The poetics and politics of polyphony: towards a research method for interactive documentary

Stefano Odorico, Judith Ashton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is an expanded version of our “provocations”, a series of ideas and stimuli designed to provoke debate and set the scene for a collaborative panel session on “The Poetics and Politics of Polyphony”. We organised and hosted this session at the i-Docs 2018 Symposium held in Bristol, UK on 21–23 March 2018, based on our combined long-term and ongoing research into the subject (Aston and Odorico). [1] In the spirit of the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, our provocations were designed to start a dialogue between us, our guests and the audience, through which we endeavoured to create an equal and open platform for the generation and exchange of ideas. A number of key issues came out of this dialogue, which we document and comment upon here as framings for further research.

The structure of this article is based on the order in which we presented our provocations, using our set of six slides from the symposium, followed by a list of keywords that emerged from the ensuing discussion. As we use this structure to talk through our ideas, this is not a typical linear essay, but a series of inputs for further analysis, with certain aspects focussed on in more detail. The article also includes a few additional slides, where we have expanded upon points we first made at the symposium. Overall, the aim of the article is to explore areas of synergy with Bakhtin’s thinking on polyphony, and to begin to reflect on the theoretical and practical contribution of a dialogic approach to the field of i-docs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-93
JournalAlphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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