The Art of Radio

The Art of Radio with Sara Parker

  • Age: 16+
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time/Date: 2.30 – 6.30 pm, Thursday 6th April 2017
  • Venue: DINA, Cambridge St, Sheffield, S1 4HP
  • Cost: Free
  • Registration: Women and girls please register here

This workshop will be led by the renowned radio producer Sara Parker.

Please note: The first part of this workshop is open to everyone (2.30 – 4.30 pm, no registration required), but the second part (5.00 – 6.30 pm, registration required) is for women and girls only.

First, Sara will give a talk (open to everyone), an introduction to the art of producing, writing, and editing feature-length work on the radio, drawing on her experience of working for the BBC and independent broadcasters. We will also listen together to a full-length radio ballad.

Following a short break, we will then continue with a hands-on session (open to women and girls only). Participants will be encouraged to bring and discuss ideas they want to pitch for the radio, and to develop scripts in smaller groups.

Workshop details

In the first part of the workshop, Sara plans talk about her career and passion for radio illustrated by examples of her work – and then play whole of one of her father’s original Radio Ballads – The Big Hewer about coal mining with the lights turned down, inspired by which introduced a compelling way of listening to radio through its events.

For the second part of the workshop, we welcome submissions of ideas for a short radio feature (10-30 mins). The description of your idea can be in any format, e.g. a one-paragraph text, a short audio-file, or an image with comments. Sara will then select a small number of these submissions as case studies for further development during the workshop.

About Sara Parker

Sara Parker is an award-winning programme-maker, working mainly for BBC Radio. Her montage style gives voice to individuals and communities, often covering hard-edged social issues from prostitution and pornography to teenage violence and suicide. Daughter of pioneering producer Charles Parker, one of Sara’s programmes explored the making of the Radio Ballads. A range of her work  as a producer can be heard via the Falling Tree website  or on BBC iPlayer – including a recent programme forRadio 4’s The Untold – Some Mother’s Son – and also a documentary with University of Sheffield historian Dina Gusejnova  on the social history of Tarpaulin.

Sara has been a guest lecturer at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago and at University of Westminster and Goldsmiths as well as a regular lecturer for BBC Radio Training. Her father’s archive is held at Birmingham Central Library and she is a founder trustee of the Charles Parker Archive Trust. The annual Charles Parker Day is this year taking place in the Hubs at the Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Union on April 7th. There is a Charles Parker Prize for student features – and every year Sara presents a programme on Radio 4 Extra to showcase the winners.


This event is organised by Dina Gusejnova (University of Sheffield) and Amy Beeston (University of Sheffield/YSWN Sheffield). We would like to thank DINA, the Charles Parker Archive Trust and the University of Sheffield’s Modern International History Group  (sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Post Graduate Forum) and the Think Ahead programme for financial and in-kind contributions.

For any additional information on this workshop or any other of our Sheffield events, please contact us on