LUCA School of Arts (Brussels, Belgium) Audiovisual Arts, in collaboration with DocNomads, will host a symposium on contemporary documentary film. This open call for papers and panel proposals is for a two-day conference, with keynote speakers and an evening screening. Our aim is towards a live, in-person conference to take place in Brussels on 23th & 24th March, 2022, with possible partner venues (to be confirmed) that include: Beursschouwburg, Argos & Cinematek and the additional participation of LUCA PhD’s, DocNomads students and faculty.

Confirmed keynote speakers include author Dara Waldron (New Nonfiction Film) and artist-filmmaker Fiona Tan (Archive, Ascent). The symposium will also include a screening of work(s) by Fiona Tan.

Recent documentary practices have evolved significantly through technological, social and economic shifts, which have had an impact on both narration and aesthetics. This diversification of form is tangible in approach and style, as well as alternative distribution means. Collaborative practices suggest new shapes, raising important questions around themes such as representation and authority, which influence the ethical position of both filmmaker(s) and subject(s), as well as contemporary narrative and engagement strategies. Similar, self-evident evolutions are apparent in the Audiovisual arts.

We will focus on these oscillations, shifts and interactions within this conference. Papers and panel proposals can include theory, practice-based, or imbrications from within film and associated fields. Submissions can elaborate how they engage and reveal speculative and emergent futures in non-fiction filmmaking. Is the form evolving, its place diminishing, consolidating or transforming, and if so, into what and with which relevancy? How can or should we co-operate, anticipate and contend with its prospective materialisations, along with considering an ‘art of the real’ that evidently traverses disciplinary thresholds. Entangled within fictive, poetic, archival, ritual and cinematic practices, it raises additional notions concerning our proximity to events, which both identify and distance us from them.

Further questions could include how filmmakers represent communities that they are not actually part of, and whether current ideas on directorial roles necessitate change. Equally, do pathways towards production, distribution and exhibition need re-evaluation and increased meritocracy? Is the orthodox documentary format being superseded by artist-filmmaker-academic or activist collectives propagating essential changes of emphasis in methodology (or are they symptomatic of the need for other radical alternatives?). Which new channels or models of thought might be instrumental in providing alternative epistemologies, or to incite change within a newly composed, extended field of shared image-making? How do any of the above affect change within institutional boundaries, moving image agencies and research oriented environments (creative and curatorial), thereby transmitting new discourses and independent thought within and elsewhere than academic and auditorium environments?

We welcome proposals for this symposium until December 1, 2021. Proposal abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Suggested panel propositions can consist of up to 4 presentations. A brief third-person bio should be provided along with the abstract.

We look forward to your proposals,

Pascal Vandelanoitte, Roel Vande Winkel & Phillip Warnell