The Participatory Documentary CookBook: community documentary using social media

“A participatory documentary tells a story about a community using the community’s own words. That story is disseminated back to that community via social media.” (Weight, 4:2011)

Now available free, it is a textbook for creating participatory documentaries using social media. Aimed at people who can take photos and engage with basic social media, it seeks to leverage the social web to create niche community-based documentaries. You will learn how to create a semi-professional project without spending any money on gear or software. The cookbook is available as a PDF download. An enhanced iPad version with video and audio content will shortly be available at the Apple iBookstore, also free.

Introduction and context:

“My students and I have been making participatory documentaries for some years in my course Transient Spaces (part of the Master of Communication Degree at RMIT University, and an elective in other programs). This cookbook attempts to codify my practical experience of making participatory documentaries using social media. It is light on definitions and theories, and more focussed on techniques and (hopefully) shortcuts. My approach relies on entry level domestic media technology and free, or very cheap, online services. It is aimed at people with basic skills (in photography, social media and desktop publishing, for example). While many people are ‘beguiled by video’, it is not necessary.” (Weight, 2:2011)


Lecture about structure, social media and tools for making a participatory documentary, mostly derived from the Participatory Documentary Cookbook

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Useful resources:


Jenny Weight Personal Blog:

Downloadable document: