Across the TV and film industries, writers with disabilities are heavily underrepresented. While an estimated 15% of the global population is disabled, these individuals only make up 1% of the creative workforce. When it comes to podcasting, though, there’s a huge opportunity to shift the balance on representation. Thanks to a lower barrier to entry, podcasting has offered an alternate route for creators with disabilities to make their mark. But the rapidly growing and evolving nature of the podcasting industry means there’s still a lot of need to invest in underrepresented artists. Until now, there haven’t been any programs that support podcasters with disabilities who are working to break through.
Spotify is partnering with the Inevitable Foundation to launch Elevate for Podcasters, a program that empowers professional podcasters with disabilities with the funding, mentorship, equipment, and accommodations they need to level up their careers.
“We want to create a world where disabled storytellers are able to create projects about anything they want, regardless of whether their stories contemplate disability, which is only one part of their complex identities,” Richie Siegel and Marisa Torelli-Pedevska, the cofounders of Inevitable Foundation, told For the Record in a statement. “For a community that has been shut out of so many creative industries for so long, the lower barriers of entry for podcasting create a fruitful starting point to make sizable gains when it comes to fostering the next generation of disabled podcasters and storytellers.”
Those who are accepted into the program will receive a $10,000 grant, which can be used for:
- Professional Development: Content-based professional development such as script consulting, and education and workshops on broader storytelling; technical professional development such as education on editing and mixing.
- Accommodations: Expenses to make podcasts more accessible, including transcripts and other forms of access.
- Equipment: Essential equipment for podcasting, editing, or work.
- Show Marketing: Essential marketing expenses for a show, which includes ads, creative, and festival fees.
- Living Expenses: To support the ongoing careers of disabled podcasters.
- IP Licensing: To license IP to adapt into a fiction podcast.
Participants will also receive ongoing support through quarterly check-ins with the Inevitable Foundation team, as well as community-building events where members can expand their professional networks and meet other creatives with disabilities in podcasting, film, and television.
“At Spotify, we’re constantly looking for ways to amplify diverse and underestimated voices through the power of audio,” says Dina Gabriel, Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Spotify. “This partnership with the Inevitable Foundation offers a unique opportunity for us to utilize our platform to create pathways for creators with disabilities and provide them with tools and resources that will help them hone their craft and build their professional careers.”
How to apply
So who is eligible for the Elevate for Podcasters program? For starters, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- They self-identify as disabled.
- They are 18 years of age or older.
- They are currently pursuing a career in podcasting.
- They are not enrolled in an accredited degree program.
In addition, applicants must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- They have an agent/manager for podcasting.
- They have writing, directing, or producing credits on a fiction-genre audio project completely funded by a major audio platform or production company.
- One of their audio projects has been acquired by a major studio, production company, or podcast network.
- They’ve successfully crowdfunded $10,000 or more for one of their audio projects.
- They’ve created their own fiction podcast that has received over 10,000 listens per episode on average over a 30-day period.
- They’ve created and produced at least 30 fiction podcast episodes (can be across multiple shows).
- They’ve had their show recognized by a mainstream or independent outlet (that has multiple writers) for news or criticism.
We’re thrilled to launch this first-of-its-kind program as a way to raise the visibility of this talented group of artists. Those interested in Elevate for Podcasters can click this link and apply starting today. Winners will be selected starting in early 2023.
For more information, please visit https://inevitable.foundation/podcasters.