December 11, 2014—December 14, 2014

Visible Evidence XXI

New Delhi, India

Visible Evidence has been one of the most influential conferences for film and media professionals all over the world. Visible Evidence is a “collective” in the best sense of the term—representing a wide and interdisciplinary range of global documentary scholarship—and has become the annual traveling event attended by film and media scholars, critics, filmmakers, film programmers, curators, and other professionals involved in the study and practice of documentary film and media. Visible Evidence today has a membership of nearly nine hundred, spread over a large part of the globe.

The first Visible Evidence Conference was held at Duke University in 1993 under the inspiring organizational vision of documentary scholars Jane Gaines and Michael Renov. After that it was held biannually for the first few years and then soon became annual and international in scope with conferences held in Los Angeles, New York, Istanbul, Stockholm and Canberra, among other cities. For the first time the Visible Evidence conference, now twenty-one years old, will be held in the global south in Asia, in New Delhi, India. The conference is co-hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). We hope Visible Evidence 21 will provide a valuable opportunity for interdisciplinary engagements and dialogues with practitioners and filmmakers, will provide new insights into documentary practices in the region and expand the possibilities for new directions in documentary studies.

Call for Proposals

Visible Evidence, the annual scholarly conference on documentary film, media, culture and politics–interdisciplinary, international and indispensable–is now 21!

Inaugurated at Duke University in 1994, Visible Evidence has met annually ever since–in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, and most recently in Sweden, as well as in the US (eleven times).

This year the conference will be held in New Delhi, India from December 11 to 14 2014. Co-hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia, the conference will be held at the India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi. In 2014 we are meeting in Asia for the first time, and for the second time only in the global south!

Visible Evidence 21, as is traditional, will feature a range of panels, workshops, plenary sessions, screenings and special events around documentary, its practices, histories and theories.

Proposals for panels, workshops, presenta9ons, screenings and individual papers are solicited according to the following guidelines and themes.



Proposals may address any aspect of documentary screen cultures, histories and practices by engaging with, but are not restricted to, the following themes (we aim for a broad, diverse and inclusive scope for this first Asian VisEv):

  • Documentary /Art: Exploring new spaces, narratives, relationships and audiences
  • Documentary/Social Sciences: Engaging with politics, methodologies, ethics and evidence
  • Documentary/Selves: Addressing autobiographies, memoirs, home-movies, confessions and self-fashioning
  • Documentary/Cities: Crowds and communities, onscreen and offscreen.
  • Documentary/ Pedagogies: Making as teaching, producing as mentorship.
  • Documentary/Affect: Bodies, sensations, feelings and relationships
  • Documentary/Trash: Shame, gossip, scandal, exploitation and the sensational
  • Documentary/Sexuality and Gender: Diversity, dissidence and disclosure
  • Documentary/Production: Practices and authors; screenings, streamings and (emergent) platorms
  • Documentary/Economies: Techno-materialities, virtualities, festivals and archives
  • Documentary/Modes: Fiction, animation, performance, voice and hybridity
  • Documentary/Violence: Trauma, testimony, index, performance and memory
  • Documentary/Truths: Analog to digital, cinéma-vérité to docu-menteur, phones and phoneys
  • Documentary/Transnational: Migrations, transgressions, diasporas, scapes and refugees
  • Documentary/Environment: Interventions, debates, exposures
  • Documentary/Archives: Memory, preservation, restoration, historiography
  • Documentary/Activism: Transformation, mimesis, witness.
  • Documentary/South Asia: Historicising state, independent, experimental and regional interventions…identifying parallels in other postcolonial traditions.


Panel, Workshop and Papers: Guidelines and Deadlines

We invite submissions of pre-constituted panels, pre-constituted workshops and individual paper proposals.  Each panel and workshop session is allotted 90 min. Each panel will have three papers of not more than 20 min followed by discussion. Workshops, usually addressing  practice-related issues, will feature 4 to 6 opening statements (totaling up to 30 min of prepared material), setting the stage for an exchange of ideas and skills  among workshop participants.

Proposed panels and workshops may be pre-constituted either through public calls for submissions, or through individual solicitation by interested convenors.

Panel and workshop calls may be posted publicly by interested convenors on the Conference Website (coming soon) until May 1, 2014. Convenors must notify selected participants by May 15, 2014. Convenors of pre-constituted panels and workshops are expected to submit proposals in standard format (see below) both for the event as a whole and for each individual contributions (for example a submission for a pre-constituted may be up to 8 pages in length, and for a workshop up to 14 pages).


Deadline for all open call individual paper proposals and pre-constituted panels and workshops: June 1, 2014. Participants will be notified of their acceptance or not around June 23.


Submission Format:

Proposals for panel papers and workshop contributions include a descriptive title, an abstract (of 250-300 words), biblio- /filmography (5 or 6 items maximum) and brief bio (150 words maximum). The proposal should not exceed two pages.

In all individual proposals for panel contributions, please indicate whether or not, in the instance that the panel is rejected, you would like your individual proposal to be considered as an open call submission.

Please submit your proposal by the above deadlines as a PDF document to

Website address:

Deadline Summary:

March 1: Call for papers

April 1: Conference website operative.

May 1*: End date for solicitation by interested convenors for participation in pre-constituted panels and workshops.

May 15: Convenors notify participants of pre-constituted panels and workshops.

June 1: Deadline for all submissions of individual paper proposals (open call) and preconstituted panels and workshops.

June 23: Notification of acceptances for Visible Evidence 21.

December 11: Welcome to Delhi! Conference begins.


Organizing committee: 

Jawaharlal Nehru University: Ira Bhaskar, Ranjani Mazumdar, Veena Hariharan, Kaushik Bhaumik

Jamia Millia Islamia: Shohini Ghosh, Sabeena Gadihoke

University of Pittsburgh: Neepa Majumdar

Concordia University: Thomas Waugh.


We are proud to host the twenty-first edition of the conference in Delhi, making it the first ever Visible Evidence Conference in Asia. It is only fitting that the conference be held in Delhi as it is a city that has been consistently enthusiastic about documentary practices. Not only are several important independent documentary filmmakers based in Delhi but a number of organizations, funding initiatives, distribution networks and screening venues function out of the city. At a time when the rapid corporatization of the media has considerably shrunk the spaces for political debate and dissent, the documentary has functioned as a critical mode of intervention. Documentary practice in India has not only expanded the scope of its themes and concerns but has innovated on its form and extended its reach to new venues—from remote villages to art galleries—in search of new audiences and publics.

Conference Program

Download the conference program for VE XXI here.