CFP: Documentary and the Voice


Vocal Projections: Documentary and the Voice
University of Surrey (Guildford, UK)
September 19, 2014 

Keynote speaker: Dr. Patrick Sjöberg (Karlstadt University, Sweden)

Despite a renewed scholarly interest in documentary film and television in the last decade, scholars have yet to fully account for the role of sound in documentary and, in particular, the ways in which the human voice figures as a complex and potentially ambiguous element within the audiovisual landscape. Documentary scholarship has tended to focus on the visual, emphasising the importance of the photographic basis of the film image and its indexical relationship with reality. When it is discussed, the human voice has been figured in primarily rhetorical terms as an element that reinforces the visual truth claims of documentary. This symposium seeks to address this gap in documentary scholarship by exploring the connections among the voice, the body, the visual image and issues of rhetoric, affect, politics and performance in documentary.

Proposals are sought for contributions on any aspect related to the human voice in audiovisual documentary, including documentary film, television, video, audio recording, digital media, photography and performance. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
-       Voice and performance
-       The singing voice in documentary
-       The voice actor
-       Voiceover narration in documentary
-       Documentary and the acousmetre
-       Voice as evidence
-       Beyond the voice as rhetoric
-       Voice as cultural marker (e.g. voice and class, race, gender, sexuality)
-       The politics of the voice
-       Vocal fidelity and documentary realism
-       Vocal distortion and masking
-       The voice and the body/ the disembodied voice
-       Documentary genres and the voice (e.g. nature documentary, rockumentary, activist films)
-       Historical perspectives on the voice in audiovisual documentary
-       Impact of technological issues on the documentary voice

Contributions may be in the form of either a panel paper or workshop participation. Panels will consist of 3 speakers, each delivering a 20-minute paper. Workshops will consist of 4-5 speakers who will collectively present for 30 minutes. Workshops emphasise the unstructured exchange of ideas between workshop panellists and audience. Proposals will be accepted for pre-constituted panels and workshops.

Please submit name, affiliation, short bio and 300-word abstracts to by 1 May 2014. We will inform participants by 1st June.

Dr. Bella Honess Roe (Lecturer in Film Studies, University of Surrey, UK)
Dr. Maria Pramaggiore (Professor and Head of Media Studies, NUI Maynooth, Ireland)


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