The OpenDocLab team is pleased to welcome Arnau Gifreu Castells as an OpenDocLab visiting research affiliate. A Professor of Communication Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and the Universitat de Vic (UVIC), Arnau is also a member of the i-Docs group. The Director of the UVIC_Lab, the Digital Content Laboratory at UVIC, he has also held research lecturer positions at Harvard University (Harvard Metalab) and York University (Future Cinema Lab).

Arnau is in the process of interviewing a number of practitioners, scholars, and students of interactive documentary about the state of the field. He will be posting select clips on the OpenDocLab website. Below you’ll find Part 3 of an interview with i-docs expert Mandy Rose.

In this series we focus on the theoretical part of the study of interactive documentary. We will conduct video interviews with the main experts in the field based on six key questions: (1) the definition, how would they define the interactive documentary; (2) the evolution of the form, whether they believe that the interactive documentary is a natural evolution of the linear documentary; (3) the change in the logics and dynamics, if they believe there is a change in the logics of production, distribution and exhibition; (4) the role of the author, if they believe that the role of the author is threatened; (5) the business model; and (6) their views on the production, research and events organized by countries that are active in this field, placing special emphasis on Canada and France.

Our fourth interviewee is Mandy Rose @CollabDocs, Associate Professor and Director of the Digital Cultures Research Centre  (DCRC), University of the West of England. She researches the intersection between documentary and networked culture. Mandy has led ground-breaking participatory and interactive projects for the BBC including Video Nation (94-2000), and Capture Wales (2001-2007). Her research is reflected on the CollabDocs blog & @CollabDocs. She is a contributing Editor to the i-Docs website. In this video interview Mandy answers the last two questions:

Which could be a possible business model behind the interactive documentary?

Which are active countries in relation to the production of interactive documentaries?


Rose says that in England today there are no interactive documentary commissioners; however, five years ago the BBC and Channel 4 were experimenting in this field, producing linear programmes with nonlinear additions or webnative projects.

According to Rose, the two main countries where the industry is commissioning and promoting the production of interactive documentaries are Canada and France, which both have a strong historic tradition in different contexts. In Canada the NFB is an important broadcaster and in France the production seems mainly supported by journalism and television and some important institutions


Arnau Gifreu Castells (PhD)
Research Affiliate, MIT Open Documentary Lab