Show Calendar


The Poetics and Politics of Documentary symposium represents an unusual opportunity for filmmakers and artists working within the broad ambit of documentary who critically reflect on their own work to come together in order to think out loud about what it is we do and why it matters. As we are all aware, documentary carries with it the burden of the political, regardless of whether it deserves or can uphold it. Sometimes the attention to the political comes at the expense of a concern with poetics.  What makes this event unique, is that it insists on holding fast to both terms welcome simultaneously, prioritising neither, yet unwilling to jettison either as well.  What that might mean to any of the participants sharing their work in this venue over the course of these two and half days, is entirely open to discussion, and we look forward to hearing all of the possible permutations that arise.

The particular emphasis this year is on the theme, ‘Beyond Empathy’. How might the call for empathy be justified in relation to debates from Brecht onwards about the political and ideological limitations of such an approach? How do we move between eliciting empathy to creating analysis and how can the affective dimension of visual and aural languages be best deployed to achieve this? To what extent do the immersive or interactive affordances of newer documentary practices succeed in encouraging political agency?

For more information click here.


Registration for the symposium is required. An early bird registration discount is available until 15 April. Bookings after this date will be subject to the full symposium rates. One day bookings and concessionary rates are also available. Please note: symposium presenters must register for the full event and are not eligible for single day registration.

A conference dinner will be held on Saturday 3rd June. If you wish to attend, please select the ‘with conference dinner’ option when choosing from the booking options. Please be advised that places are limited.

Click here to register



If you require accommodation for the duration of the conference, we would advise booking this early due to the numbers of visitors to Brighton at this time of year.

Click here for accommodation information


Symposium Organisers

Alisa Lebow and Lizzie Thynne.

For more information:


Poetics and Politics Symposium 2017 is sponsored by:

School of Media, Film and MusicCentre for Material Digital Culture

Centre for the Visual.


General Information

Guests with Mobility Impairments

Guests who use a wheelchair or experience mobility impairments are asked to call the box office on 01273 678822 or email so that we can assist you to find the best seat to suit your requirements.

Dates & Times

  • Friday 02 June, 2017
    4:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Saturday 03 June, 2017
    9:00am – 7:30pm
  • Sunday 04 June, 2017
    9:00am – 6:00pm


  • Full registration fee with conference dinner
  • Concessionary registration fee with conference dinner
  • Full registration fee excluding conference dinner
  • Concessionary registration fee excluding conference dinner
One day only bookings are also available, if you wish to book one of these, please choose either 3rd June or 4th June when you make your booking selection. One day registration will include admission to the evening events on Friday 2nd June but will not include the option to attend the conference dinner.
Campus Community
Poetics and Politics of Documentary
Friday 02 June  – Sunday 04 June
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