Call for Proposals

POETICS AND POLITICS 4: AGAINST STORY
UC SANTA CRUZ, May 16-19, 2019

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: KIRSTEN JOHNSON & LANA LIN
& FEATURING BEYOND STORY, A COMMUNITY-BASED MANIFESTO BY ALEXANDRA JUHASZ AND ALISA LEBOW

OUR SUBMISSION DEADLINE (JAN. 15) HAS PASSED—THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SUBMITTED A PROPOSAL!

Poetics and Politics of Documentary is a practice-led research symposium exploring the interconnections between art and knowledge as they are expressed in documentary practices, broadly conceived. It will be held at the University of California Santa Cruz May 16-19th, 2019.

The Poetics and Politics of Documentary symposium represents an unusual opportunity for media makers and artists working within the broad ambit of documentary who critically reflect on their own work to come together in an intimate setting in order to think out loud about what it is we do and why it matters. We seek proposals that explore documentary media in its current state of production, exhibition, context, culture, significance, and possibility. We especially seek proposals from documentary practitioners who conceive of their ‘practice’ most broadly to include — without being limited to — moving image media, digital media, sound, writing, programming, photography, archiving and installation among other forms, either as individual or hybrid practices in which more than a single medium are in dialogue. We accept proposals on completed research projects, but we are particularly welcoming of work-in-progress presentations.

We have set as the theme of this year’s symposium: Against Story. Even a cursory look at the current field of non-fiction media funding and exhibition reveals a widespread requirement for the identification of ‘characters’ and the delineation of ‘story.’ What does this demand facilitate and what does it foreclose? What are the political implications of this trend? What are the poetic or aesthetic consequences?  The sub-title of this symposium is meant to suggest two stances: a counterposition but also an intimate proximity. Our title is clearly offered as a provocation: an invitation to thought and discussion. As such, the symposium is in solidarity with other recent (and ongoing) publications and events that critically engage with contemporary documentary cultures in an effort to both broaden and deepen our field and modes of inquiry. Most recently, Alexandra Juhasz and Alisa Lebow’s Beyond Story is an important call to arms and we are thrilled that they will be bringing their manifesto to the symposium.

The Poetics and Politics Symposium, a biennial conference, is entering its eighth year. The inaugural symposium, held at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland was designed to both showcase and theorize non-fiction work that exists at the nexus of theory and practice; image, sound and word. With Brian Winston and Trinh T Minh-ha serving as keynote speakers, the conference provided an invaluable context for an accelerating trend in media studies — research that is constituted by documentary media production in conversation with theoretical scholarship; or, better yet, research that embodies modes of both practice and theory and, by virtue of being so constituted, troubles and reinvigorates both. The second iteration of Poetics and Politics took place in Santa Cruz (2015) with Kevin Jerome Everson as keynote. The third iteration took place at Sussex (2017) with John Greyson as keynote.

We will accept screening submissions but our resources are somewhat limited (and so installation projects may not be feasible). We may be able to screen media works in full, or may require longer work to be excerpted, depending on scheduling.

For more information or  inquiries, email: poeticsandpolitics@ucsc.edu

Conference  registration  fee: $45.00   (unaffiliated/low income applicants and/or graduate students exempt from fee). We welcome visitors who are not presenting work to attend the symposium. More information for visitors will be available when our schedule is announced.