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Interactive documentary: Its history and future as a polyphonic form

Aston, Judith


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Dr Judith Aston
Wallscourt Associate Professor in Immersive Media


Kathleen M. Ryan

David Staton


This chapter looks at the decolonization of interactive documentary practices through the lens of polyphony. Writing as practice-based researchers from a position of privilege, the authors argue that self-reflexivity is a key requirement for “decolonizing the mind” and that interactive documentary can facilitate this process. They place polyphony at the heart of this, as an approach which encourages us to embrace complexity and plurality, and to respect different perspectives and points of view. Building in particular on Bakhtin’s work on polyphony, they argue that the interactive, multimodal and nonlinear properties of i-docs methods and tools can help us to reframe our perspectives on self and other, in ways that can be both challenging and transformative. Outlining the thinking behind their Polyphonic Documentary project, they look at what two specific software tools bring to the table. They also argue that approaching i-docs from the perspective of polyphony and decolonization can help with addressing two major and interconnected issues of our times: climate emergency and ideological polarization.


Aston, J. (2022). Interactive documentary: Its history and future as a polyphonic form. In K. M. Ryan, & D. Staton (Eds.), Interactive Documentary: Decolonising Practice-Based Research (20-37). New York and London: Routledge

Online Publication Date Mar 17, 2022
Publication Date Mar 18, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 18, 2023
Publisher Routledge
Pages 20-37
Edition 1st
Book Title Interactive Documentary: Decolonising Practice-Based Research
Chapter Number 2
ISBN 9781032005119; 99781032001319
Keywords Emerging digital technologies, collaborative approaches, humanistic inquiry, documentary storytelling
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