benefit from intensely individualized attention from sound artists-teachers Brenda Hutchinson, composer and installation artist Michael Schumacher, and UnionDocs’ own, Christopher Allen. New York Times deputy news editor Amy O’Leary leads an afternoon dive into storytelling and audio slideshows, a session that producers have called “enriching” and “inspiring.”

These intensives are designed to provide mid to advanced level media producers with a unique opportunity to spend an entire week exploring unconventional approaches to assembling sound.


Over the week, there will be a combination of lectures on the history and landscape of contemporary sound art (think John Cage to Brian Eno to Pauline Oliveros), group discussion and critique, and hands-on “lab” time where students will assemble a short audio piece inspired by the theme of Magnetism or Gravity. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring with them audio they have previously gathered that supports the theme, but it is not required. Teachers will assist students to produce a series of short studies as well as a final sound piece representative of the week’s work, included in a podcast distributed by AIR.

Guest instructor Amy O’Leary, new media editor at the New York Times, will drop by for an afternoon mini-dive into audio slideshow production, taking the class through the basics of tools and techniques.

Producers are required to bring their own computer and audio editing software. If you do not have access to either of these things, please let us know so we can make other arrangements.

Please note: The aim of this intensive is to inspire new ways of thinking about and approaching non-narrative audio craft, with the hope that will open new thinking and approaches for you in your everyday work. We encourage questions in advance to ensure this course is the right match for you.

  • The cost is $700. A non-refundable $350 deposit is required upon acceptance. You do not have to be a member of AIR to apply.
  • AIR members living outside of New York City who are accepted are eligible for a stipend (up to $150) to help underwrite the cost of the intensive and travel to NYC.
  • Full attendance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend each day of the intensive, please do not apply. Class meets from 10AM – 6PM, Monday through Friday.
Fill out the online application today.

Questions? Contact Membership Director Erin Mishkin at [email protected].


AIR is a vibrant, tightly networked association of more than 800 journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists spanning 46 states and 14 countries worldwide. Founded in 1988, AIR has emerged as force for identifying, cultivating, and deploying talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S. AIR’s mentorship and training programs, unique in the industry, were launched in 1995 with a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and continuing support from the National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Since the inception of the program, AIR has served hundreds of independent and station-based producers across public media as they work to adapt and grow in a dynamic, 21st century media culture.

Brenda Hutchinson covers a broad range of media, including performance and composition for dance, opera, film, video, public radio, and interactive installations. Her work is based on the cultivation and encouragement of openness in her own life and in those she works with. Hutchinson encourages participants to experiment with sound, share stories, and make music. She has spent more than 2 decades singing into a 9 1/2 foot tube and has designed a gestural interface for the Long Tube and MAX/MSP. Hutchinson’s most recent work – What Can You Do? – reflects her large-scale experiments in socially based improvisations. Several of her radio documentaries have been showcased on public radio’s series SoundPrint and her work featured at festivals around the world. Hutchinson has been recognized with a Gracie Allen Award from American Women in Radio and Television, Ucross Residency Award and a Montalvo Artist Residency.

 Amy O’Leary was the first audio producer ever hired by The New York Times in 2007, where her work has been nominated for three Emmy awards, and was part of the package that won the Times’s first Peabody award. After stints as a multimedia producer and Deputy News Editor for The Times, Amy is now working reporter in the paper’s “How We Live” group of features reporters where she has a special charge to think the through the digital applications of the stories she reports. She began her work in journalism in public radio where she was a staff producer at “This American Life,” the host and producer of “The Tristan Mysteries” at WNYC, and her radio work has appeared on a number of programs including “Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson,” “Radio Lab,” “On The Media,” and “Weekend America.” She is a graduate of the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and AIR Member since 2003.

Michael J. Schumacher is a composer/performer, installation artist and curator. He works predominantly with electronic and digital media, specializing in computer generated sound environments that evolve continuously for long time periods. Schumacher’s sound installations have been heard at festivals and venues in North America, Europe and Asia. He is founder and director of Diapason, a gallery devoted to sound art located in Brooklyn, NY, which has produced exhibitions by David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young and other pioneering sound artists. Schumacher’s composition “Grid,” a computer generated score that unfolds in real time, has been in exhibitions in New York, Barcelona and Houston. His CD “Room Pieces” was rated best of 2003 for “modern composition” by The Wire magazine.

Christopher Allen is a founder of UnionDocs and is currently the Artistic Director. After graduating from Columbia University and studying at Trinity College Dublin, Allen worked as a social entrepreneur, documentary director, and new media artist. His individual works and collaborative projects have been exhibited at the MoMA, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Volksbühne Theatre, DirektorenHaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, Sonár, DIVA, and Conflux Festivals, among many other venues. He directed the interactive documentary Capitol of Punk, which was part of “Design and the Elastic Mind” at the Museum of Modern Art, and he is currently in post-production on the feature Diamond Vehicle, shot in Tibet, China, Nepal, and India. Christopher was founding-partner of Counts Media, and played a leading role in the invention and execution of many art & entertainment concepts there, such as The Ride NY, a live theatrical and cinematic experience on the streets of the city, and Yellow Arrow, a place-based storytelling project exhibited online and in galleries and museums internationally.

*** Main image courtesy of Biblioteca de la Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias del Trabajo Universidad de Sevilla

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