June 24, 2019—Fifteen producers, journalists, digital strategists, and artists have won spots in AIR’s Summer 2019 Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive at UnionDocs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their experiences and passions range from linguistic anthropology to song-writing to video games. Within this cohort, we have a ranch manager who’s committed to environmental justice storytelling, a multi-disciplinary artist who scores for film and radio, an author who facilitates literary dinner parties, and many more.
We’re excited to welcome them to our Summer 2019 session, where they will spend a week at UnionDocs learning from experts at This American Life, WNYC, Latino USA, and beyond. Independent editor and podcast consultant Chiquita Paschal will lead the way as they journey to break their sound barriers. Read on to meet the class and follow their adventures at #AIRFullSpectrum as they experience the intensive July 22–26, 2019.
Evelyn Dean-Olmsted is a linguistic anthropologist who studies how people use language to craft identities and forge relationships. She’s especially interested in Jewish and other diasporic cultures, and in performative oral genres like narrative and joking. These interests have deep roots in her own multi-ethnic family: White Anglo/German Protestant through her father, Spanish-speaking New Mexican through her maternal grandfather, and Baghdadi Jewish (via Burma and India) through her maternal grandmother. (It’s complicated!) She’s now eager to move beyond academic writing and learn to create dynamic audio productions that celebrate peoples’ amazing stories and create empathy between teller and listener. In today’s political climate, there’s nothing more urgent.
Free Feral is a multi-disciplinary artist whose songwriting explores psychic landscapes through blues and folk traditions using cello, viola, guitar, vocals & loops. They have collaborated with Leyla McCalla and Junebug Productions, among others. As a composer, they score film and radio projects, including Last Call, a queer oral history podcast, where they also serve as a producer, editor, and host. Recently, Free was invited to be one of Found Sound Nation’s One Beat fellows for 2019.
Amy Haimerl is a freelance journalist, editor-in-residence at Michigan State University, and the author of Detroit Hustle, a memoir of rehabbing a historic home in the Motor City. She is also the founder of the Shady Ladies Literary Society, which brings emerging women writers to Detroit and pairs them with local chefs and bartenders for literary dinner parties in unforgettable locations. She lives in Detroit with her husband, Karl, and their three critters: Hank the Tank, The Overlord and June Carter Cat. She loves pitbulls and cowboy boots.
Gary Hardcastle is an NYC-based author and recovering academic philosopher embarking on a career as an independent audio producer. His academic credits include two books, Monty Python and Philosophy and Bullshit and Philosophy (both Open Court Publications), and dozens of (far less readable) essays. Starting in Fall, 2019 he will be a student in the Audio Storytelling track at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
Avery Hellman is a songwriter/musician and ranch manager living in the coastal hills of Northern California. While she loves creating and performing music, she’s particularly interested in creating work that integrates a connection to the natural world. In particular, she’s interested in stories about the arts and environmental justice in rural America. Over the past two years, she’s taken courses through the Center for Documentary Studies and attended a transom traveling workshop. She performs under the name Ismay, and is currently working on producing an album that brings together songwriting and audio storytelling. It will be framed by the place where she lives and works, Sonoma Mountain.
Jacki Huntington is a freelance director, editor, and cinematographer with a specialization in (and unabashed love of) documentary narratives. Her work has brought her inside women’s craft collectives in Haiti, through the marijuana grow operation of Sisters of the Valley, up and down the steps of Jerusalem’s Old City, and into a clothes-optional eco-village in Western North Carolina. She previously worked as an editorial producer at Refinery29 in New York City, where she piloted the unapologetically feminist, body positive video content. She grew up in North Carolina and studied journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Missing her Brooklyn lifestyle (but not the weather), she now lives in Los Angeles with no car. She’s currently developing a podcast about abortion.
Katie Hyson is obsessed with true stories, creatively told. She began by telling her own stories through writing and live performances, and is now gaining tools to tell bigger stories in new mediums through the Pro Master of Mass Communication program at the University of Florida. After working years in the nonprofit sector, she discovered what people wanted most was just to be heard—it’s her life’s joy to make that happen.
Jonathan Levinson is a multimedia reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He’s the Audion Fellow covering Guns & America. Previously, Jonathan covered Mexico as a freelancer. His radio work has appeared on NPR and the CBC. His photography has been featured in ESPN, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News. Jonathan spent five years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.
Ryan Loew is a photojournalist and documentary filmmaker based in Pittsburgh, Pa. He is the staff visuals producer for PublicSource, a nonprofit online news organization focused on providing in-depth coverage of the Pittsburgh region. As a freelance producer, Ryan’s work has appeared on PBS NewsHour, WQED and other news organizations. Ryan previously worked as multimedia editor at 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station, and before moving to Pittsburgh, he was a multimedia producer for The Roanoke Times in Virginia. He began his journalism career in Michigan, where he covered breaking news as a reporter at the Lansing State Journal. Ryan grew up in Ohio and studied journalism at Kent State University.
Kristina Lopez is a Digital Producer for American Public Media shows like The Hilarious World of Depression, The Slowdown, Brains On, and more. In 2017, she was an AIR New Voices scholar and led a panel at WNYC’s Werk It Festival about a personal podcast she produces called Plz Advise with Molly McAleer. Earlier this year, Kristina participated in The Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media.
Kia Miakka Natisse is an artist and storyteller. A native of Buffalo, NY, she studied in journalism at Howard University, and transmedia storytelling at NYU Gallatin. After a professional career in TV production, Kia transitioned to a more artistic approach to storytelling, participating in residencies with the Banff Centre, Chicago Artists Coalition and Third Coast, and showing work at The Kitchen, Smart Museum and Hyde Park Art Museum. Now trying to bridge her professional experience with her art pursuits, she runs a small experimental publishing company, Group Project.
Leigh Paterson started in journalism as a TV news producer and reporter in Washington DC. Then, she moved out west to Wyoming Public Radio, to join Inside Energy, a public radio reporting collaboration. Following a year of independently producing podcasts in Denver, Leigh joined KUNC as a reporting fellow with Guns & America.
Kiplyn Primus is a journalist who has hosted The Local Take with Kiplyn Primus on Jazz 91.9 WCLK since 2011. This public affairs show features discussions about critical issues facing Atlanta and profiles of organizations doing important work in the communities served by WCLK. Kiplyn is a graduate of Howard University and Clark Atlanta University. She is a veteran facilitator for StoryCorps’ Atlanta studio, and has written extensively on global and local initiatives for a number of publications and media outlets.
Rebekah Romberg is an audio enthusiast and producer. She currently works as a Production Editor at Colorado Public Radio and got her start there through a yearlong fellowship program. She works in many forms of audio production from promos to long-form podcasts. Her love of radio started at Colorado State University’s college radio station, KCSU, where she served as an on-air music host, news reporter, ran the website and was eventually named Station Manager. When she’s not playing with sounds, Rebekah enjoys knitting, hiking and corgis.
Devana Senanayake is a journalist and radio producer focusing on religion, race and immigration. She recently reported on the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. Devana has reported for The Washington Post, South China Morning Post, VICE, ABC, SBS, Meanjin Quarterly, Overland Literary Journal and The Lifted Brow. In 2017, she won Writer’s Victoria Women of Colour Commission for her essay Misplaced in Pop about the misplacement of South Asian actors in Western media. In 2018, she made an audio documentary about immigration (focusing on journeys, communities and homemaking) through the female lens called The Modern Odyssey. In 2019, her essay Limbo will be published in the anthology We Are Here: Writing Place by Affirm Press, edited by Meg Mundell.
Cedric Wilson is a freelance audio engineer and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. He mixes The Nod, a black culture podcast from Gimlet Media, where you can also hear some of his sound design and scoring. His work in audio stretches from post-production and film to sound art and indie hip-hop. Additionally, Cedric co-hosts an indie gaming podcast, Gamer Friends.
The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.