Recuperative narratives, mediums, and creativities

Abstracts & Bios

Keynote Talk I

Filming the Body in Crisis in the 21st Century

Davina Quinlivan (Senior Lecturer, The School of Critical and Historical Studies, Kingston School of Art, Kingston University)

Davina Quinlivan is a Senior Lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston University. Her research focuses on the moving image and visual culture, especially the history and contemporary practice of embodied filmmaking and material culture; European women artists and filmmakers and the politics of the body. She is the author of Filming the Body in Crisis: Trauma, Healing and Hopefulness (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and The Place of Breath in Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, July 2012). She is currently writing three books; her BFI Film Classics book on Victor Erice's The Spirit of the Beehive (2022), one on the British Art Cinema of Joanna Hogg for the 'Visionaries' Female Filmmakers EUP series and another on the literature of Deborah Levy and her philosophical writings which she aligns with cinematic thought. She is also developing a research network on Venice and Film which will lead to a conference and edited volume of essays. 

Keynote Talk II

Grappling with Mental Health:  Disability Justice and Care Activisms

Ann Cvetkovich (Professor and Director of the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's and Gender Studies, Carleton University)

Ann Cvetkovich is currently Director of the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's and Gender Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  She has been Ellen Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor of English and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is the author ofMixed Feelings:  Feminism, Mass Culture, and Victorian Sensationalism (Rutgers, 1992); An Archive of Feelings:  Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003); and Depression:  A Public Feeling (Duke, 2012).  She co-edited (with Ann Pellegrini) “Public Sentiments,” a special issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and (with Janet Staiger and Ann Reynolds) Political Emotions (Routledge, 2010).   She has been coeditor, with Annamarie Jagose, ofGLQ:  A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Her current writing projects focus on the current state of LGBTQ archives and the creative use of them by artists to create counterarchives and interventions in public history.  

SESSION 1: Archives - Memory - Performativity (June 1, 11:15 - 13:00 CEST (UTC +2)

The Pain of Others on a Loop

J Y Irene Lee (University of Cambridge)

How could the repetitive nature of moving image—the term here means film, video and various film and video installations displayed in or in relation to the museum—be construed in capturing, displaying/showcasing, circulating and thereby perpetuating/commemorating the suffering of others? Writing about photographs of distressing human experiences, like war and disease, Susan Sontag is too pessimistic to believe in the medium’s potential for recuperation. Can the exposure to such images have any healing effect on the viewing subject or the viewed object? She doubts and observes instead that over-exposure to the pain of others through contemporary mass media makes the viewer either callous and indifferent or even seduced by cruelty and violence. Representation thereby can normalise the affliction of pain to others and confirms the impotence of viewing positions. Although agreeing with Sontag’s claim that ‘We—this we is everyone who has never experienced anything like what they went through—don't understand,’ I set out to explore the discourse regarding the repetitive representation of pain of others in film scholarship and beyond the strict line drawn between the subject and object positions.

In contemporary film scholarship, many including Laura Marks and Giuliana Bruno have discussed the affective nature of the medium: for instance, how screen can be understood as a sensuous and tactile interface between seers and the seen. In dialogue with these scholars, my research examines the ways in which the discourse of museum exhibition can affect the viewing conditions of moving image, offering the viewer a path through which to engage with the pain of others located in a specific time and space. To this aim, I focus on Ho Rui An’s HD video entitled Student Bodies (2019), exploring how violence on people in one place can be woven into the history of other places through screens and galleries. Through my examination of the site-specific exhibitions of Student Bodies, my presentation suggests both the difficulty and possibility of the role of museum gallery as a locus of living memory of different difficult times where the viewer can or cannot participate in the replay of pain and the delayed process of healing.

Jeong Yeon Irene Lee is a PhD Candidate in the Doctoral Programme of Film and Screen Studies, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge. Her PhD looks at the relationships between cinema and the museum, specifically contemporary film installations and artists’ films.She has a BA in French and English literature (Sogang University), an MA in Art Theory (Korea National University of Arts), a further MA in Museum Studies and Draper Program (New York University) and a MA certificate in Museum Studies (New York University).

Archives of Healing

Kumi James (University of Southern California)

My workshop presentation will focus on two of my multimedia works, Archive of Healing I and II, a series that deals with messy affects of healing. The first project is an experimental short film that mixes archival footage from my iphone along with historical and contemporary video clips collected from Youtube and social media. Using a method of sampling and remixing the work disturbs categorical distinctions of the past and present of the material to create spur of the moment associations. This editing approach reflects the asynchronous structure of feeling of trauma that disrupts the neat linearity of Western notions of time. The film engages issues of blackness, gender, mental health, and relationality. Seemingly disparate images like those of the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968 are improvisationally combined with images of Jazmin Sullivan dancing, are combined with images of me with my partner, and so on... The second project, Archive of Healing II, is a single-channel installation and sculpture. It consists of a documentary video of my mother and I projected over a wooden frame of dried palm tree branches. On one level, the pieces of fallen palm tree branches I collected locally speaks to the psychic disturbances of my mother’s displacement. In parallel, palm trees are not native to Los Angeles, and though “naturalized”, struggle to survive in the desert climate. In the video projection my mother tells her story of migrating from El Salvador and the suffering that she endured in her family prior to and after her move. Different parts of our bodies are framed in close-up while she speaks. The texture of the dead leaves adds a three dimensionality to our projected flesh, yet also index the mourning of an irretrievable material past.

Kumi James is a Ph.D. Student in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California.

Performative 'healing' and/in Rehana Zaman’s Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena

Maria Walsh (University of the Arts London)

In Sharla Shabana Sojourner Selena (2016), six women of colour actresses recount partly scripted, partly improvised experiences of racism and sexism. These performances-to-camera are intercut with a series of close-ups of beauty treatments, the film’s opening mise-en-scène being a hair and beauty salon. The film could be read in terms of using beauty therapy as a healing mechanism in the face of racial and gender discriminations. Such readings can risk situating others as victims to be pitied or in need of rescue. In The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Sara Ahmed cautions that the representation of pain or trauma may cast its protagonists as objects of feeling. She says:

the pain of others becomes ‘ours’, an appropriation that transforms and neutralizes their pain into our sadness. It is not so much that we are ‘with them’ by feeling sad; the apparently shared negative feeling state does not position the reader and victim in a relation of equivalence. Rather, we feel sad about their suffering, an ‘aboutness’ that ensures that they remain the object of ‘our feeling’ (Ahmed 2004: 35).

Another approach might situate the film in relation to a strand of identity politics which proffers healing as the mutual sharing of trauma or pain between in-groups of performers and spectators. While the former approach to representation relies on the creation of a distance that is overcome by pity, the latter engenders a space of intimacy that only includes those who share the same painful experiences. Johanna Hedva’s Sick Woman Theory (2015) is a case in point:

[…] once we are all ill and confined to the bed, sharing our stories of therapies and comforts, forming support groups, bearing witness to each other’s tales of trauma, prioritizing the care and love of our sick, pained, expensive, sensitive, fantastic bodies, and there is no one left to go to work, perhaps then, finally, capitalism will screech to its much-needed […] halt.

As opposed to these approaches, I propose a kind of ‘performative healing’, claiming this as necessary in a context of neoliberal cognitive capitalism, whereby feelings and experiences, including trauma and pain, become sites for the extraction of surplus value. I suggest that Zaman’s film enacts a tactics of performativity in which pain, anger, desire, and joy are relayed without either the resolution of stabilized identities or the comfort of feeling sad about another’s pain. In this, the film creates a conflictual treatment that both exposes the toxic parameters of sexism and racism in neoliberal capitalism while also performing a precarious reparation of them.

Maria Walsh is Reader in Artists' Moving Image at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Her books include Therapeutic Aesthetics: Performative Encounters in Moving Image Artworks (Bloomsbury, 2020) and Art and Psychoanalysis (I.B. Tauris, 2012). As well as being Reviews Editor of MIRAJ: Moving Image Review and Art Journal, she is a co-editor of the anthology Twenty Years of MAKE Magazine: Back to the Future of Women’s Art (I.B. Tauris, 2015). Articles on artists’ moving image have been published in various peer-reviewed journals, while her art criticism, including features, artists’ interviews and exhibition and film reviews, appears regularly in Art Monthly.

Healing the archived and the unarchived

Sena Başöz (Artist and filmmaker)

Sena Başöz's recent works delve into the relationship between past, present and future as formed through narratives created using archives. How we narrate the past shapes our vision of the future and where we stand today. The artist views creating an archive as an act of care. A regeneration takes place in the archive when a third-party interacts with it. Basoz is most interested in this potential, because it is here that healing can take place. The artist will discuss her artistic research on the relationship between archive and healinggoing over a selection of her works in her talk titled "Healing the Archived and the Unarchived".

Sena Başöz is an artist and filmmaker living and working in Istanbul. She received her BA in Economics from Boğaziçi University in 2002 and MFA from Bard College Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in Film and Video in 2010. Her recent solo exhibitions include Ars Oblivionis, Lotsremark Projekte, Basel (2020); A Consolation, Krank Art Gallery, Istanbul (2020); Hold on Let go, MO-NO-HA Seongsu, Seoul (2020) and On Lightness, DEPO Istanbul(2018). She has participated in group exhibitions such as Transitorische Turbulenzen, Kunstraum Dreiviertel, Bern (2020); Studio Bosporus, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2018); Quiet Dialogue, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum (2018) and Sharjah Biennial Offsite Exhibition: Bahar, Istanbul (2017). She participated in artist residencies at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2017), Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz (2010) and Delfina Foundation, London (2020). Sena Başöz's artwork focuses on healing processes after cases of trauma evolving out of the importance of care, the ways nature self-regenerates creating a balance in the long run and the organism's capacity to repair itself.

SESSION 2: First-person narratives - Testimonies - Exposure (June 1, 14:00-15:40 CEST (UTC +2)

Reframing the Class Divide - Caring Imaginaries, Class Struggle and The Social Turn

An exploration into socio-economic inequality in socially engaged art practice and convivial listening as an aesthetics of critique, care and change

Caitlin Shepherd, University of the Arts London

Reframing the Class Divide is a practice as research PhD project informed by everyday life. I construe my research interests in and through my lived experience of eurocentric patriarchal capitalism, a system that wounds many people. In my analysis of damage done by capitalist realism, I deploy an intersectional framework. The particular type of wounding my work examines, is the exclusion, silencing and dismissal of poverty, precarity and intersectional class inequality, in the context of socially engaged art production. My critical praxis explores the causes and solutions to working class exclusion in socially engaged art practices in the UK. Specifically, I examine barriers faced by people coming from working class backgrounds; the recurring impossibility of secure employment, renumeration and career progression within the field of socially engaged art. Undertaking this research, I deploy a practice as research methodology. I conduct critical self-reflection on my own experience as a woman coming from a low-income single parent family, desiring and continuing to work in the creative and cultural industries. I conduct in-depth secondary research, scrutinizing academic research examining the scale and causes of socio-economic inequality reproduced within the UK creative and cultural industries. Concurrently, I conduct primary research, conducting semi-structured interviews with audiences and collaborators exploring the affects of sitting and listening to acousmatic voices, giving an account of first person lived experience of day-to-day life lived under economic precarity. Key findings of my praxis include proposals for further research into the causes and scale of class exclusions within the field of socially engaged arts and convivial listening practices as one tactic of resisting class exclusions in the arts. Further, I propose a new mode of doing caring, healing aesthetics – approaches to making socially engaged art that puts promiscuous and disruptive care practices as central tactics of reimagining the false promises of capitalist modernity.

Caitlin Shepherd: I’m an artist, writer, researcher and educator concerned with making disruptive, socially engaged site-specificartwork. Using intimate site-specific listening encounters to explore personal stories of intersectional class identity, I use conversation and sound recordings, editing and site-specific sound installations as a means to explore themes of class identity and economic inequality. I propose peer to peer convivial listening protocols as one way to give voice to female, non-white, working class experiences, often excluded from the production of socially engaged art. I’m currently interested in developing and testing collective workshops that invite people to sculpt and give voice to their wounds using prosthetic wound making, as one way to invite the articulation of situated experiences of pain and struggle often hidden under optimistic and productive narratives rolled out under capitalist realism. Shaping and listening to the textures, shapes and forms of wounds lived under eurocentric patriarchal capitalism is one form of listening, care and healing that I remain interested in exploring and developing. I’m unit leader and lecturer in contextual and theoretical studies at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. I also teach on the MA Interaction Design course at LCC. I’m in the last leg of completing my practice-based PhD, Reframing the Class Divide at The Digital Cultures Research Centre, The University of West of England. Artistic work can be seen at:

Writing Histories through First-Person Narratives, Healing through Listening and Montage: ZAHIR

Özlem Sarıyıldız (Artist, Filmmaker, Editor)

'Zahir' is an impressionistic found-footage video emerging from my film 'Welcomed to Germany?', which is based on the migration motivations and experiences of friends who moved to Berlin from Istanbul since the Gezi Uprising in 2013. The first video claims to be taking a horizontal section from the recent history of Turkey through a tiny archive of first-person narratives, where the second searches for the affect created on my body by the narrating voices. During the interviews with the storytellers, I asked them to share with me some images they produced with their cellphones during their migration processes. 'Zahir' is allowed to use only those images and the voices of those storytellers. It is an editing challenge and a montage experiment that thinks on my own migration experience through an assemblage of oscillating first-person narratives and so-called 'irrelevant' images. The images recalled by our experiences expressed in words become the storytellers of our multiple yet shared histories.

Özlem Sarıyıldız ( uses audio-visual materials as her primary tools of research and praxis. Having engaged with subjects as diverse as gender, memory, music, migration, and commons, the main body of her work emerges at the collisions of the interest in the human condition and the curious excitement about the images. She searches for modes of practicing the possibilities hidden in micropolitics and strives to communicate with her audience through the direct beauty of the ruins of life as it is. She holds a BA in Industrial Design and an MS in Media and Cultural Studies, METU, Turkey. She was a research assistant at University McGill and a fellow of la Fondation Jeanne Sauvé between 2004-2005, then started her Ph.D. research at Graphic Design, Bilkent University. She has been making films and videos since 2001; her work has been presented and awarded in international festivals and exhibitions. Özlem was born and raised in Turkey; she lives and works in Berlin

Ethnic Healing: Fighting the Logic of the Unacknowledgeability through the Documentary Format — the Srbenka Case

Yago Paris (Eötvös Loránd University)

In specific marginalized communities, certain individuals protect themselves from harassment by following the logic of the unacknowledgeability (Tebble 2011). This attitude can be applied in cases where the cultural or behavioral trait can be concealed. Tebble explains it by using the case of the homosexual community, whose members can conceal the fact that they are homosexual. This concealment, which is beneficiary on the short term to avoid harassment, becomes an obstacle in the healing of trauma, since they become public, and hence politically, invisible. I claim that the logic of the unacknowledgeability also happens in ethnic conflicts such as the Serbian-Croat one, where the ethnic origin is concealed to avoid harassment. To prove that, I will analyze the Croatian documentary Srbenka (2018), where the harassment of the Serbian community living in Croatia is exposed. If we understand that "healing does not cover over, but exposes the wound to others: the recovery is a form of exposure" (Ahmed 2014, 200), then, the logic of the unacknowledgeability goes against healing. Through the participation in this documentary, a group of Serbian Croats is able to tell their stories, with the documentary becoming a “blank screen on which the event comes to be inscribed” (Laub 1992, 57), and as a way to depart from the traumatic event, in order to break the isolation it imposes (Caruth 1995). After having exposed the ways in which the film helps in fighting the logic of the unacknowledgeability through the therapeutic telling of the stories, I will finish my analysis by claiming that the documentary format can be a strong tool for the healing of any type of trauma, due to its immediacy and the impact its asserted veridical representation quality (Plantinga 2005) can have on the rest of the society, especially the perpetrators.

Ahmed, Sarah. 2014. “Conclusion: Just Emotions”. In Cultural politics of emotion, 191-203. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Caruth, Cathy. 1995. “Trauma and experience”. In Trauma: Explorations in memory, 3-12. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Laub, Dori. 1992. “Bearing Witness, or the Vicissitudes of listening”. In Testimony: Crises of witnessing in literature, psychoanalysis, and history, 57-74. New York and London: Routledge

Plantinga, Carl. 2005. "What a documentary is, after all". The Journal of aesthetics and art criticism 63.2: 105-117.

Tebble, Adam James. 2011. “Homosexuality and Publicness: Towards a Political Theory of the Taboo”. Political Studies, 59: 921-939.

Framing or Being Framed? Questions on Exilic Theatre and Podcasting

Pieter Verstraete (Freie Universität Berlin & University of Groningen)

In my intervention, I wish to reflect on questions that I often come across in the literature on exile as well as in the interviews I am undertaking as part of my Marie Curie-project, “Exiled Lives on the Stage”. I take the notion of the frame as essential to the presentation of self in daily life (Goffman 1956) as an inevitability, an imperative and a restraining boundary in our structures of perception but also in how we organize care. Artists in exile often report the problem of the demand to make art about their migration and exile as well as the bureaucracy that comes along with it, which wounds the subjectivity of the artist at risk a second time after the rupture and loss in fleeing their home country.

I would like to think the topic of ‘exilic and migratory healing’ further as one possible mode of resilience against a restraining cultural politics of care and solidarity that is often framing the already ‘framed’ artist to fit acceptable societal norms of support and engagement with the artist’s story. One example is the belief, as Yana Meerzon explains in Performing Exile, Performing Self (2012), how the destabilization caused by exile demands to be “worked through” in creative ways – the ‘exilic performative – that produces a new kind of artist identity (performing the act of self-fashioning) and new works that often avoid representational form.

I suggest to focus on some alternative artistic responses of ‘nomadic performativity‘ that deal with this awareness of a wounded subjectivity, whilst questioning the fatigue of having to play the creative role of the exilic artist identity for an audience and the society at large. In the preparation for a podcast series on this research project, I stumble time and again on the same questions of framing and being framed, even when my main material are the raw voices of people longing for their stories to be (over)heard. I want to take the opportunity to reflect on a mode of ear-witnessing, or even eavesdropping (Weiss 1999) on the lives of the exiled as a hopeful, autopoietic way out of the frame; and perhaps a form of self-healing?

SESSION 3: Diagnosis - Empathy - Consolation (June 1, 16:10-17:50 CEST (UTC +2)


Amy Hardie (Edinburgh University)

This presentation shows three short documentary films made in 2020 and scrutinises their conscious healing  intent. From the perspectives of the essential players in the co-creation of these documentaries, it asks how the director, the participant and the audience relate to the concepts of trauma and illness mediation through co-creation and dissemination. FilmMedicine, a new  postgraduate course at the University of Edinburgh,  offers students from nursing, medicine, counselling, anthropology and psychology,   an intensive engagement with health and illness through the transformative capacity of camera, sound recording and editing. Discussion will centre on the potential of the iterative filming/screening process utilised in each film for therapeutic benefit, using Arthur Frank’s concept of ‘consolation’ (Frank, 1989) in medicine.

Child Carer. Mai Trans
Password: ma-thuong-con
The daughter, directing for the first time,  grew up with a mentally ill mother, and  uses the camera to explore their relationship. Focussing on moments normally overlooked, eating, knitting, walking, weeping, allow the film-maker to recognise  the paradoxical joy and generosity of the relationship.

Brain Storm.   Emily Beaney
A young woman  uses multi- sensory methods to bring us inside her experience of epilepsy.
Scarred body.  , Eleni Evangeliou
What stories do our body scars tell of our lives, to our relationships?

Dr Amy Hardie designed FilmMedicine as a postgraduate interdisciplinary elective, and as a research network ( to explore the therapeutic potential of documentary film. Her own feature documentaries have shown that stories  on PTSD, cancer, palliative care, stem cells, can be resourced and disseminated internationally through cinema and television, with sustained audience engagement. These films are used in nursing, medicine, by patients and their families, and embedded within third sector and academic outreach to increase patient and family well-being.  She is the recipient of numerous international awards, and is senior lecturer in Film and Tv at Edinburgh University.

The Mirror and the Telephone: Diagnosing and Healing in the films of Robert Siodmak

Polina Rybina (Lomonosov Moscow State University)

The paper focuses on the role of naming and narrativization in diagnosing and healing, as represented in films noirs of a German-American director Robert Siodmak (Phantom Lady (1944), Dark Mirror (1946), The Spiral Staircase (1946)). His films deal with a neurotic character. In Phantom Lady, Jack Marlow (Franchot Tone), a murderer and a talented sculpturer, suffers from a nervous tick and fainting. In Dark Mirror, the twin sisters Terry and Ruth (Olivia de Havilland) experience sibling rivalry, complicated by Terry's 'paranoia'. In The Spiral Staircase, Helen (Dorothy McGuire) develops mutism in her childhood, making her a potential victim of a local maniac. Naming the diagnosis, though potentially externalizing the illness and stabilizing the patient, is represented as a highly destabilizing activity. Narrativization, which allows for fluidity and embodiment of contingent experience, works as a potentially healing practice.

In the film mise-en-scène, the mirror and the telephone function as instruments of diagnosing. Both can be linked to naming/showing the illness (Marlow's facial tick is first shown in the mirror; Terry and Ruth are represented as dark and light reflections in the mirror; Helen tries to phone the police but fails due to mutism). The telephone, associated with the process of telling, also functions as an instrument of healing: the healed Helen says her first words on the telephone. The paper delves into Siodmak's—ideologically and stylistically controversial (mingling German expressionism with Hollywood's discovery of the abnormal)—imagery for sharing and questioning the experience of illness.

Dr Polina Rybina is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Discourse and Communication Studies, Faculty of Philology at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Her primary interests include film adaptation and the theory of film narrative, as well as adaptation and narrativity in contemporary theatre. She is the author of articles on film adaptation and appropriation published in Russia, Italy, and France. 

Researchers’ Voice in/around/across Mobility and Time

Aslı Telli (University of Siegen)

Humankind is busy, considering life/death issues and their relation to mobility and time in a more philosophical and metaphysical sense since the arisal of the pandemic. This consideration is also for the first time more realistic and empathetic since it is clear that all livelihoods are necessary for the endurance of this planet. Such a blunt reality has not shaken humankind even during massive wars since these wars have been those of the dominant and oppressive. For the first time in history, the war is that of the whole planet against the wrong deeds of the planeteers during the last century. It is in this setting that the researchers’ existential reality is being inquired by not only the states as powers of control, but also public at large at both ends of new scientific knowledge on the pandemic and livelihoods. Right at that point, the responsibility of researchers for life/death issues is so aggrandized that they can only care less about their own well-being. No wonder, the number of online platforms of support for mental health and well-being has inflated considerably during the last year. This study/exposé aims to focus on RVoice platform ( to highlight how dialogical sharing of pain and challenges can break through long-lived bias against mental health in academia. The author also aims to trigger a dialogical debate on how mental health and well-being advocacy in shared spaces could relate to debunking inequalities and harm.

Aslı Telli is a scholar of media, communications and social informatics. She is interested in researching in cross-disciplinary fashion on social and civic impact of transmedia as well as new media literacy, cybercultures, social media facilitated activism and networked society enformatics. Aslı worked as a researcher and a faculty member in communications, cinema & TV and cultural Studies programs in Turkey, Malta, Switzerland, US and Germany. She contributes to a number of recent projects, including “Issue Mapping as part of Critical Action Research” and "Design process for Decolonizing Digital Rights Field in Europe". Lately, she collaborates with her colleagues in reflecting on critical peace studies, knowledge commons and collaborative design for knowledge futures. She is a founding member of RVoice platform as part of her reflections on open science and P2P commons.

Healing by conjuring Chekhov's THE BLACK MONK

Marylou Bongiorno & Jerome Bongiorno (Filmmakers)

Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno's feature film adaptation of Anton Chekhov's THE BLACK MONK short story presents a contemporary exploration of a filmmaker's attempt to heal his anxiety via a fantastical black monk.  The Bongiornos will present a short clip of the film and discuss how medical personnel and others use it to create empathy and healing for mental health.  To read the short story and learn more about the film:

Marylou & Jerome Bongiorno are Emmy-nominated, award winning, husband-and-wife, U.S. filmmakers who create social justice documentary, fiction, and museum installation art films that are widely distributed. The Bongiornos are the recipients of major prizes, grants, and fellowships and were commended for their outstanding contributions to cinema and public knowledge.  For more info:

                                                                                 FILM TALK: Surpassing Disaster (June 1, 18:30 - 19:30 CEST (UTC +2)

Joana Hadjithomas (filmmaker) in conversation with Pelin Tan (Batman University)

Moderator: Ahmet Gürata (Stockholm University)

Preceded by a screening of ISMYRNA (Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, 2016)

In ISMYRNA Joana Hadjithomas together with artist and poet Etel Adnan interrogate their attachment to objects, places, the constructions of imaginaries and mythologies without images. Their personal experiences, their stories serve as a background to the region’s changes after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the evolution of the borders questionning the notion of identity and belonging.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige are filmmakers and artists questioning the fabrication of images and representations, the construction of imaginaries, and the writing of history. Their works create thematic and formal links between photography, video, performance, installation, sculpture, and cinema, being documentary or fiction film. Their latest film Memory Box (2021) was screened at 71. Berlin Film Festival’s Main Competition.

Pelin Tan is a professor and head of film at the Fine Arts Faculty of Batman University, Batman, Turkey. With artist Anton Vidokle, she directed short films on the future society; the recent film "Gilgamesh: She who knows the deep" (2021, Mardin) received Sharjah Short Film grant (2020). Tan is a member of Artıkişler video collective and co-founder of the archive

Ahmet Gürata is an academic, film critic and festival curator. Currently, he is a senior visiting scholar at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS). He has published research on the history of Turkish cinema, reception, remakes and documentary in anthologies and journals.

SESSION 4: Care - Connectivity - Collaboration (June 2, 9:30-11:10) CEST (UTC +2)

Poetics of compassion: Visual poetry and co-creation in virtual opening spaces as self-care and community-care

Anna Wiehl (University of Bayreuth)

The COVID-19 lockdowns and the maxim of social distancing have not only been accompanied by an upheaval of all so far assumed certainties and our complex socio-cultural infrastructures – they have also brought along deep permutation in our personal, intimate lives. As closeness and connectivity are essential in times of cataclysm, and as the preservation and negotiation of the effects of crises and its consequences is one element in deal with stress and anxieties, the impulse to document and reflect one's experiences, to reset one's focus and to regain agency through (co-)creative practices and mutual care have gained momentum.

This might be one reason why during the lockdown many virtual communities emerged, e.g. social media initiatives with a documentary impetus, as well as collaborative web-projects. The motives for engaging in such networks are various – and often, one and the same project serves different needs at the same time for different user-participants. Apart from the impulse to document unprecedented times as a coping strategy to face personal uncertainties, and apart from the impetus to share one's experiences with others and thus to create a feeling of connectivity, these projects are also means for mediated self-care: they are spaces to self-reflexively cope with a slow-downed and often also isolated lifestyle and to make social distancing more bearable.

This contribution examines the potentials of co-creative documentary poetry/poetic documentary in times of crises, taking the participatory project Corona Haikus as an example – a project, which launched during the first lockdown in March 2020 as an artistic experiment repurposing the facebook platform and which later metamorphosed into a curated website. I will investigate which community needs have existed during the crisis, and how the collaborative project Corona Haikus answered them. The focus of the presentation lies on co-creation as a form of self- and community-care, on the visual haiku as a poetic and therapeutic form and meditative practice of creation, as well as the use of networked media, to create 'open spaces' (sensu Zimmermann & De Michiel 2018), to foster communicative connectivity and to inspire creativity – thus making social media networks social in the proper sense of the word.

Conceptualizations of co-creation, participation, mediated mindfulness and the healing potential of creativity – especially visual poetry – will be supplemented by reflections on community building, agency in co-creative projects and media ethics. In this sense, the contribution is meant as an analytic investigation of the status quo but also as a glimpse on the potential quo vadis of collaborative, interactive documentary and its (new) functions a means for self-care and community-care.

PD Dr. Anna Wiehl. Anna has been a lecturer and research assistant at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and has been a research fellow with i-docs at the Digital Cultures Research Centre Bristol. Her transdisciplinary research focuses on digital media cultures and documentary practices, interactive storytelling and network theories. From 2017 to 2019, Anna directed a research project on interactive documentary with the title New Documentary Networks and Worknets. Emerging Practices of Participation and Co-Creation in Interactive Documentary Ecologies and has finished her habilitation on The 'New' Documentary Nexus. Currently, she is leading a research network on the Documentary and the Digital.

Tell me why you care? Politics of Care and Film Festival Cultures

Dorota Ostrowska (Birkbeck, University of London)

The attitude of care is one of the most enduring features of film festival cultures. It is present in the fabric of film festivals manifested in the work of curators and programmers, in film festival themes and points of focus, and importantly among audiences and communities. By caring to curate and to organise a film festival event, be it online or life, film festivals create spaces of healing, presence and recovery for communities of film-makers, film practitioners and wider audiences. Taking cues from recent writings on care (The Care Collective 2020, Brunow 2020, Bellacasa 2017) and long-standing psychoanalytical studies (Winnicott 1996) in this paper I propose care as a methodological tool to examine constitutive elements of film festivals, and their dynamics. I consider care as the overarching framework helping us comprehend critical aspects of film festival cultures and its potential to renew themselves beyond the points of crisis. The topic will be explored drawing on different contemporary and historical examples from film festival cultures including human rights, migrant and indigenous film festivals as well as festivals which take place in the crisis zones such as the 1st Sarajevo Film Festival organised when the city was under siege during the Balkan conflict in the 1990s.

A Digital “meeting place” during Covid 19 within video games

Can Kutay (Bilkent University)

Through series of studies done in the field of digital humanities or digital cultures, an increased tendency for aggressive thoughts or behaviors are well documented among individuals who are frequently exposed to digital violence, whether acting as perpetrators of said violence or witnessing it through their in-game avatars in video games (Bushman & Rowell, 2014). However additional researches have demonstrated that video games depicting violence whereas positioning the player not as the perpetrator of said violence but as the “savior” of those who are in harm’s way, may have promote prosocial behaviors on their players (Greitemeyer & Osswald, 2010). Approaching the same question regarding; whether player interactions within these fictional worlds could yield transformative effects on their players, I would like to focus on an independent multiplayer video game titled “Kind words”, released in 2019 and became increasingly popular during the global pandemic (Lankau, 2020). Unlike majority of video games in which players would be introduced with an ultimate goal that they are required to fulfill within the game narrative (Juul, 2007), “Kind Words” offers an isometric interior of a bedroom as it’s mise-en and a gameplay that mostly consists of short dialogues with other players through a 280 character long digital mail, whether replying to an already submitted message or posting one of their own. Majority of these messages are personal stories that are published for the review of an online “other”, for emotional support and solidarity. This paper will aim to explore the topic that; how games like “Kind words” could temporarily provide an alternative to physical interaction with other people during the pandemic and offer an emotional “safe valve” for otherwise potentially lonely and anxious periods of self-isolation (Sima, 2021).

The Virtual world of Healing across Screen Cultures

Eylem Yanardağoğlu & Ufuk Soyöz (Kadir Has University)

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people increasingly rely on social media platforms for interpersonal communication. The internet penetration in Turkey is measured as%74, and the time on spent on the internet is measured as 7 hours 30 mins along withtime spent on social media at almost 3 hours, both are above World average (We are Social, 2020).Social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Instagram use is also higher than the European average.

One of the major questions in media studies from an active user perspective has been “what people do with media,” rather than “what media do to them.” According to Kenkins (2006), convergence is thus a process that occur in the minds of the users, and it is not primarily as atechnological processbringing together multiple media functions within thesame devices.Instead, as Jenkins (2006) argues, “convergence represents a cultural shiftas consumers areencouraged toseekoutnewinformation andmakeconnections among dispersed mediacontent.”

Digital communication is a mixed modality that combines elements of communication practices; it embodies conversation and writing. Most online groups are not so tied to geographical space but people tend to think of them as shared spaces. The sense of shared space, rituals of shared practices and exchange of social support all contribute to a feeling of community(Baym, 2010). In this exploratory study we seek to answer the question buy referring to our respective disciplines in achitecture and new media. Through participant observation of certain healing, mindfullness and meditation groups on zoom and whatsapp, and netnography of instagram accounts , we aim to explore how “How do people engage in screen cultures and explore possibilities for individual and collective healing through everyday creativities? Despite their spatial limits, and their over reliance on the sense of sight at the expense of tactility, through which activities do screens contribute to embodiement and consequent experience of healing?”

A Healing Media System of Care: Cancer Diaries and Social Media

Birte de Gruisbourne & Christian Schulz (Paderborn University)

Social media is often said to be a "narcissistic medium" that has a reifying effect on users through its determining metrics. This diagnosis is not entirely wrong. However, it often does not appear to be very accurate, especially with regard to the actual, everyday practices of users, and thus paints a distorted picture. In contrast to such positions we want to look at social media as (potentially) healing media based on the concept of care. We understand care as an affective practice which we emphasize as relational, reciprocal, asymmetrical and structurally emancipative. In this context, "healing media" are characterized primarily as an irreducible triad of media, affect, and care, which, with regard to social media, is expressed through an interplay of subjugating and autonomizing practices. This interplay will be illustrated in the following by using three examples of illness documentation: Audre Lorde's famous literary diary of illness,Wolfgang Herrndorf's cancer diary "Arbeit und Struktur" (Work and Structure), which was first and foremost a blog before his book was published. And finally, the influencer @kimspiriert, who starting from her Instagram account uses both a blog and a YouTube channel to document her cancer. It will be shown that the care practices taking place occur in a "hybrid media system" (1) which is characterized by the interplay of older and newer media logics. By also focusing on the occuring ways of communication we explore caring realtionships in and through social media in their different shapes.

(1) Andrew Chadwick: The Hybrid Media System: Power and Politics, New York 2017

Birte de Gruisbourne and Christian Schulz are research associates of the Media, Algorithms and Society team at the department of media studies at Paderborn University. Christian‘s research interests are social media and its media theories, data practices, theories of the subject and digital photography. Currently he is finishing his PhD thesis, which takes in a media historical perspective the software plug in of the like button as a starting point to develop a theory of social media. Birte studied Philosophy in Berlin (FU & HU). At the moment she works on her dissertation on the relation of asymmetry and autonomization in caring relationships, developing an account of inclination as an affective virtue. Other research interests are disability studies, social philosophy and philosophy of science.

SESSION 5: Anthropocentric hierarchies - Queer Aesthetics - Performativity (June 2, 11:40-13:20 CEST (UTC +2)

My Octopus Teacher and Anthropocentric Discourses of Healing

Brett Mills (Edge Hill University)

Discourses around healing remain overwhelmingly anthropocentric. What is to be healed is human; what does the healing is human too. But animals are entrapped within human discourses of healing, often required to fulfil significant activities that enable humans to heal. (1) These often do not take into account the impacts these have on those animals, nor do they include animals within the category of beings that might need to be healed. Human activities during the current pandemic evidence this, with many households adopting pets in order to make the lockdown home a more liveable space, and those pets now being returned to shelters once lockdown easing takes place and their service as healers no longer required. (2) As such, healing is a practice that often draws on anthropocentric species hierarchies, and reasserts them.

In order to explore this, this paper will examine the film My Octopus Teacher (Ehrlich and Reed 2020). This documentary depicts the filmmaker Craig Foster learning to rethink his relationship with his family and with nature following “professional burnout”, (3) with that healing a response to his regular encounters with an octopus that lives in the sea near his beachside home. A global success, the film has been lauded as evidencing “interspecies communication” and an “intimate, absorbing view into an alien life”. (4) Yet the film – and the response to it – instead indicates how animals are drawn upon as resources for healing by humans, with little regard for the consequences for animals of this process. As such, through analysis of the film and its reception, this paper aims to foreground the non-human actors drawn into regimes of caring, and explore the extent to which notions of caring are unwittingly anthropocentric. Furthermore, it will attend to the filmic particularities of My Octopus Teacher in order to examine how media representations of healing similarly reassert species hierarchies.

  1. Rhodes, Christine (2020) ‘The Healing Power of Pets’, Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal, 20(4), 8-12.
  2. Kavin, Kim (2020) ‘Dog Adoptions and Sales Soar During the Pandemic’, Washington Post, 12 August,, accessed 30 March 2021; Williams, Kieren (2021) ‘Hundreds of Pets Abandoned as Owners who Bought them During Pandemic Struggle to Cope’, Daily Mirror, 5 January,, accessed 30 March 2021.
  3. Lodge, Guy (2020) ‘My Octopus Teacher Review: An Eight-Legged Freak Becomes a Friend in Netflix’s Gorgeous Hit Nature Doc’, Variety, 24 December,, accessed 30 March 2021.
  4. Linden, Sheri (2021) ‘My Octopus Teacher: Film Review’, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 January,, accessed 30 March 2021; Hunt, Elle (2020) ‘My Octopus Teacher Review: The Strange Lives of Cephalopods up Close’, New Scientist, 8 September,, accessed 30 March 2021.

Pablo's Straight Skin, Bruno's Gay Mask? Pretending to Be Gay on Screen as Queer Healing Device in Marco Berger's Plan B

Gilad Padva (Tel Aviv University)

The Argentinian film Plan B (2009) focuses on the healing process of Bruno, a young working-class man, who experiences an agonizing, unfulfilled love to handsome Pablo. After Bruno is dumped by his girlfriend, who falls in love with Pablo, Bruno plots to come between the new lovers by pretending to be gay and seducing Pablo. These young men develop an apparently platonic friendship while mutually exercise in pretending to be gay for Bruno's theatrical experimentations. Their sexual masquerade increasingly make them consider their own sexualities in a new light. Although they continue to have occasional sex with women, their intimate relationship is strengthened and they eventually come to terms with love for each other. Plan B queerly demonstrates the recuperating potentials of sexual masquerade as emancipatory device that saves the closeted, agonized Bruno who lives in a heteronormative, masculinist and homophobic community. Pablo's sexuality, however, is conspicuously liminal, and he remains somewhat in-between the allegedly dichotomous tropes of hetero- and homo- sexualities, demonstrating a sort of heteroflexibility in which he is engaged in same-sex sexuality while distancing himself from gay culture, movement and iconography. Notably, filmmaker Berger's cinematic healing strategy consists of sensitive portrayal of the protagonists' growing intercorporality. The notion of "intercorporeality," originally coined by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1959), stimulates a reconsideration of Others' bodies as constitutive for one's own sense of embodiment. Plan B's narrative device, subversive homoerotic performativity, haptic imagery and psychological exposure of emotional wounds expose the recuperating and political dimensions of queer intercorporeality, cathartic masquerades and redemptive authenticities. 

Dr. Gilad Padva is a scholar and lecturer in film studies, cultural studies, men's studies, sexuality studies and queer theory. He is the author of Straight Skin, Gay Masks and Pretending to Be Gay on Screen (Routledge, 2020) and Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). He is the co-editor of Leisure and Cultural Change in Israeli Society (Routledge, 2020), Intimate Relationships in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and Sensational Pleasures in Cinema, Literature and Visual Culture: The Phallic Eye (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Dr. Padva publishes extensively in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes, and international encyclopedias. Dr. Padva currently works for the Graduate Program in Women's and Gender Studies with NCJW at Tel Aviv University where he teaches Men's Studies and popular culture.

Subcultural “Healing” and Reclaiming Violence in Derek Jarman’s Early Films

Temmuz Süreyya Gürbüz (National University of Ireland Galway)

Derek Jarman’s first feature film Jubilee (1978) marks the overlaps between the discourse of “punk cinema” and its ignored intersection with queer subcultures on screen. Jubilee’s adoption of punk subculture as an enabling environment for a confrontational queer aesthetic is ignored in the discourse of “punk cinema”. My paper will trace the transitional position of Jubilee, along with Jarman’s early 8mm short films pre-Jubilee, through their transhistoricism and political ambiguity in depicting violence and sexuality. I will argue that Jarman’s interest in the punk and DIY ethics can be correlated with his personal aesthetics that are designed to give space to its subjects’ abjection in a specific time-place. I will situate this interaction as a central mode of engagement with his larger artistic pattern of building imaginary counter-publics and queer temporalities.

Through appropriating punk and modern historical figures together with a harnessing of violence, Jarman created his “dream allegory”, “a healing fiction” (Ellis 143) as a response to the accelerated public homophobia of the Thatcherite era in the UK. I will unpack the ways in which this “healing” is performed on screen through a punk mis-en-scene where violent bodies are associated with queer eros. Starting from Jubilee’s narrative organization that frames a dystopian post-consumerist society representative of the present time within a time-travel plot involving a portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I, this paper discusses how human bodies, in Jarman’s early films, become the site on which the role of violence can be re-imagined as a coping mechanism that confronts the exclusionary dichotomies of modernity. This is a type of queer aesthetic that complicates identity politics with its reclamation of violence, and where the transhistorical intersections of punk and queer subcultures reside.

Temmuz Süreyya Gürbüz is a PhD candidate at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland, Galway. Her research investigates avant-garde cinema, punk subcultures and counter-culture histories through the lens of queer theory. She is a member of Punk Scholars Network and has presented and published on the interactions of queer theory, subcultures and cinema in a number of venues, most recently in the Punk and Post-Punk Journal, Journal of European Popular Culture, and as a series editor of the research cluster "MOVE: Subcultures, Movements, Aesthetics" on ASAP/J. Her monograph Judith Butler and Film is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic in 2023. Her experimental films have been screened as part of the digital exhibition of Collage Research Network (2020), NUI Galway’s Feminist/Queer Research Space Workshops (2019) as well as her Turkey-based punk band Secondhand Underpants’ live performances.

Performing the ‘stuck’ for healing practices

Işıl Eğrikavuk (Berlin University of Arts)

The body is both a subject and a medium to explore for many contemporary artists of today who work with performance or performativity in their work. From nature rituals to working with sound, from journaling to exposing intimacy, many artists today “address social change in a holistic way, from personal healing and self-transformations to structural change” (Serafini, 2018, 128). Artistic practice can serve not only for personal, but also for social, ecological and political transformation. As Audre Lorde writes, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” (Lorde, 1988, 131). This lecture/workshop is designed in two folds: The first part is to look at a series of contemporary artists, who work with performance and thematize healing in their practices in different imaginative and controversial ways.The second part will be interactive, in which participants will be guided to do a small exercise in front of their screens (No previous knowledge of art or performance practice is needed).

Lorde, A. (1988). ‘Epilogue’, in A Burst of Light: Essays by Audre Lorde, Ithaca,NY: Firebrand. pp. 131–134.

Serafini, P. (2018). Performance action: The politics of art activism. London: Routledge.

Işıl Eğrikavuk (PhD) is an artist and academic, whose research specializes in performance art, dialogue-based art practices and artistic research. She has an MFA in Performance Art from School of The Art Institute of Chicago and a PhD from Istanbul Bilgi University. She has been teaching for 13 years in different universities in USA, Turkey and Germany and  Since 2017, she lives in Berlin and works as a faculty member at Berlin University of Arts (UdK), Media and Communication Department. Eğrikavuk is the co-winner of Turkey’s first contemporary art prize, Full Art Prize in 2012. She is also the first recipient of SPOT Production Fund’s artist grant. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions, residencies, and her work has been published in both local and international journals. Recent exhibitions include, Chicago Architecture Biennial (Expected 2021), Die Büehne, Berlin (2019), Art Souterrain, Montreal (2019), Pluto’s Kitchen, Block Universe, London (2017), Every Kind of Myth is Written With Care, Propaganda in 21st Century, Lenbachhaus Museum, Munich (2017), Art of Disagreement, Salt Galata&Ulus, İstanbul& Ankara (2016-2015), 11th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah (2013), 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009). For more info visit her website

SESSION 6: Post-memory - Mourning - Affect (June 2, 14:20-15:40 CEST (UTC +2)

Mourning in Horror: Grief in the 21st-Century Horror Films

Tugce Kutlu (University College London) 

This particular work sets out to analyse horror’s relation to grief due to the genre’s proximity to death and secondly, to propose a new theory that establishes the 21st-century horror films to be directly about the process of mourning. The dissertation utilises the case study design, examining some of the most prominent horror films of the century: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019), Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018), Pet Sematary (Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, 2019), The Woman in Black (James Watkins, 2012) and The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014). These films are studied closely using the tools of genre theory and grief studies and the research is structured according to Kübler-Ross’s “five stages of grief”. Looking at these horror films’ narrative and visual approach to grief with fresh eyes, building on the works of grief scholars, and redefining the genre studies’ perspective to the horror being more about the fear, this research highlights the horror genre as a cinematic tool for representing the emotional and mental outcomes of death.

Tugce Kutlu completed her undergraduate education in Radio, Television and Film as a valedictorian at Ankara University, received another BA in International Relations from Anadolu University. She completed her MA in Film Studies at University College London (UCL) under a scholarship, wrote her dissertation on horror films supervised by Professor Susanne Kord at UCL and was awarded a Distinction. She is currently writing her thesis on the 21st-century Turkish cinema and power relations for her second MA at Ankara University. Her research interests include horror films, European cinema, power relations in cinema and popular culture.

Affectionate stories, fragments of memory: a documentary on the posmemory of Italian immigration in Brazil

Kátia Hallak Lombardi (Federal University of São João del-Rei (UFSJ) & Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

In Brazil, after the abolition of slavery in 1988, a program to stimulate immigration was developed, mainly of Europeans who corroborated the interests of the migratory policies in the country. One of the most intense migratory flows was that of Italians. Many colonial centers were created across the country. One of them was set up in São João del-Rei, a city whose history goes back to the period of intense gold mining in the state of Minas Gerais.

Nowadays, the town has about 90 thousand inhabitants and is composed of descendants of second and third generations of more than 400 families of Italian immigrants. These descendants are culturally hybrid and plural people, as when crossing borders, they intertwined cultures and identities.

The documentary Affectionate stories, fragments of memory. Italian immigration in São João del-Rei (20 min) was produced with the objective of giving voice to these descendants, leading them to tell stories of their ancestors, thus being a way to highlight the small narratives and avoid obliterating the past. On behalf of Walter Benjamin, the idea of returning to the past is related to the repair of damage and redemption. It’s a way of restoring these people to something of the past.

Marianne Hirsch developed the concept of postmemory to emphasize this preserved memory even with the generational distance. For Hirsch, postmemory refers to the experience of those who grew up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth, experiences that they remember, but that they did not experience. It is a transmission structure that operates under the influence of personal connection and affective force. In the case of the five families that are part the documentary, we are dealing with remaining narratives, with fragments of history that go beyond the limits of the experiential experience.

Kátia Hallak Lombardi is a photographer, professor at the Social Communications/Journalism course and docent member of the Graduate Program in Languages and Literatures: Literary Theory and Cultural Criticism of Federal University of São João del-Rei (UFSJ), Minas Gerais, Brazil. She holds a master’s and a PhD in Social Communications from Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil. Postdoctoral fellow in the Graduate Program in Letters: Literary Studies (UFMG), Brazil, and in the António Lobo Antunes Chair at Milan University (UNIMI), Italy. Her research area includes image, memory and photography. Working mainly with: documental photography, Imaginary Documentary, war photography, and Poetics of Traces.

Black Setúbal – An audiowalk on the The Black Presence in the Town of Setúbal (15th-18th century)

Nuno Coelho, Rafaela Rodrigues, & Jorge Cardoso (Universidade de Coimbra)

“The Black Presence in the Town of Setúbal (15th-18th century)” is an urban route created in 2019 by a team of Portuguese researchers (historians and sociologists) that invites people to visit eight places in town, providing historical content related to its theme. Based on the developed research, an app for smartphones is under development, named “Black Setúbal”, for which short narrated stories were produced, by using storytelling techniques, complemented by sound design, songs, and poems by contemporary artists. By creating an audiowalk, it was intended to explore a more experimental and poetic version of the route, allowing users a more immersive experience.

The choice of the format is justified by: 1) creating an innovative way of exploring the urban space of Setúbal; 2) the fusion of the past (listening to narratives formulated from historical content) with contemporaneity (viewing of the present); 3) by freeing the vision of users, stimulating them to imagine a reality of which there are no physical traces; 4) for the live experience of the urban space to be more autonomous so that it is not so dependent on the screen; 5) for users in the present to become aware of the historical roots of Black communities in Setúbal who were historically marginalized.

The eight stories (podcast type) will be available through a dedicated GPS-based responsive design website. Users can access each story by reading QR codes placed in the public space and leaflets. The target audiences are inhabitants of and visitors to Setúbal, while also encouraging future visitors by residents in other locations. Like the original route, this app was designed as a "walking-class", a non-formal education space to learn about Portuguese colonialism and Portugal’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, while also raising awareness on contemporary Racism.