Applications for the $2500 Braden Storytelling Grant open each year in January.
2023 grantees and mentors on what to expect from the Braden Storytelling Grant (and why you should apply).

What is the Braden Storytelling Grant?

Each year, the Stanford Storytelling Project awards Braden Grants to a small number of students to support the research, writing, and production of audio documentaries. The aim of the program is to help students learn how to tell powerful, research-driven stories based on testimony they gather through interviews, research, or oral history archives. Grantees receive up to $2,500, as well as teaching, training, and mentorship during the period of the grant (March-December).

In January of each year, all of the documentaries are aired on KZSU and published on the Soundings podcast. All pieces will be considered for inclusion in State of the Human, the Storytelling Project’s premier, award-winning podcast. State of the Human episodes are aired weekly on KZSU, Stanford’s public radio station, and some stories reach national broadcast outlets.

Kinds of Research

This grant program supports two kinds of research:

A documentary about a specific community or historical event. This research would focus on a specific community that has formed around a discrete historical circumstance, interest, or identity (e.g., political movement, community space, hobbies, identity) or specific event (e.g. a protest, a cultural phenomenon, or scientific discovery). Students are encouraged to choose communities or events that have not already been well documented and be able to identify oral history archives or people whom they will interview for the documentary. Students may belong to community or have experienced the event that they will document.

A documentary about an oral tradition. This research would focus on a specific tradition, culture, or medium of storytelling, from ancient traditions and indigenous cultures to contemporary radio and performance. Students might study the oral tradition of a particular geographic region, language, or ethnic group. Students might also study a specific oral tradition or genre, such as German folklore or Zen Buddhist teaching tales. Or students might study modern forms of oral narrative from live monologues to radio documentaries, like those produced live by The Moth or broadcast by programs such as This American Life or Radio Diaries.

Ready to apply? Here’s what you need to know.


Grantees must be enrolled students during the entire duration of their project (March through December). This means that students graduating in the sprint of the application year are not eligible, although students may apply if they will co-term and/or enrolled through the following fall term.

Timeline and Requirements for Applicants and Grantees


  • Attend Braden Grant info session on Monday, January 22, 2024, 5:00-6:00 p.m. at the Hume Center Lounge. Food provided!
  • Set up a meeting with one of the SSP staff through Storylab to discuss your project idea and receive coaching for your application.
  • The Braden Grant application system will be open for submissions through February 24, 2024.
  • Please note that you must meet with an SSP staff member prior to submitting your application.
  • Complete your application and submit it here.

Applications must be submitted through the link above by no later than 11:59 p.m. on February, 24, 2024 (2/24/24). Applications for students who have not met with an SSP staff will not be considered.

Accepted grantees will be notified in March, and will complete their grant through the steps below.


  • Attend three (3) 2-hour training sessions designed to equip you with the foundations you’ll need to conduct your interviews, pursue your research, and begin writing and producing your audio story.
  • Schedule a minimum of three (3) 30-minute meetings with your assigned mentor in spring quarter to review the content of training sessions, map out your story, refine your research questions, schedule your research and interview schedule for the summer, develop interview questions, and become familiar with equipment and software.
  • Complete one in-studio session with your mentor where you’ll track narration for your first audio draft before the end of spring quarter.
  • Schedule and commit to a weekly meeting with your mentor (via phone or Zoom) throughout the summer.


  • Work with your mentor and your group members to complete short exercises designed to help you learn audio editing software, implement what you learned in the spring workshops, and lay the foundation for your interviews and research.
  • Meet with your mentor weekly (phone or Zoom) to update them on your progress, troubleshoot issues, and discuss story-crafting as you complete interviews and research and your project develops.
  • Meet with your workshop group monthly.
  • Complete ALL interviews and upload them both to Descript and to a shared Google Drive folder by NO LATER than August 1st, 2024.
  • Complete a step script of your project by no later than August 15th, 2024.
  • Complete and submit your written script to your mentor by August 30th, 2024. This should include any clip pulls from your interviews, as well as written narration and notes for sound design.
  • Submit an audio draft of your script by September 15th, 2024.


  • All grant recipients must enroll in ORALCOMM 126, a Friday morning, 1-unit graded production workshop course in the fall quarter that will guide you through the final steps of podcast production (e.g. tracking narration, sound design, editing interview clips, mixing and mastering).

    Please note that the 1-unit is not a reflection of the amount of work you may do to complete your project outside of class in conjunction with your mentor. Expect the workload to be more like a 4-credit class. You are strongly advised to take a lighter course load during the fall quarter to allow time outside of class to complete your project.
  • Come to the first class ready to workshop your audio draft and having listened to the audio drafts of your group members.
  • Attend 3 Fall Workshops during Open Editorial (Fridays, 12-2pm in Sweet 403).
  • Continue to meet weekly with your mentor and group to update them on progress, troubleshoot issues, and receive help with writing, audio editing, tracking narration, sound design, and all other aspects of podcast production.
  • Submit all assignments for the Braden class, which include smaller weekly assignments to keep you on track with your project, as well as listening assignments and workshop feedback for your classmates as you together work toward your final projects.
  • Turn in your final project by the end of the fall quarter (see specific date on the ORALCOMM 126 syllabus). This includes uploading to the shared Google Drive folder the exported audio (.mp3 and .wav), corresponding transcript, and all audio files and Hindenburg sessions used for the project.

How to Apply

Using the form below, submit your project proposal and your proposed budget. You’ll upload your completed proposal both as a pdf and as responses to each question in the form below. We recommend copying and pasting the questions below into a separate document. For each of the questions, your responses should be no more than 200 words (and you are encouraged to use fewer words when possible).

Your application will include responses to the following questions:


1) Question: What question are you exploring with this project?

2) Context/Conversation: How will the work that others have already done on this topic inform your work?

3) Stakes: Why does it matter so much to you to tell this story? Why will it matter to listeners to hear it?


4) Method: What steps will you take in conducting your research? (e.g. are there texts or archives you’re consulting, specific people you will interview?)
5) Preparation: What previous training, experience, or exposure have you had to the topic, and how has it prepared you for this project?
6) Budget: What will it cost to complete this project? Please attach a budget with line items for all expenses (e.g. translation services, travel, etc.). Note: audio recording equipment will be provided by SSP.

7) Timeline: In addition to the project deadlines provided by your mentors, what specific goals and deadlines will you set for yourself to complete this project in the allotted time, particularly in the early months of your project (March-August 2024)?

The link to submit your 2024 application is here.

Listen to projects completed by previous Braden Grantees here.
For any questions about the award not answered here, contact: