Digital Cultures Research Centre director chosen as founding curator of MIT's ­­­_docubase

Issue date: 16 December 2013

Associate Professor Mandy Rose from UWE Bristol has been selected as the only UK founding curator of MIT Open Documentary Lab's _docubase.

The platform was launched two weeks ago and holds over 140 interactive documentaries from around the world. Each curator has written a statement in relation to the collection and created a playlist highlighting their recommended projects.

Mandy, who led ground-breaking participatory media projects for the BBC including the Mass Observation-inspired camcorder project, Video Nation (1994-2000), is director of UWE's Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC).

Mandy said, “The invitation to be one of the founding curators is a great honour. The work of MIT's Open Doc Lab has much in common with my own research and that of the DCRC in the way we are considering the changes happening in documentary making now.

“These include being able to interact with a documentary on a computer – the classic definition of interaction – as well as other changes that are making documentaries more open - participation in making content, the role of crowdfunding, and the emergence of open rights frameworks. The i-Docs website which DCRC publishes is a leading resource in this field.”

The MIT _docubase platform will grow and develop as more curators join in and contribute their playlists of projects.

Mandy's research into the intersection between documentary and networked culture is reflected in her CollabDocs blog. As well as the Video Nation project, she devised and produced the pioneering UK digital storytelling project, Capture Wales (2001-2007), and interactive projects including My Science Fiction Life (2007) and the “Are you happy?” project (2013).

Are you happy”is included in the MIT _docubase. The project was inspired by a 1961 documentary in which people on the streets of Paris were asked the simple question, "Are you happy?"

Mandy said, “Fifty years ago, Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin made Chronicle of a Summer, a ground-breaking documentary using the new technology of the day — handheld cameras and sync sound — to look at the 'tribe of people living in Paris'.

“Half a century later, Are you happy? is finding out what happens when we probe the complexities of modern life by asking the same question in the global environment of the web.”

MIT will also be collaborating with the i-Docs 2014 Symposium which Mandy is co-convening at the Watershed at Bristol next year on 20 and 21 March.

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