Plenary Speakers

Friday April 25, 2014

“Documentary Filmmaking as Process: In Honor of James Blue”

macdougall_dDavid MacDougall is an adjunct professor at the Australian National University Research School of Humanities and the Arts. He is an ethnographic filmmaker and writer on visual anthropology and documentary cinema who attended Harvard University and the University of California at Los Angeles. His films have won various awards and prizes and he is currently working on a continuing long-term, comparative research project on institutions for children in India. His research interests include theoretical and practical aspects of visual anthropology, vernacular photography, the anthropology of childhood, children’s institutions in India, pastoral societies, indigenous media, the aesthetic systems of communities and everyday life.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

“Honest Truths:  Why Human Rights Principles Should Guide Documentary Filmmaking”
WIDMathessonKelly Matheson, Senior Program Manager, WITNESS, is an attorney, filmmaker and human rights advocate who previously worked with WITNESS to launch the first Video Advocacy Institute. As an attorney, she worked as a Law Fellow in Tanzania researching citizens’ rights to bring suit against their governments when governments broke their own laws. She also practiced throughout the western United States, working on issues where environmental and human rights converge. She began creating films in 2003 as part of Montana State University’s MFA Documentary Filmmaking program. Her film projects focus on indigenous and environmental rights in Central America, the United States and the Congo Basin. Kelly returned to WITNESS after working as a Fulbright researcher in Congo-Brazzaville, where she collaborated with a video-centered outreach project to determine the effectiveness of video to change health and conservation practices.

What is Documentary? Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow


 April 24-26, 2014

Documentaries continue to play important roles in defining, exposing, and transforming social realities. Today, we are witnessing an explosion of documentary making enabled by new digital production and distribution technologies, even as traditional news media may seem compromised and in decline.

We will gather at the University of Oregon’s Portland campus from April 24-26, 2014, to explore the past, present and future of documentary in all its forms. The conference will feature a unique coalescing of media scholars and students, media professionals, independent media producers, government and community officials, as well as interested community groups and the public. The event will feature keynote speakers, roundtables, paper presentations, and screenings, in an attempt to answer questions about the changing nature of documentary.

Presentations will address any and all forms of documentary – film, video, radio, audio, photography, print, digital media, online, etc.  – and discuss some of the following issues:

  • How do we define documentary? by form? by content? by practice? by distribution outlets?
  • How is the history of documentary relevant to the 21st century?
  • What are the new forms of documentary?
  • How have digital technologies shaped/reshaped the production and distribution of documentaries?
  • What are the old and new theories that sustain or explain documentary practice?
  • What role should documentary media play in society?
  • Is reality television a new form of documentary?
  • Does user-generated communication and self-documentation change our understanding of documentary?
  • How do documentaries fit into media industries?
  • Are there new developments in the funding of documentaries?
  • What is the relationship of documentary and journalistic practices?
  • What is the role of documentary in social change/social movements?
  • How does documentary shape or anchor historical and collective memory?
  • How have new digital technologies affected the production/ distribution/reception of documentaries around the world?
  • How have indigenous societies used documentaries?