An exploration of what documentary is,
with an eye toward what it might become.
Published by UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, World Records brings together the voices of scholars, critics, makers, and curators who offer new and complex perspectives on documentary to challenge and extend its margins.
An expanding nonfiction media culture finds itself in a number of new spaces, from the proliferation of documentary in film festivals, galleries, and activism, to other forms of social, mobile, and emerging media, yet there is as of yet no critical journal dedicated to exploring the implications and the possibilities of this shifting terrain. The objective of the journal, mirroring the spirit of UnionDocs more broadly, is to frame the idea of documentary media as expansively and inclusively as possible.
World Records adopts an ecological view of non-fiction, one that investigates the conditional as well as the expressive forms of relation in the images that constitute our shared worlds. The journal approaches criticism not as the study of finished products, but as a rigorous space of engagement with a variety of image-based forms that are always contestable.
Published semi-annually, individual peer-reviewed volumes are organized around broad yet well-defined themes that engage the intellectual, technical, and formal strategies that are at the heart of an engaged contemporary nonfiction media practice, as well as the cultures that frame it.
Call For Submissions
Ways of Organizing: Documentary Resources, Documentary Habitats, Documentary Programming
Edited by Jason Fox and Laliv Melamed
Informed by the work of Canadian media theorist Harold Innis, this volume frames documentary as a staple resource, one that organizes new social and material worlds by developing particular sensibilities and desires for its content. While Innis’s research began with the geographic and political economies of staple resources that shaped Modern Canada such as timber and cod, he later re-conceived these staples as media that organized the landscapes around them. Through Innis’s frame, we want to suggest a fundamentally logistical approach to documentary, one that invites contributors to think of documentary as an organizational tool in order to place documentary’s subjects and settings, its images and viewers, and its texts and the spaces in which they circulate on the same plane. How does documentary organize social, political and institutional worlds?
We invite contributors to consider the expanded field of documentary — from social media, to film festivals, galleries, activism, funding structures, and more. We also invite contributors to pay close attention to both the practical process involved in creating and circulating media forms and to the demands and expectations that may be generated as a result of new content.
Deadline for electronic submission of 3,500 – 5,000 word essays formatted in Chicago Style, short abstract, brief bio, and bibliography is September 22, 2017. Please prep submissions for anonymous review.
Alternately, deadline for electronic submissions of 500 word abstract, brief bio, and sample bibliography is September 8, 2017 with notification by October 8, 2017.
*Please note that the Volume 2 CFP has closed.