The Narrative Podcast: Creating Intimate Stories for Immersive Experiences

Workshop - register now

Sarah Wambold, Clyfford Still Museum, USA, Josh Mattison, n/a, USA

The power of the narrative podcast is in its ability to immerse the listener in an intimate story. Like the best films, a narrative podcast explores subject matter through its characters, showing the world through their experiences. In this way, a well produced story can build relevancy, intimacy, and empathy with its listeners. Building on the success of the Clyfford Still Museum’s first narrative podcast, A Daughter’s Voice, the producers invoke podcasting’s best storytellers—Ira Glass of This American Life, Alex Blumberg of Gimlet Media, Sean Rameswaram of More Perfect, Sarah Koenig of Serial—to dissect the process, reveal pro tips and techniques, and hone participants’ skills in producing great content for powerful, immersive stories.

Museums tell lots of stories—in our web videos, our member magazines, our catalogues, our blogs, our didactics. But the narrative story format can be an elusive beast. Perhaps due to our object-based collections, or perhaps driven by our need to cut text lengths and running times to their essentials, we rarely produce stories in the traditional form: characters in conflict moving through a sequence of rising actions. This workshop returns to those elemental components, along with relevancy, emotion, stakes, and reflection, to create stories with resonance and appeal.

Participants will work hands-on with equipment, software, content, and eachother’s ideas to craft a narrative podcast episode in this full-day workshop. Workshop leaders (CSM’s Sarah Wambold and Denver Orbit’s Josh Mattison) will lead participants through story ideation, the narrative podcast interview, script writing, tracking, the editing process, sound design, and final post-production. The workshop will end with a discussion of onsite, in-gallery, and immersive installation options, using the successes, failures, and learnings of the Clyfford Still Museum’s recent installation as a case study.

Abel, Jessica, and Ira Glass. Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. Broadway Books, 2015.

Blumberg, Alex. “Power Your Podcast with Storytelling with Alex Blumberg | CreativeLive.” CreativeLive Blog,

Orin, Andy. “I'm Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.” Lifehacker,, 1 Mar. 2016,

Rameswaram, Sean. “Human vs. Robot: How to Track and Still Sound like Your Actual Self.” Third Coast International Audio Festival,

Rosenthal, Rob. “When A Good Idea For A Podcast Is A Bad Idea For A Podcast.” Transom, Transom, 7 Aug. 2017,