Interactive Documentary Theory and Debate: Participation and Politics by Kate Nash, University of Leeds 7th October 2021 held in the context of the virtual lecture series, hosted by the University of Bayreuth as a part of the research project Digital Documentary Practices – Topical paradigm shifts and the potential of emerging practices to participate in public discourses.
Kate Nash has not only been working on both the documentary film and on digital media; rather she exactly investigating this relationship between documentary’s tradition and documentary’s future, analysing on presently emerging documentary practices. “There is a sense of profound change, of new possibilities, and traditions overturned”, she states in her latest publication, Interactive Documentary. Theory and Debate. And yet, in this comprehensive monograph tracing continuities as well as turning points in the evolution of digital and documentary practices, she challenges tendencies to approach interactive documentary primarily from the perspective of total novelty and change because there are more evolutionary connections than revolutionary ruptures to be found. On this basis, Kate focus in her video on Participation and Politics.
Having come from a background in media production, specializing in documentary, Kate focusses in her research on the production, circulation and impacts of factual media – thus also documentary. Being on of the most renowned scholars in the field of interactive documentary, her research output is incredible, and a list of publications in this area is tremendous. To give you just a glimpse on the scope of issues Kate has been analyzing in this context in the last year, let me just drop some titles: Among other’s, Kate is the author of “Modes of interactivity: analysing the webdoc”, “Telling stories: the narrative study of documentary ethics” (2012), “Clicking on the real: telling stories and engaging audiences through interactive documentaries” (2014), “Strategies of interaction, questions of meaning” (2014), “What is interactivity for? The social dimension of web-documentary participation” (2015), and “I-docs and the documentary tradition: exploring questions of citizenship” (2017). Most recently, Kate has also tackled the issue of ethics and VR documentary, editing a special issue in Studies in Documentary Film, and together with Craig Hight and Catherine Summerhayes, she edited New Documentary Ecologies. Emerging Platforms, Practices and Discourses (2014). And, as already mentioned, in her latest monograph, she investigates Interactive Documentary. Theory and Debate (2021). Moreover, Kate is a Co-Editor of the documentary studies journal Studies in Documentary Film. Currently, she is developing research in the area of health and environmental documentary, focusing particularly on engagement and impact.