“Making Space” series on women in STEM now in its second season

D. Hill Library Makerspace

D. Hill Library Makerspace

The NCSU Libraries launches its fall slate of events for its “Making Space” series with a hands-on podcast workshop and public talk by “Criminal” podcast co-creators Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer on Wednesday, August 24.

Building upon its highly successful first season, the “Making Space” series aims to close a persistent gender gap across STEM fields. “Making Space” public talks raise awareness among women about access to tools and technology and the scientific and creative fields that use such resources. These workshops lower barriers to entry for first-time users of makerspaces and serve as networking events for women in the NC State community.

“Criminal,” a true-crime broadcast that tells “stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle,” won last year’s Third Coast International Audio Festival “Best Documentary” award.

"So many of us are so close to touching or being touched by crime, but we go through life just escaping it," Judge noted when asked about the subject of their podcast. "That can change at any moment. We were interested in the line that separates our everyday life from this other world." 

Judge and Spohrer, public radio mainstays familiar to Triangle-area listeners, will hold a podcast workshop from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on August 24in the D. H. Hill Library Technology Sandbox (west wing). Participants will brainstorm themes and topics, discuss how to find and develop story ideas, and learn tricks of the trade for creating compelling interviews and narratives. No prerequisite classes needed; open to NC State community only. Free registration is required: www.lib.ncsu.edu/event/creating-podcast-criminals-phoebe-judge-and-lauren-spohrer.

Then, at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at D. H. Hill (west wing), Judge and Spohrer will give a talk, which is free and open to the public, about founding “Criminal” while working day jobs in public radio and their decision to join Radiotopia from PRX in order to make “Criminal” full time. They will also discuss the challenges of their independence and the freedoms and limitations of the podcast medium. 

"We wanted to make a point in saying, 'We are going to be a female-hosted podcast, but not just  a female-hosted podcast. We're going to be a female-run business.'" Judge points out that, while listeners don't necessarily find two female hosts to be a novelty, there are things that she and Spohrer do to make the show run that all too often surprise people.

"There are these ways that people think that women can't be doing every aspect of this show. They automatically assume that a man must be doing these rather technological aspects. But we do everything. We've taught ourselves every aspect of doing a podcast. There's no man hiding in a closet here."

But gender equity is not the only issue facing the podcast world, according to Judge. "I do think that more women are entering this space and proving themselves in terms of the popularity of their podcasts. This is 2016--the evidence is out there that we're doing it, so let's move on to a better conversation. And that better conversation should be about the lack of diversity in podcasting. What are we going to do about the fact that there are so many white people out here in the podcasting world?"

“Making Space” continues throughout the fall semester with a September visit from BuzzFeed’s Christine Sunu, the GE Internet of Things (IoT) Fellow at the Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts, for a talk and workshop on the IoT. GitHub’s February Keeney, the Engineering Manager for the Community and Safety team, visits in November to talk about privilege and intersectionality in the sciences and to conduct a patchwork workshop.

For more details and the full schedule of Making Space events, please visit our website.

Josephine McRobbie