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.

Listen to previous grant winning projects here

Ready to apply?

2023 grantees and mentors on what to expect from the Braden Storytelling Grant (and why you should apply).