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AFTRS’ Next Digital Futures Summit Explores Audio: Community, Connectivity and Audience

Keynote speakers, Lillian Ahenkan and Nicky Birch

As podcasts and audio storytelling continue their phenomenal rise in popularity, the third in AFTRS’ Digital Futures Summit series, Audio: Community, Connectivity and Audience, focuses on the intersection of sound, radio, and podcasting and examines the shared and individual challenges and possibilities facing these sectors in the age of digital disruption.

Taking place online on Thursday 15 September, this Digital Futures Summit series brings together visionaries and leaders from industry, education, and government sectors to discuss big questions facing Australia’s screen and broadcast industries in a global context.

Following an introduction by AFTRS Council Chair Russel Howcroft, the inimitable Lillian ‘FlexMami‘ Ahenkan will offer her insights into creating content and how she engages, connects with, and grows her audience in a session with AFTRS Radio and Podcasting Program Convenor, Natalie Pozdeev. Lillian Ahenkan is a social commentator, media influencer, brand consultant, TV presenter, podcaster, model, speaker, DJ, author, founder and CEO. In essence, Flex Mami gets paid to be herself. Recognised internationally as a digital and cultural icon, she creates and facilitates challenging, nourishing conversations, cultivates communities and creates very good content. With a platform focused on legacy, intention, and reprioritising people, Flex’s superpower is cultivating dialogue and encouraging her community to think critically about themselves and the world around them.

In the second keynote, AFTRS Head of Sound, Stephen Murphy, will be In Conversation with Nicky Birch, Editor, New Formats and Innovation at BBC Sounds, in session about the intersection of technology and creativity for audience engagement. In what has been described as a boom time for audio, it has never been more important to address the content and experience needs of a broader audience. Whether through personalised media or creating aural diversity, Nicky will discuss how technology plays a key role in delivering audio that connects with audiences.

In the session, Hyperlocal: Go Big or Grow Small speakers Naomi Moran (General Manager, Koori Mail), Travis De Vries (Producer/ Director at Awesome Black Media), Andrew Davies (Digital and Engagement Editor for ABC Audio Studios/Radio National) and Andrea Ho (Director of Education at Judith Neilson Insititute for Journalism and ideas) will discuss the growing movement in radio and podcasting to ‘grow small’, providing local content driven by demand from community audiences, rather than the decades-long trend for centralisation of commercial radio and other media throughout the 21st century. This session zooms in on the hyperlocal trend and looks at the power audience plays in driving the future of radio and podcasting.

Breaking Sonic Barriers: The Future of Immersive Audio, with speakers Liam Egan (leading Australian Sound Designer), Jeff Van Dyck (Composer/Sounds Designer/Audio Director at Jeff van Dyck Music), Freya Berkhout
(Composer, Writer, Creative Technologist) and MC Claire Evans (Director at Junior Major, a Sydney-based studio producing immersive and interactive media for the cultural sector), will explore how what is often thought of as visual storytelling involves more than just that one mode of perception – with sound an essential part of an engaging narrative. As technology continues to advance in virtual and augmented reality, audio continues to play an integral role in creating fully immersive worlds. This panel will discuss the future of immersive audio and the opportunities created for audiences in both physical and virtual spaces.

Our third Digital Futures Summit, Audio: Community, Connectivity and Audience, will take place online on Thursday 15 September, from 1.30 pm – 6.00 pm (AEST). Register for free here.