December 17, 2024—December 20, 2024

Visible Evidence XXX

Monash University, Caulfield Campus, Melbourne, Australia

Decentring Documentary: New Visions and Perspectives

 

This year marks the thirtieth installment of the Visible Evidence Conference, the preeminent event for the global network dedicated to the study of documentary and nonfiction media culture. The conference has evolved into an international event, with editions held in locales such as New Delhi, Lancaster, New York, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Stockholm, Udine, and Gdansk. In 2024, the VE conference, organised by Monash University, is scheduled to take place at Monash University’s Caulfield Campus in Melbourne, Australia, December 17-20th.

Taking the antipodean location of this year’s gathering as a provocation and impetus for thought, Visible Evidence XXX invites participants to reflect on the theme of “decentring.” The metaphor of decentring, whether in terms of vision, power, or perspective, is uniquely pertinent to the historical moment we find ourselves in. What are our investments in the geography of documentary production and circulation and what questions need to be asked about its assumed centres? What is to be gained from rethinking the existential centre away from the human and towards the environment or the posthuman in nonfiction screen culture? How are we grappling with the challenge to the centrality of visible evidence posed by artificial intelligence? Is it time to acknowledge the global re-centring of feminist documentary? The essay film has always engaged in processes of centring and decentring the self-how can we push this project forward? We believe the idea of decentring enables new approaches to a range of pressing issues.

Advisory Board

Professor Annie Goldson, University of Auckland

Dr Kim Munro, University of South Australia

Professor Kate Nash, University of Newcastle

Associate Professor Phoebe Hart, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Shweta Kishore, RMIT University

Claire Jager, Producer and Director of the Castlemaine Documentary Festival

Professor Lisa French, RMIT University

Call for Papers

***Acceptance notices for Visible Evidence XXX have now been sent out. If you have not yet received notification, please check your spam folder. Emails for paper proposals will have come from Oxford Abstracts: no-reply@oxfordabstracts.com. If you are unsure, please contact conference organisers: ve2024monash@monash.edu.

We invite proposals for panels, workshops, and individual presentations.

SUBMISSION LINK FOR PROPOSALS***

These are only some of the questions that the conference wishes to explore to identify how shifting our perspective, even slightly, might raise different questions about how we perceive the present and past of documentary practice and culture. We hope it will help uncover new arenas of research and rethink established ones.

Proposals might address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Decentring documentary geography: centres of the South (Asia Pacific; South Pacific; Latin America)
  • Centring First Nations knowledge/evidence
  • Repositioning objectivity/subjectivity/authority in science and documentary
  • Recentering feminism and documentary
  • AI futures and the challenge to the centrality of visible evidence
  • The existential centre: environment beyond anthropocentrism
  • Decolonising documentary studies
  • Decentring the archive and audio-visual preservation
  • Decentring ethics of documentary
  • Decentring the industry: independent and alternative documentary filmmaking
  • Decentring the audiences: interactive and immersive documentary experiences and audiences’ engagement
  • Decentring access: the impact of digital platforms and streaming services on the distribution of documentary films
  • Decentring memory (public/private)

Panels will consist of three papers of no more than 20 minutes each. Panel chairs will ensure that 20-30 minutes is available for questions and discussion following paper presentations.

  • Panel proposals require a 300-word (max) description of the panel itself; 5 keywords that identify the panel’s focus; 200-word (max) descriptions of each individual paper; 5 bibliographic entries for each paper; and brief biographies of each participant. The chair of the panel should collect all of the material including mode of presentation and technical requirements for presentations.

Workshops will consist of between five and six opening statements, in which workshop leaders can present up to forty minutes collectively of prepared or informal material. However, the emphasis of workshops is on the open and unstructured exchange of ideas and techniques between all workshop participants, and topics suited to this format will be given priority.

  • Workshop proposals require a 300-word (max) description of the workshop itself; 5 keywords that identify the workshop’s focus; 50-word (max) descriptions of each individual statement; and brief biographies of each participant. The chair of the panel should collect all of the material including mode of presentation and technical requirements for presentations.

Individual proposals for 20-minute papers may be submitted to open call.

  • Individual paper proposals require a 300-word (max) description of the paper itself; 5 keywords that identify the paper’s focus; 5 bibliographic entries for the paper; and a brief biography of the participant; mode of presentation and technical requirements for the presentation.

Participants may present in a workshop or on a panel, but not both.

Screening proposals.

  • We will be seeking a limited number of films to screen during the conference. We require a 200-word (max) description of the work including any information about its practice as research framing if relevant; a link to the screener of the film with total running time; and a 150-word biography of the filmmaker. Please note we will only be accepting films in cases where the filmmaker is attending the conference in person.

Mode of participation

The conference will be held mainly in person. For this reason, panel proposals shouldn’t have more than one presenter participating remotely and workshop panels no more than two. You are asked to specify upon submission the mode of participation of your choice. After the acceptance of the proposal, it will not be possible to switch from one mode to the other.

Deadline–All proposals are due by April 26th, 2024.

 

Contact for enquiries:

 

VE2024Monash@monash.edu

Registration

Conference Registration:

To attend/present at the conference in person, please register here:

https://shop.monash.edu/visible-evidence-xxx-conference.html

For online attendance or presentation, please register here:

https://shop.monash.edu/visible-evidence-xxx-conference-online-registration.html

Key dates:

Early bird registration available until September 1st, 2024.

If you are presenting at the conference, please register before October 14th. Only those registered by this date will be included in the conference program.

Conference Dates:

Welcome Reception: Tuesday night, December 17, 2024, at ACMI, Melbourne CBD
Conference Day One: Wednesday, December 18, 2024, at Monash University Caulfield
Conference Day Two: Thursday, December 19, 2024, at Monash University Caulfield
Conference Day Three: Friday, December 20, 2024, at Monash University Caulfield

Optional Post-Conference Day Trip to Castlemaine in Regional Victoria in association with Castlemaine Documentary Festival: Saturday, December 21, 2024.

Plenary Bios

Opening Night at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image

December 17

Karrabing Film Collective Screenings and Panel Discussion

Karrabing Film Collective is an indigenous media group consisting of over 30 members, bringing together Aboriginal filmmakers from Australia’s Northern Territory. They approach filmmaking as a mode of self-organization and a means of investigating contemporary social conditions of inequality. Through the collective’s inventive artistic language, their work challenges historical and contemporary structures of settler power. Most of the members of the collective live in rural Indigenous communities in the outback of Australia with low or no income. The films represent their lives and through the process create bonds with their land while intervening in global images of Indigeneity. International screenings and publications of their work over the last few years have provided opportunities for some members of the collective to obtain passports, allowing them to develop local artistic languages and for audiences to understand new forms of collective Indigenous agency.

Conference Plenary Speakers

Laura Rascaroli

Laura Rascaroli is Professor of Film and Screen Media at University College Cork, where she lectures on film theory, on documentary, and on European and World Cinema. Her research interests span European and World cinemas; experimental nonfiction, the essay film, and first-person cinemas; artist film and the post-medium moving image; space & film (the filmic city, film & architecture, travel & cinema); and the politics of form. She is the author of The Personal Camera: Subjective Cinema and the Essay Film (Wallflower Press, 2009) and How the Essay Film Thinks (Oxford University Press, 2017). She has also co-authored research monographs on the postmodern cinematic city, on the European road movie, and on the cinema of Nanni Moretti. Among her edited collections are Antonioni: Centenary Essays (British Film Institute, 2011) and Theorizing Film Through Contemporary Art: Expanding Cinema (Amsterdam University Press, 2020). She has delivered about a hundred invited keynotes, lectures and master classes internationally in universities, film festivals and cultural institutes, and has been invited to teach in Cuba, Italy, and Spain. Her work has been translated into languages including Farsi, Chinese, Korean, Czech, Polish, Spanish, and Italian. She is Editor-in-Chief of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media.

Christina Milligan

Christina Milligan (Ngāti Porou) is Associate Professor, Screen Production and lectures and supervises students in screen production and screenwriting. Her teaching is based on a foundation of many years’ practice in the screen industries of New Zealand and Australia, and she researches in the areas of Indigenous screen practice, screenwriting studies and media industry studies. In her research, she focuses on exploring the work of Māori and other Indigenous filmmakers, with particular interest in the contrasts between the voices of Indigenous filmmakers and their Western counterparts. She is an active member of the international Screenwriting Research Network and has served on its Executive Board. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Screenwriting and peer-reviews for several journals, including Studies in Documentary Film, Journal of Media Practice and Education, and MAI. Christina has recently completed a term as the government-appointed Independent Chair of Te Puna Kairangi, a government initiative supporting the New Zealand screen production sector through Covid-19 by funding high quality productions telling New Zealand stories for global audiences. She has previously served on boards including the New Zealand Film Commission and Ngā Aho Whakaari (Māori in Screen) and is currently a board member of New Zealand On Air.

Belinda Smaill

Belinda Smaill is Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University. Recently her work has focused on the ethical, cultural and institutional issues that pertain to the presentation of the environment and biodiversity on screen. She is the author of The Documentary: Politics, Emotion, Culture (2010), Regarding Life: Animals and the Documentary Moving Image (2016) and co-author of Transnational Australian Cinema: Ethics in the Asian Diasporas (2013). She has also published widely in international journals including ScreenJCMS and Camera Obscura. She is currently the lead investigator on the Australian Research Council funded project, “Remaking the Australian Environment Through Documentary Film and Television.” This research explores the role of screen culture in environmental change and its legacies.

Margot Nash

Margot Nash is a New Zealand-born Australian-based filmmaker. Her directing credits include the award-winning feature dramas Vacant Possession (1994) and Call Me Mum (2005), the experimental short Shadow Panic (1989), the feature documentary The Silences (2015) and the recent Undercurrents: Meditations on Power(2023 which will screen at the conference. She was a co-filmmaker and editor on the landmark feminist films We Aim To Please (Robin Laurie, Margot Nash1976) and For Love Or Money (Megan McMurchy, Margot Nash, Margot Oliver, Jeni Thornley 1983). Margot has worked as a consultant and mentor for Australian Indigenous filmmakers as well as working in the Pacific running documentary workshops for Pacific Island women television producers. In 2016 she won an Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Award for the screenplay of The Silences. She is currently a Visiting Fellow in Communications at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Jeni Thornley

Jeni Thornley is a documentary filmmaker, writer, film valuer and Visiting Scholar, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). In her early career, she was a member of the Sydney Filmmakers Co-operative and the Sydney Women’s Film Group (SWFG),one of the first Australian groups to establish itself in the name of “Women’s Liberation”. Thornley’s documentary films include Maidens (1978), the collaborative feature  For Love or Money (1983), To the Other Shore (1996), Island Home Country (2008) and more recently Memory Film: a Filmmaker’s Diary (2023) which will screen at the conference. Thornley was Manager of the Women’s Film Fund and Documentary Project Coordinator at the Australian Film Commission during the 1980s. She lectured in documentary at UTS from 2002-2013 and completed her doctorate. She traces her passion in film to her father’s family – film exhibitors across Australia during the 1920s-1960s.Thornley is also a Film Valuer for the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program, writes about film regularly and is distributing Memory Film with Antidote Films.

Catherine Dwyer

Catherine Dwyer is the writer and director of the acclaimed documentary, Brazen Hussies (2020): a deep dive into the history of the Australian Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s and an archive producer and has recently worked on Trailblazers (2024), Her Name is Nanny Nellie, (2024), Queerstralia (2023), Who The Bloody Hell Are We? (2023), and The People’s Republic of Mallacoota (2022). Brazen Hussies was listed in The Guardian’s top 10 Australian films of 2020. It won first prize in the human rights category at the 2022 Deauville Green Awards, France and was also nominated for the 2021 AIDC and AACTA Awards for ‘Best Feature Documentary’ and in 2022 for its one-hour TV version. Catherine was nominated for the 2021 Directors Guild Award: ‘Best Direction – Documentary Feature’ and the 2022 AACTA Award for Best Direction in TV – Factual/ Documentary. Brazen Hussies will screen at the conference.

Felicity Collins

Felicity Collins is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Culture. She has published widely on feminist filmmaking and history, memory and the politics of reconciliation in Australian screen culture. She is the author of The Films of Gillian Armstrong (1999); Australian Cinema After Mabo (2004, with Therese Davis); and editor with Jane Landman and Susan Bye of A Companion to Australian Cinema (2019). She is currently writing a sole-authored book on remapping country through the Blak Wave of television drama series, from Redfern Now to Total Control.