BBC’s Video Nation producer takes up director role at UWE’s digital centre

June 6, 2013

Mandy Rose, the producer of award-winning digital media initiatives including the BBC’s ground-breaking Video Nation project has been appointed as director of UWE Bristol’s Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC).

The centre, in Bristol’s Watershed, brings together art and design, computer science, cultural and media studies to explore how people make culture through their use of digital communications.

Mandy said: “Our uses of digital media and communications are transforming our creative and everyday lives, and the DCRC is in a unique position to examine and make sense of these changes.

“In my own research I’ve been looking at what’s happening where documentary meets networked culture – asking, for example, what new forms are emerging as the ‘people formerly known as the audience’ get involved in crowd-funding projects or as content producers.”

“My AHRC-funded CollabDocs Research Fellowship involves a number of hands-on experiments, looking at the producer’s role as a catalyst and facilitator in participatory production processes. For Searching for Happiness I invited filmmakers around the world to ask people in their own neighbourhoods “Are you happy?”

The project revisits a much earlier documentary experiment – Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s seminal 1960 documentary Chronicle of a Summer in which two young woman asked people on the streets of Paris the same question. The web documentary, which launched at a sold-out Festival of Ideas event at the Watershed in May, brings together diverse contributions from Mongolia to Maharashtra, Tasmania to Wales. 

Mandy’s research builds on 20 years work at the BBC where she was co-founder and producer of the mass observation camcorder project Video Nation and executive producer of Capture Wales, a pioneering digital storytelling project in the UK. From 2001 she ran the newly established New Media department in Cardiff – building the interactive team behind Doctor Who and overseeing projects including Voices – a major pan-platform collaborative exploration of language, accent and dialect across the UK which was nominated for a prestigious Webby award and MyScienceFictionLife – a collective history of British science fiction (Webby Honoree).

The DCRC is a partner in the Pervasive Media Studio (PMS) a multi-disciplinary lab producing pervasive media content, applications and services. PMS projects include gaming, projections, location-based media, digital displays and new forms of performance. Since the beginning of 2012, the Pervasive Media Studio has also hosted REACT (Research and Enterprise in Arts and Creative Technologies), one of the AHRC’s four national Knowledge Exchange hubs, which is directed by UWE Professor of Screen Media, Jon Dovey, founding director of the DCRC.

Mandy added: “It’s brilliant to be given this opportunity to take the DCRC forward working alongside Jon Dovey and in partnership with the PMS. The studio is a unique creative environment, buzzing with ideas, and a perfect setting for our research.”


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