Radio & Audio Funding Award Finalists 2022

Unlike in previous years, our RAFA finalists will not be pitching their projects for a chance to become this year’s winner. Instead, our finalists have already won £1,000 each and are invited to join our Audio Development Workshop. The workshop is designed to bring on the excellent projects even further, through sharing experiences and with the help of some of the best audio experts in the biz.

Following the workshop, our 2022 RAFA Winner will be selected by our esteemed panel of judges, and will take home an additional £4,000 plus £1,000 worth of professional mentorship to see their project through to completion. Our winner will be announced on Rare FM – the University of London’s truly Global radio station on 10th January 2023, evening time GMT, and on our website shortly after.

Click on the images below for further details on these five incredible projects.

Kind of Woman | Suzie McCarthy

We Are Nature | Jaha Browne & Olivia Martin-McGuire

Through It All | Stepfanie Aguilar

Seven Stolen Paintings | Leo Schick

The Unconscious Glitch | Emilia Bryce

The War Less Traveled | Lauren Anders Brown

Tran, who was born in the USA to Vietnamese refugee parents, returns to her father’s country to explore the mental legacy two generations on from the devastation of war. Through her story, we learn the revisionist history of the ‘Resistance War Against America’ that the current generation is left fighting to this day.

Producer: Lauren Anders Brown is a documentary director and photographer who has worked in over 40 countries and focuses on global health and humanitarian issues. 

Judge Pam Fraser Soloman said: “This project is really important, really urgent, and it is an untold story about the Vietnamese boat people and intergenerational issues that the protagonist is facing.”

When Lauren heard she was a finalist, she responded: “Being a finalist with The Whickers means the world to me and this project, and I can’t wait to share the news with the rest of the team.”

Letters to Congo | Phoebe McIndoe

Nanou – a Congolese woman in the UK for the last 10 years – lives in an echoey limbo land, traced by the ghost of her murdered father and the memories of her homeland. Yet the fabric of a life can still be built from the most thread-bare of situations.

Producer: Phoebe McIndoe is a radio maker, walker and lover of poetry. She has made work for the BBCTransom, and makes an occasional podcast-series exploring the wonders of storytelling.

When Phoebe heard she was a finalist, she responded: “I had to do a celebratory dance in the kitchen when I received the email… We’re so grateful to be awarded the development funding, and to share with Nanou that we’re one step closer to getting her story heard. Thank you.”

Inside Project Dark Field | Andrew Gold

Unique access to Berlin’s infamous Project Dark Field (also known as Don’t Offend) which made scandalous headlines around the world for its liberal treatment of paedophiles. The controversial clinic never reports patients to authorities and claims this means that far more come forward for help…but is it yielding results or sanctioning abuse?

Producer: Andrew Gold is a journalist, podcaster and documentary maker who speaks five languages, and has traveled the world to make films about its weirdest and most fascinating inhabitants.

When Andrew heard he was a finalist, he responded: “I’m excited, amazed…and a little curious – fitting for a competition in Alan Whicker’s name.”

The Last Word | Talia Augustidis - Honourable Mention

‘Cries for help were heard from the bottom of the cliff and police and firemen searched for her in the darkness for three hours in the early hours of Saturday.’ This is how the BBC described the last moments before my Mother’s death; this piece tells a different story.

Producer: Talia Augustidis is a London based audio producer, interested in a creative blend of fact and fiction. 

When Talia heard she was a finalist, she responded: “I am incredibly honoured to be selected. I can’t wait to meet the other finalists and learn from such renowned industry professionals.”

Judge, Pam Fraser Solomon said of Talia’s project: “It will be a sophisticated and beautifully crafted piece that will be made with the one ingredient that is usually missing, which is love.”

Time, Paper, Bone | Catherine Boulle & Bongani Kona - Winner

South Africa’s Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) traces the remains of political activists “disappeared” between 1960–1994. Told through the case of Robben Island prisoner James Booi, whose grave was discovered just two months ago, this documentary follows the MPTT as they unearth answers for which families have long been waiting.

Co-Producer: Catherine Boulle is an audio maker, writer and researcher based at the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), University of Cape Town.

Co-Producer: Bongani Kona is a writer and editor of Our Ghosts Were Once People: Stories on Death and Dying, and a member of the curatorial team at the Archive of Forgetfulness project.

When Catherine and Bongani heard they were winners, they responded: We still can’t quite believe the news! But are overjoyed. This project matters deeply to us and to everyone involved, and we are really honoured to have the generous support of the Whickers to make it happen.

Judge, Pez Andrews said: “Time, Paper, Bone explores a universal experience of the desire for closure, against another prism through which to view the apartheid era. There is also a deep love and sense of connection with the characters, which we felt very strongly through Catherine and Bongani.”

Photo credit: Benjamin Stanwix

The War Less Travelled | Lauren Anders-Brown

If a war happens before you’re born and Agent Orange is still in the pipes poisoning the water today, is the war really over? Following Vietnamese-Americans facing their past, we learn the revisionist history of the ‘Resistance War Against America’ that the current generation is left fighting to this day.

Producer: Lauren Anders-Brown is a documentary director and photographer who has worked in over 40 countries and focuses on global health and humanitarian issues. Since being shortlisted for the RAFA 2020, the judges noted a huge development in her project and were happy to see it again in the finals.

When Lauren heard she was a finalist, she responded: “Most projects get a once in a lifetime opportunity like the Whicker’s RAFA – so having this opportunity a second time is a testament to the perseverance of the project and the team behind it.”

Kind of Woman | Suzie McCarthy

Radio producer, Suzie understands herself to be a ‘behind the scenes’ type until she has an epiphany during lockdown that it is, actually, her true destiny to play the fabulous female lead in the musical Fantasticks, and to see her name in lights. A joyous and witty adventure quest that winds up questioning what the hell it means to be a woman anyway.

Suzie McCarthy is a self-proclaimed ‘sound nerd’ from the UK, now living in Montréal, Canada. She loves audio featuring all things weird and wonderful.

When Suzie heard she was a finalist, she responded: “I am honestly in shock! I am delighted to be able to make my dream documentary come to life thanks to The Whickers, and I can’t wait to meet the other finalists too.”

We Are Nature | Olivia Martin-McGuire & Jaha Browne

“Who do I think owns the outdoors? The White Person.” So says the opening speaker in this wonderfully immersive and lavishly sound designed proposal. Only 1% of visitors to UK National Parks come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Why is it that BPoC communities in the UK do not feel like they belong in the outdoors and why does it matter so much?

A unique collaboration between Jaha Browne, a Black British Caribbean documentary filmmaker and sound healer and Olivia Martin-McGuire, a White British Australian documentary filmmaker and visual artist.

When Jaha and Olivia heard they were finalists, they responded: “We are blown away with the opportunity to make these women’s voices felt and heard deeply in an audio project. It is our hope to make this a deep listening experience for a UK audience.”


Through It All | Stepfanie Aguilar

5-year-old Jayla knows something is up. “My brain is telling me we’re homeless” she announces to her Mum, Janice. It is true. The dream of a life of freedom on the open road has crumbled. With a new-born, a partner and a wise child to care for, Janice finds herself down-and-out in LA. Every moment lovingly documented with the help of her audio producer friend Stephanie, we are drawn into the warm heart of a family that will reveal more than the statistics can ever show.

Stepfanie Aguilar the director of Through It All and a maker of personal audio documentaries. She is based in Los Angeles, California.

When Stepfanie heard she was a finalist, she responded: “When I got the news, I had to re-read the message because I couldn’t believe it. This is so exciting, and I’m SO grateful!”

Seven Stolen Paintings | Leo Schick

Leo is a woman on a mission. When her wealthy Jewish grandparents were forced to flee Paris in 1940, seven priceless paintings fell into Nazi hands. Some of them were by female artists depicting other women. Leonore feels they hold the key to understanding the grandparents she never knew. She has some hot leads but a decidedly lukewarm French father. He is unfussed about the restitution. Why? Could it simply be that he’s grumpy about being made to express himself in English ‘for the sake of the documentary’? A warm and revealing ‘hidden history’ story.

Leo Schick grew up in the UK and France, trained as an investigative journalist at City University then as a multi-format journalist at Associated Press in London. She now works in audio, and loves thoughtful narrative nonfiction storytelling.

When Leo heard she was a finalist, she responded: “This is incredible news, thank you so much! I’m so excited to begin to tell this part of my family’s story.”

The Unconscious Glitch | Emilia Bryce

Emilia is a fainter. Her dad is a fainter. It is the perpetual undercurrent to both of their lives. Now she uses her audio skills to capture the moment of the faint and to determine why it happens and how it might be stopped. A third of us faint at some point in our lives. Separating fact from fable, Emilia draws together an impressive cast of characters from neuroscience and psychology in her quest to fix the glitch.

Emilia Bryce is a 22 year-old documentary radio director, currently studying Architectural and Interdisciplinary studies at University College London (UCL). Fun fact: she likes to crochet big spiders webs out of recycled T-shirt fabric.

When Emilia heard she was a finalist, she responded: “I’m so very honoured and excited to be a finalist. I’m having to physically restrain myself from running around and telling everyone I know.”