Kammerflimmern und Mediales Rauschen

Podcast für Medien und Wissenschaft

DiD Special #3 – Interactive Documentary. Participation and Politics [English]

starring Kate Nash


Participation in interactive documentary is complex – ranging from ‚clicking on the world‘ to commenting on content, crowd-sourcing projects or contributing material. Foremost, however, participation is a concept that cannot be thought of without bearing in mind its social and political dimension.

In a conversation with Kate Nash, we unpack participation as a concept with both a long history in documentary theory and loaded with great expectations in emerging documentary cultures; we fathom the significance of interactive documentary in the achievement of citizenship, convening publics and community building; we explore the delicate balance between process and product in participatory media making; we discuss the sensitive issue of power relations; and – revisiting paradigmatic i-docs – we relate theories to actual practices, to finally fathom the potential of i-docs beyond interactivity as a highly fragile, volatile but thus the more so experimental and inspirational phenomenon of our current media culture.


00:00   general welcome (in German) / welcome in English: introducing the topic ‚interactive documentary and politics of participation and introducing Kate Nash

10:34   interactive documentary – evolutionary or revolutionary?

12:36   exploring i-docs through the lens of documentary cultures and the relatedness of interactivity and participation in i-docs

19:50   participation and the question of power relationships

23:12   the issue of authorship in interactive participatory documentary and the thin line between participation vs. extraction    and exploitation

29:48    participation as a political concept – democracy, interactive documentary and the nurturing of citizenship

34:44   linking documentary theory to practice: three examples of i-docs facing the potential and the challenges to convene publics, build communities, balance process and product and foster engaged listening (18 Days in Egypt, Red Tales, The Quipu Project)

45:39   the future of interactive documentary

48:17   closing remarks – outro




Contact: podcast@avinus.de

Project website: DiD – Das Dokumentarische im Digitalen


Intro/ Outro:

Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5025-beauty-flow

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Intro spoken by: Sarah Topfstädt

Host and Editor: PD Dr. Anna Wiehl

Logo: Anika Ch. R. Nöhre

License CC BY-NC-ND

Funded by the BMBF

Kate Nash Short CV:

Having come from a background in media production, specialising in documentary, Kate Nash’s research is focused on the production, circulation and impacts of long-form factual media. Kate is a leading scholar in the field of interactive documentary, having contributed to understanding the ways in which digital media technologies and cultures are shaping (and are shaped by) documentary practices. As a Co-Editor of the documentary studies journal Studies in Documentary Film and author of seminal publications on interactive documentary, Kate brings together film and media studies, philosophy and political sciences. Currently, Kate is developing research in the area of health and environmental documentary, focusing particularly on engagement and impact. 


Nash, Kate. Interactive Documentary. Theory and Debate. Routledge, 2022.

Nash, Kate, and John Corner. „Strategic Impact Documentary: Contexts of Production and Social Intervention.“ European Journal of Communication, vol. 31, no. 3, 2016, pp. 227–42. doi:10.1177/0267323116635831.

Nash, Kate, et al., editors. New Documentary Ecologies: Emerging Platforms, Practices and Discourses. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

i-docs mentioned in this episode

Corona Haikus facebook group and Corona Haikus curated website (international, 2020-, A: Sandra Gaudenzi, Sandra Tabares-Duque)

Goa Hippy Tribe (A 2011, A: Devas, Darius et al.)

Trailer on YouTube

More information: MIT Open Documentary Lab docubase – Goa Hippy Tribe

18 Days in Egypt (USA 2011, A: Jigar Mehta, Yasmin Elayat et al.)

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/35368376#at=4;

more information: MIT Open Documentary Lab docubase

Fort McMoney (UK, D, F 2013, A: David Dufresne)

Trailer on YouTube

More information: MIT Open Documentary Lab docubase – Fort McMoney

Red Tales (UK 2015, A: David Green, Simon Bowen et al. )

More information on Creative Exchange.org – Red Tales and Red Tales facebook group

The Quipu Project (UK, S, QUE 2015, A: Maria Court, Rosemarie Lerner)

Trailer on vimeo

More information: MIT Open Documentary Lab docubase – Quipu Project