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£50,000 for Future Documentary project inspired by the Quipu

Press release issued: 27 June 2013

A new collaboration between University of Bristol researchers Dr Matthew Brown and Dr Karen Tucker and media company Chaka Films has been awarded £50,000 as part of REACT Future Documentary Sandbox – an AHRC-funded initiative to encourage new forms of storytelling exploring the documentary format, arts and humanities research and digital technologies.

The project, entitled Quipu: Living Documentary, was inspired by the Quipu, the ancient communication system of the Inca Empire using knots and threads, to capture the stories of those affected by Peru’s sterilization policy which targeted over 300,000 indigenous women without consent in the 1990s.

Providing an important voice for Peru's hard-to-reach communities, the project aims to encourage maximum possible participation and bring the story to the attention of the wider world.  The team will distribute oral histories and provide an audio-based recording platform through a combination of low-tech (mobile) and high-tech (VOIP) technologies.

The project will be developed over the course of three months beginning in the autumn, with regular project testing at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio.  The production phase will culminate with the development of a working prototype which will be presented at a public showcase.

Future Documentary is the third theme explored by the REACT programme, following sandboxes addressing Books & Print and Heritage over the last two years. 

Quipu: Living Documentary was one of six projects to win funding this year.

REACT Executive Producer Clare Reddington said: “We are hugely excited about the REACT Future Documentary Sandbox and the different approaches to the theme that the projects have taken. There is so much creative potential for experimentation in the documentary format, which was reflected by the high quality of applications we received.

"The six projects that were finally chosen showed real insight about how digital technologies and storytelling can work together to create something inspiring and new as well as collaborative, accessible and inclusive."


REACT is one of four Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop strategic partnerships with creative businesses and cultural organisations, to strengthen and diversify their collaborative research activities and increase the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.

REACT is a collaboration between the UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), Watershed, (and iShed), and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. It is a unique collaboration supporting innovative products and transformational services by bringing together companies and academics across South West and Wales.

It reaches across two dynamic UK regions, and uniquely across three cultural areas and two languages and creative economies. Together we aim to generate a transformation in arts-driven economic and social impact, by combining demand from the Creative Economy with Arts and Humanities research excellence.

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