Photo by Bas Jan Ader

Silke Panse in ‘How Documentary Failed?’ Conference

Reader in Film, Art & Photography, Silke Panse has co-organised the conference ‘Has Documentary Failed?’ which she also presented on. The conference took place on Saturday 15 December at the Birbeck Institute for the Moving Image.

The conference was looking to discuss:

Documentary has often been lauded for its ability to educate, transform, provoke, and mobilise. High cultural value and social responsibilities have been attached to documentary film and television because of its supposed real-world impact. However, with a few notable exceptions, history has shown that this promise hasn’t been achieved as hoped and that past methods once effective, no longer serve us. In a post-truth vortex where faith in visible evidence has plummeted, audiences are increasingly siloed into social media echo chambers, and expert knowledge and the factual are increasingly undermined, how can documentary intervene as it might be expected to?

In a day of provocations and polemics, scholars and practitioners will focus on failure in order to stir up urgent questions of documentary ideals, aims, processes and possibilities in the current context. Where does the past cease to serve us and what now?