It’s only a month now until the DCRC hosted iDocs Symposium that I mentioned back in the Autumn. iDocs is the UK’s first gathering to explore developments in interactive documentary and seems to have come at just the right moment. The abstracts that you can now read online reveal an exciting range of critical responses to the processes, forms and meanings of interactive documentary.

There’s a great lineup of practitioners and theorists including Alexandre Brachet from the French company Upian, German new media artist and inventor of the Korsakow system, Florian Thalhofer, and BBC commissioner Nick Cohen. There will be concurrent sessions throughout the day, with a theoretical stream (in which I’ll be co-presenting with Jon Dovey), and another looking at case studies. Presentations will address themes including definition, historical precedents, authorship, participation, evaluation.

The case studies suggest, among other things, how interactive documentary is providing a forum for a new generation of engaged media, with social activism and social justice themes notably present, as in the case of “Granito: Every Memory Matters” (GEMM), which Paco de Onis and Pamela Yates from Skylight Pictures will present. They’ll be exploring how GEMM is designed to “augment the social impact” of the linear film “Granito” (2011 release), bringing interactivity and participation to bear to re-contextualise footage of the political violence in Guatemala in the early 1980s and engender cross-generational dialogue.

Take a look at the programme. It’s not too late to sign up. Maybe you can join us at the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol on March 25th, for what promises to be an exciting symposium, and the following day for informal networking and a workshop where I’ll be inviting people to take part in a filmed discussion for The “Are you happy?” Project.

If you can’t make it, all is not lost. The abstracts give a flavour of the proceedings and link to some very interesting productions. And – news just in – it’s likely that selected conference papers will be published as a special edition of Studies in Documentary Film in 2012.