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Animating Realities: Animation, Documentary and the Moving Image

Date posted: 11/02/2011

Conference to be held in Edinburgh
23 - 24 June 2011

Organised by University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art and the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Keynote Speakers: Sheila Sofian (University of Southern California) and Paul Ward (Arts University College, Bournemouth)

Recent years have witnessed increasing interest in the use of animation aesthetics and production techniques to explore subject matter traditionally deemed to be the preserve of live-action documentary cinema. The developing and changing nature of documentation moves away from established forms of documentary representation and blurs boundaries between fact and fiction, perceived indexical authority and subjective interpretation, the virtual and the physical, childhood and adulthood.

Animated Realities aims to bring together practitioners and theoreticians from a diverse range of disciplines in order to discuss and debate this hybrid and rapidly expanding area of contemporary visual culture. The event comprises a two-day conference jointly hosted by the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art with a concurrent screening programme of contemporary animated documentary work as part of the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The organisers invite proposals for 20-minute papers (or themed panels of 3 presentations) on all aspects of animated documentary art and filmmaking past and present. Proposals for papers may include (but are not limited to) the following areas:

  • Mapping the field: the history of animated documentary filmmaking
  • Emergent and future uses of animation in a documentary context
  • Critical case studies of individual documentary animators or animated documentary film works
  • Animation and the amalgamation of fact and fiction within contemporary visual culture
  • Animated documentary and trauma
  • Animated documentary, time and memory
  • Animated documentary and the representation of childhood 
  • Animated documentary and (auto)biography
  • Animated documentary and re-enactment
  • Animated documentary and the depiction of mental or physical infirmity
  • Animated documentary and sound
  • Animated documentary, comics and the graphic novel
  • Scientific applications of animated documentary
  • Comparison of animated and live-action documentary modes
  • The use of animated documentary material in contemporary fine art practice
  • Experimental media and the avant-garde documentary
  • Presentations by film or fine art practitioners on their own animated documentary work 

Potential contributors are invited to submit a 300-word paper abstract (500 words for themed panels) accompanied by a brief biography (including name, institution, phone number and e-mail) to the conference organisers, Jonathan Murray ( and Nea Ehrlich ( ) no later than 10 April 2011.