Making publics: Documentary as do-it-with-others citizenship

This chapter explores significant collaborative, interactive documentary practices that are emerging in the context of digital culture, and situates these emerging practices in relation to the counter-history within documentary in which subjects have taken on forms of agency and editorial control in the production process.
By using contemporary examples I will suggest why the concept of DiY is problematic for documentary. Awareness that a DiY approach to documentary making is not universally available prompts a questioning of the valorisation of the concept of DiY in the context of complex media production. Through the lens of co-creativity I discuss collaborative documentaries as a strategic response to the ‘participation gap’ (Jenkins 2006, 23).
But there is more than this at stake in these collaborative documentary practices. In my view, the concept of DiWO (Do-it-With-Others) is better equipped to capture the dynamics and importance of these projects. A co-creative, DiWO approach to documentary provides a progressive re-working of documentary’s historic role in the public sphere, as an “open space” (De Michiel and Zimmermann) for dialogue and a stage for the performance of citizenship.

Rose, M. (2014) “Making publics: Documentary as do-it-with-others citizenship”. In: In M. Ratto, & M. Boler (Eds.), DIY Citizenship : Critical Making and Social Media Pp. 201—212, MIT Press ISBN 9780262026819

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