Pod Accelerator Web Banne

Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab in partnership with Inspirit Foundation

Together with Inspirit Foundation, Hot Docs is thrilled to announce the launch of a new year-round Podcast Development Lab serving BIPOC creators based in Canada.

The lab will offer five fellowships for emerging BIPOC storytellers with non-fiction series ideas in early development. Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their podcast ideas and create a proof-of-concept sample that will help take their work to the next level.

Throughout the fellowship, participants will meet as a group and one-on-one with seasoned audio creators and mentors to develop their project ideas, hone their skills, and navigate pathways to success in the podcast industry. Each project will also receive a $1,000 creator grant to support the development of their work.

In partnership with

2021 Fellows

We’ve announced the five non-fiction audio projects that will be developed from July to September 2021, with the support of the Inspirit Foundation.

The selection committee for the Podcast Development Lab includes Toronto podcasters and producers Al Donato (Born and Raised, HuffPost Canada) and Aliya Pabani (We Are Not the Virus, Apple Podcasts), and Stephanie McArthur, Senior Industry Programs Manager for Hot Docs.

20 Red Flags
Nicole Doucette & Lucas Kavanagh (Vancouver)
The story of Bre-X, a small Canadian mining company that pulled off the world’s biggest gold mining fraud, costing investors billions. Over 20 years later, this podcast plans to uncover the mystery of who did it, and why.

Melissa Haughton (Toronto)
A podcast that steps outside of our definitions of Black excellence and sitting with the messy, challenging and joyful stories that exist on the other side.

Made Up Words
Isabelle Ruiz De La Orden (Montréal)
What has to be forgotten, hidden, or invented, to have a liberated Canadian childhood? This podcast examines Canadian summer camps and their reliance on Indigenous dispossession and exploitation to foster meaningful nature and land-bound experiences for largely non-Indigenous children. The creator’s years at Quebec’s oldest summer camp are revisited in the context of their Kayen’kehá:ka (Mohawk) identity, and the smaller scale cultural and social dispossession they, and many Indigenous people, must reckon with.

Money No Get Enemy
Oshamimi Mayaki & Alexandra Sproule (Toronto)
From the middle ages, caravans crossed the desert and ships crossed the seas to spend money, lots of it, at West Africa’s greatest markets. This is the story of that money, in all its forms, and what happened to all that wealth.

Stories My Grandmother Never Told Me
Sarena Parmar (Toronto)
A podcast that uncovers the unconventional figures and untold histories of the Sikh-Canadian community. Grounded by multigenerational conversations between Sikh elders and the next generation, this six-part series illuminates how these hidden stories from the past impact our sense of identity today, as guests and audiences unfold the legacy of Sikh-Canadians in real-time.


  • Enrollment in the Hot Docs Podcast Development Lab
  • Complimentary accreditation to Hot Docs Podcast Festival
  • Private intensive creative development story sessions, career planning, and skill development sessions encompassing topics such as story structure, pitching, promotion and distribution
  • One-on-one sessions with lab mentors for directed project feedback and career advice
  • $1,000 creator grant (per project) to support the development of the project

Lab and Mentorship
Fellows will participate in a private online lab taking place from July through September 2021. During the lab, fellows will hear from a variety of industry experts and will engage in in-depth workshops.

Please note that the lab is held in English, applicants should be comfortably fluent in English in order to participate. The lab sessions and private meetings with mentors will take place virtually using video conferencing technologies.

Fellows will also virtually meet one-on-one with lab mentors to receive specific feedback on their projects and work towards their learning and production goals.

This fellowship program will focus on story development, pitching, navigating the podcast industry, marketing and dissemination. The program will not focus on technical training (editing, recording, mixing, mastering, sound design, etc)

Mentors will include seasoned audio creators and industry veterans, and efforts will be made to ensure that they are reflective of the priority groups this program is intended to serve.

Accessibility Support
Hot Docs will work with selected applicants to ensure they are able to fully participate in the program. Resources such as personal support workers or ASL interpreters can be available as needed on an individual basis.


Hot Docs is committed to nurturing, developing, and showcasing new and diverse voices. We believe in storytelling in all its forms as a means to greater empathy and understanding; and we aim to dismantle systemic barriers to allow equal access for everyone to tell their stories and have those stories heard.

The Inspirit Foundation envisions a more inclusive and pluralist Canada where our differences are valued and engaged, and everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive both socially and economically. We promote inclusion and pluralism through media and arts, support for young content creators, and impact investing—specifically addressing discrimination based on ethnicity, race, or religion.

Questions? Contact:
Stephanie McArthur
Senior Industry Programs Manager

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