Cathy for Sky Arts, Little Volcanoes follows the rhythms of a day at Pilgrims Hospice, Margate, from early morning, meeting Claudia the cat at the end of the night shift to the nurse’s final “goodnight” to her patients. We hear patients as they talk about their illnesses; the things and people they love. Award judge Alan Hall said of the piece: “The artifice is very well hidden, though the use of sound is highly accomplished and people are treated with an open sensitivity. It gives you an insight in to a world that most of us haven’t previously inhabited.” Hear the programme here.
The runner-up was Francesca Panetta from London, for her enchanting audio piece The Dhammazedi Bell. Her documentary, which examines a 400 year old myth claiming that the largest bell in the world rolled to the bottom of the Bago River during an attempted theft, can be heard here.
2017 Joint Winner
A documentary about first and last dances and what happens when an instrument as finely tuned as a dancer’s body begins to change. In this moving audio programme, producer Eleanor McDowall followed ballet dancers from the beginning to the end of their careers, from young dancers training at the Royal Ballet School to former principal ballerinas and one influential dance company that refuses to let age be a limitation. Listen to the full programme here on the BBC Radio 4 website.
2017 Joint Winner
A fierce drought in Oklahoma’s ‘No Man’s Land’ – a region that was the heart of the 1930s Dust Bowl – stirs up dust storms, memories and myths. In this parched terrain of ghost towns and mirages, the wells are running dry but the stories continue to flow. Producer Cicely Fell talked to locals about their memories of growing up in the Dust Bowl, an area once thought to be an elegant, tree-lined Utopia, now a barren land where the storytelling spins out of the landscape itself. Listen to the full programme here on SoundCloud.
The runner-up Audio Recognition Award of £2,000 was awarded to John Fecile for Blink Once for Yes. Aged 20, John Fecile’s younger brother Mike sustained a traumatic brain injury after he leapt from a fourth floor balcony. Four years later, the family made the heartbreaking decision to end his life. This documentary combined interviews and intimate scenes with the family as they looked back on the decision that they made.