Patricia Zimmermann (Screen Studies) Presents at 26thAnnual Visible Evidence Conference on Documentary at University of Southern California


Contributed by Karen Armstrong

Patricia Zimmermann, Professor of Screen Studies and Codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, organized and facilitated two interactive workshops on emerging theories and practices in international politically-engaged documentary at the 26th Annual Visible Evidence Conference on Documentary, hosted by the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, July 24-28, 2019.


The first workshop, featuring participants from Argentina, the UK, Canada, the US, and Kuwait, was entitled “Rebooting the Agenda.”  

It opened discussion about how to reboot the agenda of documentary studies away from its North American/Eurocentric focus on festival, broadcast, and art gallery nonfiction practices to a wider and more complex documentary ecology across different technological interfaces and geographical locations produced in different modes and infrastructures. The workshop presenters and Zimmermann are the editorial team for the forthcoming volume The British Film Institute DocMedia Book.

The second workshop was entitled “The Question of Co-Creation in Documentary: Toward Multiscalar Granular Interventions beyond Extraction.” 

Featuring a mix of theorists and practitioners of new media from the UK, US, Canada, and Israel, the workshop explored historical and emerging documentary practices that reject the single auteur or artisan and instead elaborate a more collaborative and horizontal open system that moves across and employs multiple scales. The workshop also explored how these works and practices openly critique the extractive model of documentary by designing participatory models.