The i-Docs symposium is the first to be dedicated to interactive documentary and has been convened by Judith Aston and Sandra Gaudenzi alongside Jon Dovey in 2011 and with since Mandy Rose in 2014.
The symposium is an initiative of UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre, which is located in the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.
The i-Docs symposium takes place bi-annually at the end of March, with the next edition planned for 2018.
The symposium runs in the Watershed, Bristol, where both the DCRC and PM Studio are located.
The i-Docs symposium 2016 covered three full days dedicated to the rapidly evolving field of interactive documentary. It took place at the Watershed in Bristol on March 2-4.
Themes were: Tools for Thought – interactive documentary platforms for production, teaching and research; The Uses of Immersion – from personalisation to VR and experiential storytelling; and Evolving Practices – where are i-docs going now?
Alisa Lebow – Creator of Filming Revolution kicked off the event on Wednesday with her keynote Following the Form(less): Exploring the Logic of the Non-narrative. This first day then closed with a ‘special’ Made in Bristol & VR Bazaar.
Over the next two days – as always – there was a combination of panels, show & tells, poster sessions, in conversations and workshops – as well as some surprise ‘i-docs treats’ on Thursday night.
Special guests for this edition included 2015 Tribeca Storyscapes winners May Abdalla and Amy Rose aka Anagram, Patricia Zimmermann – co-author of Thinking Through Digital Media, Chris Sizemore – Executive Editor at BBC, Vassiliki Khonsari – Executive Producer from iNK Stories – 1979 Revolution, Florian Thalhofer – Creator of Korsakow, Sebastian Melo & Ros Lerner – Producer & Co-Director of the Quipu Project, William Uricchio – Principal Investigator of MIT Open Documentary Lab, Jon Dovey – Director of REACT, Francesca Panetta – Special Projects Editor for the Guardian Interactive and Juliana Ruhfus from Al Jazeera – Director of Pirate Fishing.
Many delegates arrived on Wednesday afternoon for the REACT Hub Future Documentary Showcase – where prototypes developed within REACT’s recent Sandbox were unveiled. Four of these projects – Orion, Quipu, Boron Mon Amour / 94 Elements and Jack the Ripper 125 were all explored in more depth within the i-Docs programme.
During Thursday and Friday the Symposium explored three themes within parallel strands – Production Models, Engagement and Evaluation, and New Territories. Keynote speakers included new media artist Hank Willis Thomas (Question Bridge), documentary storyteller Elaine McMillion (Hollow), media historian Professor William Uricchio (MIT Open Documentary Lab) and Dr Kate Nash (University of Leeds) – Co-editor of New Documentary Ecologies; Emerging Platforms, Practices and Discourses.
Thursday evening also saw a sell-out performance of the award-winning “choose your own adventure” interactive theatre event – Choose Your Own Documentary. i-Docs also presented Door into the Dark – an immersive documentary work-in-progress by Anagram.
Alongside the Symposia the i-Docs team also convene, curate and deliver related events. These have include labs at Open City Docs and at Digital Bristol Week, conferences – WebDocs 2013, workshops and public talks.