I make audio stories, mostly non-fictional, and I am a sociologist; sometimes I combine the two.
Transformation and the connections between political and intimate realms are key themes in my radio making.
My audio stories have been broadcast on community and public radio stations in Australia, Austria, Israel, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.S.; at live events such as Live Art Magazine, Kinokophone's sound cinema events, and the Deep Listening Festival, and at art exhibits and spaces, including MAG3 projectroom (Vienna), Soundings: Protest|Politics|Dissent (Durham, NC), Megapolis (Philadelphia), Tonspur/ MuseumsQuartier (Vienna) and studio das weisse haus (Vienna.)
Since 2016, I have been working on Strange Radio, a 7-episode experimental radio series about displacement, the stranger and Holocaust postmemory in Vienna. Strange Radio has been supported by Tonspur Kunstverein Wien, projectroom MAG3, ORF/01 Kunstradio, Orange 94.0FM, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and art residencies in Vienna with studio das weisse haus, MuseumsQuartier, and the Mobile Art Lab of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland. Episodes 6 +7 of Strange Radio were commissioned as sound installations by Tonspur and were the central pieces in the March 2018 exhibition, TONSPUR 76_expanded: "Karen Werner's HAUS, Plus A Group Of Works Circling About Holocaust Postmemory And The Stranger," at the projectroom MAG3 in Vienna.
I also produce radio stories and documentaries, most recently You Will Not See Me Die (co-produced with Wendy Call) for Australian Broadcast Corporation/ Radio National. In 2016, my radio documentary, Laws of Lost and Found Objects won the Grand Prix Marulić.
These days, wearing my sociologist hat, I write about radio, critical storytelling and autoethnography, performativity of language, decolonization and indigenous methodologies, and story as methodology. My articles and reviews have been published in International Review of Qualitative Research, Rethinking Marxism, Critical Sociology, American Journal of Sociology, Making Other Worlds Possible: Performing Diverse Economies (University of Minnesota Press), and Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet (ChangeMaker Publications.)
From 2014-16, I was a Tending Space Fellow with the Hemera Foundation, which supports people who have Buddhist and art practices.
I teach at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. I co-organize an audio listening circle called Audio Hearth in western Massachusetts, where I live. And I've recently launched a very low power FM pop-up radio station, WMTQ. I'm also having fun lately leading listening sessions on the politics of (radio) storytelling and teaching production workshops in radio storytelling and radio autoethnography.
I am grateful to many people for the joys that come from audio-making! Thank you family and friends, teachers and mentors, students, collaborators, the Hemera Foundation, studio das weisse haus, Orange 94.0FM in Vienna, Tonspur and the MuseumsQuartier, the HearSay International Audio Festival, and the Third Coast International Festival for fanning the flames of this form. Also grateful to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Buddhist sanghas I am part of, and many contemporary Indigenous scholars and others working on the politics and poetics of narrative.
Thank you Laura Wulf for your photos including the one just above. Donald Saaf painted the image, "Sound Collector," for this website.