Born in Dublin, Siobhan McHugh graduated from University College Dublin with a B.Sc and worked as an editor, writer, and radio producer, before emigrating to Australia in 1985.

An award-winning writer, podcaster and documentary-maker, Siobhan also has broad experience of oral history as a practitioner, teacher and consultant. Her oral histories range across social, cultural, scientific, environmental, multicultural and political themes and have been made into books, films, TV and radio documentaries and podcasts, CDs, a stage play, and featured online.

Siobhan has won the NSW Premier’s literary award for non-fiction and been shortlisted twice for the NSW Premier’s History awards. Her radio documentaries and podcasts have won international awards [six gold and two bronze medals, New York Radio Festival, Asia-Pacific Best Radio Documentary: co-winner] and been shortlisted for a Walkley, a Eureka science award and the United Nations Media Peace Prize.

In 2013, Siobhan founded the open access online journal RadioDoc Review, which commissions in-depth critiques by eminent practitioners and/or scholars of the world’s best audio storytelling features, documentaries and podcasts. It has developed a new vocabulary for the audio feature form, filling a significant gap in critical textual studies. Siobhan’s pioneering work in establishing podcast and audio storytelling criticism was recognised when she was awarded the inaugural Anne Dunn research excellence award (2014), judged by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association. Siobhan McHugh 2017 pic Carly Burn


See Siobhan’s award-winning work here and/or download. Themes include a landmark series on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, Australian women’s involvement in the Vietnam War, the isolated mining town of Broken Hill, the Stolen Generations, Palm Island, a history of tourism on the Great Barrier Reef, a history of the Irish in Australia, sectarianism and mixed marriage, dam-building and irrigation, and Ireland in the ’60s. Siobhan was Consulting Producer on Phoebe’s Fall (2016), a multi-awardwinning podcast from The Age newsroom about the garbage-chute death of a young woman and the botched police investigation that followed. She worked with host Richard Baker from The Age on two more award winning podcasts, Wrong Skin (2018) and The Last Voyage of the Pong Su (2019). Siobhan has a chapter on these collaborations in a forthcoming Routledge anthology, The Companion to Radio Studies, ed. Lindgren and Loviglio (2021).


Siobhan and Journalism colleagues Marcus O’Donnell and Shawn Burns.
Photo: University of Wollongong 2012

Siobhan is Associate Professor in Journalism at the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney. She launched a podcasting subject in 2016 and also teaches feature writing, narrative journalism, audio storytelling and radio broadcasting. Her research focuses on analysing the aesthetics, new formats and evolving audience relationships emerging in the podcast sphere and on harnessing the affective power of sound and oral history for built audio storytelling formats. Her article, “The Affective Power of Sound: Oral History on Radio”, was among the most cited of Oral History Review (US). It was part of a special online issue of the “fifteen most influential articles” to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the US Oral History Association and is included in the foremost anthology of oral history scholarship, the Oral History Reader (Routledge 2016).

With the respected art historian Ian McLean and the Head of Indigenous Knowledges at the National Museum of Australia, Margo Neale, she researched crosscultural aspects of the production of Aboriginal art on an ARC-funded project. The associated website, Heart of Artness, showcases six podcast episodes, based on some 30 oral histories recorded in remote and urban communities. Episode 2 won  a GOLD award at the New York Radio Festival in 2019. Siobhan and Margo also made a radio documentary and podcast,  The Conquistador, The Warlpiri  and  the  Dog Whisperer, commissioned by ABC  (2018).


Siobhan continues to research engaging ways of capturing and presenting personal stories and analysing the transformation of voice through crafted audio features and podcasts. Her work featured at the Global Editors Network Media Summits in 2019 (Athens), 2018 (Lisbon), 2016, 2017 (Vienna) and 2015 (Barcelona). She has also been an invited speaker at Harvard University (2011),  Concordia University, Montreal  (2011) and Iran (International Radio Conference keynote speaker 2010) and at “Uni in the Brewery” and “Budding ideas”, public showcases for leading researchers at the University of Wollongong. See the film of her Power of Voice presentation at Uni in the Brewery, 2011. Siobhan was a featured speaker at The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, on The Affective Power Of Voice (2014). She was a keynote speaker at the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union’s conference in Chengdu, China (2017) and will deliver the annual lecture for the Oral History Network of Ireland on 9 December 2020.


Siobhan has been a podcast consultant to organisations ranging from the Australian War Memorial and Fairfax Media (Australia) to overseas groups such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (USA) and Rutas Del Conflicto (Colombia), which is documenting stories of survivors of FARC incursions. She ran a sold-out Masterclass at the Oral History of Australia Conference (2017) and has appeared at podcasting events such as the Walkley Foundation’s Storyology (2017) and #OzPod 2017 at the ABC, Sydney, where she discussed the ethics of podcasting. She has written extensively on podcasting for The Conversation and is a featured contributor to The Conversation’s podcast, Trust Me: I’m an Expert, launching 2017. Siobhan’s proposed Hub for Innovation in Podcasting (HIP), a collaboration with Professor Peter Fray of UTS, was shortlisted through two rounds of the Walkley Media Incubation and Innovation Fund (2017). Her chapter, Memoir For Your Ears: The Podcast Life, is in the scholarly anthology, Mediating Memory (Routledge 2017). Siobhan’s MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling (2018-2020), attracted over 35,000 participants from 150 countries. One wrote that it has changed her life.https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/podcasting


TV documentaries Siobhan has co-written include Echo of a Distant Drum, a series for ABC TV on the Irish in Australia and The Irish Empire for SBS TV on the Irish diaspora. She has published six books, including The Snowy: The People Behind the Power, which won the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Award for Non-fiction in 1990.