Mandy Rose: What do we talk about when we talk about documentary?

Digital has brought disruption to documentary. Radically new forms are emerging requiring new teams and skills. The market is changing. The audience is changing. But documentary has been a fluid form – reinvented by generations of producers taking advantage of new technologies and possibilities. So what’s distinctive now? Outlining key features of this moment of transformation, Mandy Rose will suggest that, if we want to know what we should teach now, we need to think less about documentary production, more about the life of a documentary today.”

Mandy Rose is Director of the University of the West of England’s Digital Cultures Research Centre and Co-Director of i-Docs. Her research looks at the intersection between documentary and networked culture. Mandy has made work on diverse themes – from the women of the Raj – Hilda at Darjeeling (C4 1989) to 20th Britain in postcards and their messages – Pictures in the Post (BBC 1999), from Pop Art to housework. During twenty years at the BBC she led innovative participatory and interactive projects including the “mass observation” camcorder project – Video Nation (94-2000), the pioneering digital storytelling project in the UK – Capture Wales (2001-2007), and the transmedia exploration of language, accent and dialect across the UK – Voices (2004) (Webby nominated).

Mandy’s The Are you happy? Project (2014) revisits Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s seminal documentary Chronique d’un Ete (1960) in the context of global collaboration and the web, and explores the potential of HTML5 for the “creative treatment of actuality” (Grierson’s 1926 definition of documentary).

Her recent writing appears in The Journal of Documentary Studies (Intellect Books 1013), The Documentary Film Book (Palgrave 2013) and DIY Citizens; Critical Making and Social Media (MIT Press 2014.) @CollabDocs @i_docs

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Even if we started on Steenbecks…. #teachingdocs #cilect

…we are of the modern age

I tweet // You tweet // He, she, it tweets



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48 Hours to go – final programme details

During registration you will receive an information pack with delegate biographies and contact details. We’ve made a couple of minor tweaks to the programme – here to download as a PDF:

 Symposium Programme

Kim Longinotto’s Masterclass for students takes place between 2-5pm on Wednesday in the Zen Room at the Atrium Campus (Room CB403). Please be advised that although delegates are also welcome to attend, spaces are limited and cannot be reserved in advance.

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Kim Longinotto Masterclass for students to kick off Symposium

Longinotto_KWe’re delighted that multi-award winning documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto will be joining us at the very beginning of the Symposium to give a Masterclass for students.

Kim, pictured here on location in India for her recent film Salma will be sharing her advice on filmmaking in the Zen Room at the Atrium (CB403) between 2-5pm on Wednesday 5th November. Seating is limited, so make sure you turn up on time!

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Remembering Henry Breitrose 1936 – 2014


Barely a week before we kick off with the Symposium, let’s mention the highly influential  and sadly missed founder of the Stanford Documentary Programme, Henry Breitrose who passed away at the beginning of October. A long standing member of CILECT, his reputation as an inspirational teacher, scholar and lover of all things documentary left a really strong impression on several generations of students. Alan Rosenthal – himself a respected filmmaker and scholar – wrote the following about his experiences  as his student in the sixties: “Henry […] was a superb teacher, and was clearly the brightest spark in  department. He was funny, learned, witty and inspiring. And he pointed me towards the path of documentary, with the idea that it could change the world.”

Although I never met him in person, I did occasionally correspond with Henry down the years. I’m sure he would have loved to have been with us in Cardiff!

John Burgan

Full obituary by Kathleen J Sullivan on the Stanford website.

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That’s it – no more rooms! Registration closed.


Photo by Andre Gustavo – Creative Commons licence (

We’ve tried to keep registrations for “Teaching Documentary” open as long as possible, but we have now simply run out of rooms at the Symposium hotel. We’re full!

(Those are actually Brazilian football fans in Munich and no, there isn’t a subway in Cardiff – but the Australia vs. Wales rugby match at the Millennium Stadium that weekend might have something to do with it…)

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Programme Update as of October 14th 2014

Barely three weeks to go: here is the latest version of the programme as a PDF. This is still subject to modification, but the content should by and large stay as laid out here.

Teaching Documentary Programme update – Oct 14th 2014

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Documentary storytelling is changing

Niels Pagh Andersen. Photo: DocMontevideo

Symposium speaker Niels Pagh Andersen (Editor of “The Act of Killing”) on why documentary storytelling is changing 

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International Rugby in Cardiff means you should register soon!

Aust2014_rdax_80For delegates wishing to stay on a day or two in Cardiff, there is the Wales vs. Australia rugby match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 8th November – but for those who have yet to register for the Symposium, this is a signal not to leave it any longer as hotel rooms are going fast!

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The State of the Art, Part II: Documentary Aesthetics

Part Two of the NFB blog post by Jovana Jankovic.

Echoes of Victor Kossakovsky’s ten rules for documentary filmmaking – especially number nine: Documentary is the only art, where every aesthetic element almost always has ethical aspects and every ethical aspect can be used aesthetically.

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