Chronicle 2010; inter-disciplinary practice based research in documentary and the space of Web 2.0.

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Fac of Arts Creative Ind and Education

Abstract


We are witnessing a fundamental shift from the twentieth century when creating content was the exclusive preserve of a few media professionals. Non-professionals are now sharing forms of documentary reflection by publishing text, stills and increasingly video online. This project is situated in the context of this emerging field of participatory media and explores how it might develop in the second generation web environment known as 'Web 2.0.'
'Web 1.0' can be seen as a publishing platform, an information source which included many personal web sites. The 'Web 2.0' platform arguably facilitates mass collaboration through data sharing, social networks, folksonomies, online tools for content creation, and rich media. Wikipedia, Flickr, Facebook exemplify 'Web 2.0' and suggest its power. With 'Web 2.0' evolving rapidly we are only just beginning to glimpse the creative potential of this space. This project will work with and reflect on 'Web 2.0' tools and applications and explore the new forms of creativity that it allows.
Many documentaries can now be accessed online / whether short form video or longer 'auteur' work / but these are generally linear pieces which simply use the web as a distribution platform. More dynamic possibilities are emerging. On some video sharing sites and in Vlogs (video blogs) one can see pieces created in a 'a call and response' mode; a creative dialogue in rich media. Additionally there are some experiments in collaboration underway / the Echo Chamber project in the field of journalism, the mashups in OpenSource.com. My concern is with what a documentary practice might look like which takes advantage of the alleged affordances of Web 2.0 - the dialogic and collaborative potential of the network, the online tools for content creation and sharing. All new media form themselves out existing cultural practices. My project will investigate / in practice and in theory / the potential for the 'creative treatment of actuality' (John Grierson's definition of documentary) as a collaborative practice in the Web 2.0 environment.
These are urgent issues for Documentary, New Media Studies and for the media industry and ones which I believe I am perfectly placed to address.

Publications

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Dovey J (2012) We're happy and we know it: Documentary, data, montage in Studies in Documentary Film

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Rose, M. Dovey, J (2013) The Documentary Film Book

 
Title Mary Ward considers the Mechanical Carriage (aka Four Wheels Good) 
Description Mary Ward is a web documentary project - the third practice output of the Fellowship. The project addresses the car and its impacts on community, society and the environment through the persona of Mary Ward - the first known fatality of a traffic accident 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Discussion surrounding the production of short shareable media as a tactical response to the networked environment of the web. Debate about the role f traffic in the lives of children in particular. 
URL http://mechanicalcarriage.com/
 
Title Searching for Happiness 
Description Searching for Happiness is Stage 2 of The 'Are You Happy?' Project - the practice output of the Fellowship in Creative and Performing Arts. The Project is a multi-year, multi-facetted exploration of the intersection between documentary and networked culture. Fifty years after Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin launched their seminal 1961 documentary, 'Chronique d'un Eté', at a new moment of technological change, Rose has gathered footage from filmmakers and film enthusiasts around the world who she invited to revisit or restage the vox pop sequences from that film. Launched in May 2013 - Searching for Happiness takes advantage of the latest generation of web technology (HTML5) to investigate the potential of live data for the "creative treatment of actuality" (John Grierson's 1926 definition of documentary). Selected video contributions are combined through montage with social media - Tweets, Flickr images - drawn in 'live'. In this version of the project, entitled 'Searching for Happiness', the use of social media provides live re-contextualisation of the video content, re-inscribing some of the social and cultural surround that is lost within the filming process. Based on search terms, the social media is contingent, specific and emergent, so that the user-experience of the documentary changes from person to person and moment to moment. In this respect 'Searching for Happiness' offers an enunciation of documentary as live experience and open text. Grounded by its reference to a previous moment of innovation, The 'Are You Happy?' Project provides a framework that elucidates the mix of continuity and novelty at play in digital documentary. The reference to Rouch also evokes his view of documentary as a process of collaborative meaning-making, which provides a context for a critical focus on the co-creative aspects of this work and of wider trends in crowd-sourcing documentary content. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Showing the project has stimulated substantial interest in the potential of live data as a component of documentary. Demonstrated by the development by my colleague Prof Jon Dovey of a proposal to CDEC - Connected Digital Economy Catapult - of a platform for data integration into video - working title Context Engine - for use within industry settings. CDEC are very interested in supporting this. Match funding is being sought. 
URL http://www.theareyouhappyproject.org/
 
Title The Are you happy? Project - a web documentary 
Description "The Are you happy? Project" was the first production in the Chronicle 2010 Project (now known as CollaborativeDocs). The Project is a multi-year, multi-facetted exploration of the intersection between documentary and networked culture. Fifty years after Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin launched their seminal 1961 documentary, 'Chronique d'un Eté', at a new moment of technological change, Rose has gathered footage from filmmakers and film enthusiasts around the world who she invited to revisit or restage the vox pop sequences from that film. Grounded by its reference to a previous moment of innovation, The 'Are You Happy?' Project provides a framework that elucidates the mix of continuity and novelty at play in digital documentary. The reference to Rouch also evokes his view of documentary as a process of collaborative meaning-making, which provides a context for a critical focus on the co-creative aspects of this work and of wider trends in crowd-sourcing documentary content. Stage 2 of the project - Searching for Happiness - a "living documentary" that brought the videos together with social media and other online data - launched in 2014. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact "The Are you happy? Project" was selected by the Comite du Film Ethnographique for showing in the Rencontres Narrativite Singulieres section of the Jean Rouch International Festival in Paris, November 2011. It was included in MIT Open Doclab's _docubase in 2014. 
URL http://www.theareyouhappyproject.org/about
 
Description 1. My central research insight concerns the disruption to documentary which has come about in the context of digital. The impact is not only expressed at the level of form. Computerisation and the social, semantic and open web are between them producing an environment in which documentary tools, technology, funding, form, process, authorship and distribution are all reworked, and the audience become actors - capturing, liking, sharing, and potentially producing content. Documentary is transformed within a new media ecology.

2. Lev Manovich and Henry Jenkins have both observed the tendency within digital culture for marginal twentieth-century cultural forms to be reinvented. My second key insight concerns the contemporary re-emergence and transformation of forms of community media and participatory art. Building (at times explicitly) on 20th century precedents in participatory art, community and access video, documentarists are seeking approaches to making purposeful digital work with people rather than about them. They adopt a range of modes - acting as facilitators, curators, collaborators. They experiment with architectures of participation, seeking ethical and aesthetic strategies; ways to be true to participants and engage an audience, to create the conditions within which a necessary story can be told, in a context of meaningful dialogue.

3. In this new environment the role of the director/producer is often becoming a practice of co-creativity. I have explored this role in the growing repository of interviews with key practitioners published on the CollabDocs blog. One feature of this environment is an emphasis on process and face-to-face interaction with interactive media providing a stage for a public conversation. A co-creative approach to documentary provides a progressive re-working of documentary's historic role in the public sphere, as an open space for dialogue and a stage for the performance of citizenship.

4. The fourth research finding concerns the potential for documentary within the 'ubiquitous data' that is both consequence and driver of the online environment. In particular I have noted the morphing of the character of video in the context of the latest web coding language, HTML5. Before that coding language became common web video was impervious to its life online; published online in a way that reproduced the conditions of the TV screen. Now, existing databases and live information drawn from social media can be connected to the documentary environment, offering opportunities for the production of new kinds of knowledge and application.

The affordances of networked connectivity offer the potential to re-contextualise documentary material through mobilising the enormous co-creative potential of human discourse captured in the web. This has been a central theme of my web documentary, "Searching for Happiness". That documentary has sought to find a form to shape live content into a coherent experience. The project points the way to the re-invention of documentary for the online environment and the creation of new visual and informational grammars.
Exploitation Route The invitations that I continue to receive to speak, present, and participate in a variety of convenings both in the UK and internationally attest to the substantial interest that there is in the insights I have developed within the framework of the CollabDocs AHRC Research Fellowship within creative economy and pedagogical contexts. Documentary is in a process of transformation as described above as well as hybridising with other genres. The intersection between journalism and documentary online is of particular note. Research is required to map these new landscapes and consider the reframing of both cultures. How does the reader / user comprehend content where journalisms's strict codes around impartiality and consent meet the looser, more creative framework of documentary?
There is much interest among practitioners also in the community media and Access TV precedents of 21st century participatory documentary. Further work could address specific case studies and develop resources to equip documentarians with models and protocols so that they can to think about how to work effectively and ethically with non-professionals.

Additionally there is significant interest among practitioners in the use of live data within documentary - a central exploration within the Searching for Happiness project. There is a project in development for CDEC Creative Catapult by my colleague Jon Dovey which builds on the findings from that project. This proposes the development of a platform for industry - The Context Engine - which would allow editors / users to plug live data into documentary content.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education

URL https://collabdocs.wordpress.com
 
Description The unique platform for exploration provided by the Research Fellowship and my ensuing research findings continue to be of great interest within the creative economy. I have been and continue to be invited to present my work in a variety of KE and industry contexts in the UK and abroad. In particular I have been invited to talk within the BBC on a number of occasions - streamed live to three locations at a BBC Connected Studio development lab in 2013 for instance, and have been cited as an influence on the development of the BBC iWonder interactive learning platform and on a forthcoming participatory media platform. I was an advisor on the AHRC funded REACT Future Documentary Sandbox (2013) and have been invited to take part as a "Decision Maker" in Sheffield DocFest's Crossover Market (2013 -16). I am one of the curators on the MIT OpenDoc Lab _docubase - a key resource for practitioners of emerging documentary. In 2014 / 2015 I was the only UK advisor on MIT Open Documentary Lab's MacArthur Foundation funded research - Mapping the Intersection of Two Cultures; Interactive Documentary and Digital Journalism - a resource intended to support the media industry within journalism and more broadly in managing editorial strategy around convergence. As an advisor I attended a convening at MIT OpenDocLab - offering insight and chairing a panel in a gathering which featured representatives from the New York Times, The Guardian, the BBC, The Sundance Institute as well as leading Professors in the field of convergence - Henry Jenkins, Andrew DeVigal among them. At the same time, as Co-Director of the i-Docs project, I bring my research to bear in leading UWE Bristol's i-Docs project - developing and supporting the i-Docs community of scholars and makers - co-convening the i-Docs Symposia - 2012,14,16, co-hosting the facebook group (2,000+ participants) and overseeing the website. i-Docs is the major international meeting point for scholars and practitioners of emerging documentary, and my input to these sites provides and supports KE. These engagements provide practitioners with access to my research in a context where documentary is undergoing transformation within its form, market, distribution and exhibition. Practitioners need to better understand that context and the opportunities that this represents. Feedback has shown that my work provides a valuable insight for practitioners as they grapple with those changes.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Creative Economy
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description AHRC REACT - Play Sandbox
Amount £40,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 04/2015
 
Description AHRC REACT Prototype Funding - Nth Camera - as Co-Investigator
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 08/2014
 
Description Co-Convenor - i-Docs Symposia 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Symposia in 2014 and 2016 drew together scholars, industry and independent producers to show work and discuss processes, ethics and audience engagement within emerging documentary work. The event has given rise to new professional partnerships, to commissions, and new knowledge about approaches and platforms among practitioners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2016
URL http://i-docs.org
 
Description Contributors or Collaborators; Docs in the Age of Web 2.0 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked conversation about digital transformations in documentary and the changing role of the author in participatory work

Too much time has elapsed to genuinely report.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
URL http://www.rts.org.uk/contributors-or-collaborators-docs-age-web-20
 
Description Documentary Goes Interactive - Invited talk at BBC Playback - Staff Development session. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A good Q and A with lots of enthusiasm among the audience.

Talk led to an invitation to go to Salford and discuss a joint research initiative with BBC R & D.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Documentary: Expanded - Talk at BBC Pacific Quay - Arts Interactive Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked questions and ideas for projects

Conversations with commissioners re their approach. The talk led to the involvement of a BBC commissioner in research development
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Global Perspectives in Digital Media: A Panel - Union Docs NYC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This evening featured a panel conversation with video clips from Video Nation (BBC 2), WSJ.com, Global Lives, Breakthrough, and Metropolis (VPRO), with producers in attendance. f

The screening prompted discussion between the audience and the producers of the five projects looking at: what are the agendas in bringing these stories home? how do producers negotiate these cross-cultural exchanges? what strategies were used to engage audiences with distant lives and experiences?



Audience members reported wanting to pursue projects like those presented - interactive and online.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.uniondocs.org/global-perspectives-in-digital-media/
 
Description Interviewee - BBC Click World Service Radio programme 9.3.16 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview about the i-Docs Symposium 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03l3kl1
 
Description Keynote - Teaching Documentary Conference Cardiff 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk sparked many questions - whole hour set aside for Q and A. Much interest among those present in how and what to teach around emerging documentary.

Some of those present joined the i-Docs facebook community. I was invited to speak to MA Students in Paris - a joint initiative of the Sorbonne and UCLA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://teachingdocumentary.com/
 
Description Keynote MeCCSA PGN 2015 - Transformative Practice and Theory: Where We Stand Today 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Curiosity and enthusiasm among this group of Post graduate students

Some attendees decided to attend i-Docs 2016 Symposium.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://meccsapgn2015.co.uk/speakers/
 
Description Now the Field is Open - Presentation to Intro Day of Sheffield DocFest Devise to Deliver mentoring scheme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Q & A

I was invited to become a mentor within the scheme- paid a consultancy to support one participants across 8 meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.facebook.com/sheffdocfest/posts/601188938285
 
Description Now the Field is Open - Scene-setting talk & chair - Future of Documentary panel within BBC Academy Future Factual event at BBC White City, London W12. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Q & A followed.

Chris Sizemore - Executive Editor was there and very interested in the content I was discussing. He has since kept in touch, asked for advice and created a BBC Product - iWonder - to bring some of the experiences I discuss into the BBC online experience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/news/article/art20130711164644853
 
Description Now the Field is Open - Talk at Jihlava Documentary Festival, Czech Republic 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk was combined with mentoring in a workshop setting - lots of discussion.

Can't recall specifics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.dokument-festival.com/highlights/10091%7Cindustry-programme-2012
 
Description Now the Field is Open - Watershed Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Co-creation, crowd-funding, open rights frameworks and distribution; Mandy's talk will look at what's happening where documentary meets networked culture. Mandy will illustrate her talk with examples of recent productions and introduce her own work-in-progress, 'The Are you happy? Project' - for which filmmakers around the world have re-visited Rouch & Morin's seminal documentary Chronique d'un Ete.



Mandy says; "The talk title is borrowed from the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek who used it about the impact of the Occupy Movement on the field of politics. It has stayed with me as it applies so well to documentary now - which seems to be shifting towards a practice with fantastic potential to help us debate what kind of world we want and maybe even to change it."

In the lunchtime talk series at the Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, Bristol.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Participatory Documentary as "Convivial Media" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation of paper reflecting research at "Access All Areas"; a symposium examining the development of the idea of 'User Generated Content' (UGC) in the first ten years of the 21st Century. Access All Areas focused on the first stage of this analysis by mapping the use of the term and its historical development.



The presentation employed Ivan Ilich's concept of "convivial tools" as a framework for thinking about participatory and "user-generated" documentary content. The presentation drew on examples, of practice that I'd been part of - BBC's Video Nation (access TV), Capture Wales (digital storytelling), My Science Fiction Life (collaborative cultural history), and work in the emerging field of collaborative online documentary - The Message and Mapping Main Street.



The framework of "conviviality" highlights ethics and social value, and encourages connections to be identified with historical practices - Mass Observation, the "shared anthropology" of Jean Rouch - and with wider contemporary cultural practice - DIY culture, participatory art, and Craftivism.

I met fellow panelist Sandra Gaudenzi - then a doctoral student researching interactive documentary - and began a dialogue which developed into a collaboration in which we are now co-directors, with Judith Aston - of the i-Docs Symposium and website - the UK's leading site in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.dcrc.org.uk/events/access-all-areas/
 
Description Podcast made from my lecture at i-Docs 2016 by journalism.co.uk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attendee recorded my paper and made a podcast from it. The paper - "The Empathy Machine - Hype, hope and non-fiction Virtual Reality contextualised the rise of non-fiction VR and claims for the medium's affective power. Posted on journalism.co.uk. On day of posting the podcast was prominent on the home page of the site which has 45,000 subscribers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.journalism.co.uk/podcast/virtual-reality-as-an-empathy-machine-immersive-non-fiction-sto...
 
Description Searching for Happiness - launch Event - Watershed / Festival of Ideas 20.5.13 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Launch of Stage 2 - The are you happy? Project at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol. I presented forty minutes of material, explained the genesis of the project, and was in a q and q chaired by Prof Jon Dovey to a sold-out audience of around 80 people. An audience of cinema goers, film-makers, students, academics engaged enthusiastically with the story of the genesis of the project and appeared to enjoy the documentary material.
There were various questions about process, methods and future plans.

After the talk I have developed a relationship with the Watershed and we are collaborating in a number of ways around their documentary programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.watershed.co.uk/pmstudio/events/mon-20052013-615pm
 
Description The Are you happy? Project: inclusion in MIT Open Doc Lab _docubase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Inclusion in _docubase - recognition of project's importance in innovation in the field

The project was chosen to be included in this _docubase which gathers key works in the field of innovative, interactive and participatory documentary. http://docubase.mit.edu/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The Art, Ethics and Technology of Documentary Co-Creation - Panel with Kat Cizek (NFB) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lively discussion followed

Since the panel I have engaged Kat Cizek - one of the most esteemed interactive documentary makers - as an industry partner in a research project I am developing for AHRC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://sap.mit.edu/act/event/art-ethics-and-technology-documentary-co-creation
 
Description When Documentary Met Data - Online Storytelling Transformed 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The panel led to questions and discussion about the challenges, methods and future directions for data used as a creative resource.



The event stimulated and affirmed my own interest in data-driven storytelling
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.uniondocs.org/2012-04-15-data-documentary/
 
Description i-Docs - an introduction - talk to BFI Film Academy students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Students were very interested in methods and impacts of interactive versus linear

I can't remember at this point.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description i-Docs Lab - Co-presented this event at BBC Academy Digital Bristol Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation at BBC Bristol within within Digital Bristol Week.

Description:
Unpacking the mysteries of interactive documentaries: what are they, what is exciting about them and how do they relate to the documentary tradition?
Through analysis of a range of interactive projects, all of which place new logics of authorship and storytelling at their core, the session provided participants with a set of conceptual tools to assist in the development of their own work.

Subsequent enquiries and invitation to join BBC Bristol documentary network demonstrated increased interest in the potential of interactive documentary within BBC Bristol community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/news/article/art20130711164644457