Webdox 2014: hands-on workshops & inspiration for online storytellers


Here is the great news: this year i-Docs and Webdox are exploring the same areas, but in different ways, and in different places.

i-Docs 2014 (Bristol, 20-21th of March) was organised around three themes that seemed topical to us: new production models, how to assess engagement and evaluation and new i-docs territories & platforms. We had two amazing days of explorations and, out of these, I could see how a series of new tasks, and urgent questions, have emerged: we need to work on some sort of ethical contract between user-participant and interactive producer, we need to assess the tools that we are currently using to understand impact – and maybe invent new ones, and we need to come up with new methodologies of design that involve the user from the beginning of our i-doc development.

It is within this context that Webdox 2014 (Leuven, 7-10th of May) is an opportunity to dig deeper into some of the areas that were unpacked at i-Docs. It is now the second year that I co-curate and present Webdox, and I am very happy to see a continuity between the two conferences. Webdox will also have 4 hands-on workshops to allow people to “learn by doing”, so it offers the opportunity to be inspired during one day of conference, and to then get focused on a single issue through the workshops:

1. on impact and evaluation:

– Clint Beharry (US – The Harmony Institute) will demonstrate their new ImpactSpace App, a free app that allows you to understand your audience and the social media impact of your project (and topic). He will also run a workshop on it, so that you can really learn how to use it for your current project!

– Mark Glaser (US – Executive editor of PBS MediaShift) will give an overview of what we can and cannot evaluate at the moment with the current tools – Google Analytics and others. This should help you to choose the best tools – and approach – for your project.

2. on new production models:

– Mathias Noschis (CH – Alphapanda) will tell us how to build a community through marketing, while Olivier Lambert (FR – Lumento Films; Chasing Bonnie & Clyde) will share with us their experience of crowd-funding for their latest project: is it worth it? How much effort is it? Best practices?

– focus on the user: Miranda Mulligan (US – Northwestern University) will expose design thinking techniques that can be used in online storytelling and Tyson Evans (US – NY Times) will show how relevant this might be for online journalists. They will also run a workshop about UX: Design Thinking for More Meaningful Stories on Saturday, the 10th of May.

– Gilles Pradeau & Phillo van Kemmenade will run a Popathon on Wednesday, the 7th of May. This is an opportunity for all of you to experiment with the hack mentality and with a collaborative approach to creation (no coding skills required, but good if you have them!).

3. on big data and how to use it to tell your stories:

This is a new area of exploration, as it wants to warn us about the importance that big data will have very soon on our stories, and give us some keys to approach this new area and start be creative with it.

– Marek Tuszynski (DE – Tactical Technology Collective) will use data to “show the invisible”, while Hille van der Kaa (NL – Data J Lab) will debate how far can algorithms write and tell stories for us…

– Stefania Milan (NL – Data J Lab) & Kasper Jordaens (BE – iMinds Media – MIX) will run a one day lab on Friday the 9th of May to show us how you can transform data into stories.

So… this sounds very exciting to me! Get your tickets here, it is a great conference/workshop opportunity – and Leuven is a very charming Belgian town!

Go to Webdox website & see the full programme.

I hope to see you there!


Sandra Gaudenzi