Integrating Theory.

March 31, 2009

There have been lot of questions about the
integration of theory within your projects.
There are many ways that you can approach
this, and in many ways it’ s a decision that
is based upon the type of project you wish to
make. The theoretical component shouldn’t
be tacked on at the end to explain your work,
more so it is something that should help define
the type of questions you want to answer and
even the kind of communities you wish to

Theory is almost impossible to escape, so better
that you work with it and integrate it into your
research. You don’t need to frame every interview
question with Toennies says….so what do you
think? But you can use theory to set a direction
for your investigation. Eg; set out to explore or
challenge Toennies’ theories of Germeinschaft
and Gesellschaft. Think of theory as the backbone
which supports your argument, or the framework
on which you can devise your questions and
overall approach to making your doco. Theory
can just sit quietly in the background, but it offers
another level of complexity for the reader.

Jenny offers some great insight into the integration
of theory on her blog. So why not check out her post
how to add theory.


The Learning Contract

March 31, 2009


Hi TSers,

Well the time for submission of the learning contract
is this Friday April 3rd. Yes, this Friday! But before
you try to stick your head in the toaster or madly fill
in each section, remember that you do have until
week 8 to finalise your learning contract. Phew!
I will look over each Learning contract and provide
feedback. Remember, this contract is to help you plan
and maintain focus, so think of it as a tool to guide
you through the entire process of conceptualizing,
planning and producing your social media doco.

What to submit?

You need to send me an email with the
url (permalink) to your learning contract,
which should be a post on your blog. A good
idea is to haveĀ  a separate category on your
blog to house the contract. If your not sure
how to do this, just ask me in the tute and I
will help you.



Social Media tutorials on Youtube.

March 27, 2009


Sometimes being a couch potato can be a good thing.
Pull up a seat andĀ  a look at some of these useful video
tutorials on social media. Learn all about twitter, or
find out how to make a podcast. Plenty of food for thought
here. Click on the link below to checkout my playlist.

If you find something else that might help out the
TS crew, then simply send me the link or blog it
yourself. Happy blogging!

What is a documentary and how do I incorporate theory?

March 25, 2009


My understanding of a documentary is that it is a non-fiction
factual narrative that explores a central idea or research question.
Of course I am sitting here writing this off the top of my head, and
all I have to base this definition on is a handful of related texts and
previous docos that I have watched and listened too. But let’s not
get bogged down in a search for a watertight definition, for I do
believe that most of us have an understanding of the expectations
that accompany the documentary form. Rather, lets look at the
form itself, and how we can develop or find new ways to present
and construct innovative and engaging forms of documentary

I just read over the last line above, I think the key word here is
storytelling. A story involves characters, locations, structure
and above all, an audience. An understanding of these story
elements and how they fit into the puzzle is vital to the telling
of any tale. As documentary storytellers, our role is to inform
and inspire others to further investigate the issues and
questions that we raise.

So what of these questions and how should we incorporate
theory into the documentary. I think a good example of here
is the work of Michael Moore. On watching one of his films,
one is immediately aware that Moore is exploring theoretical
questions regarding notions of social cohesion and community.
I would argue that his approach to his interview questions and
technique, and the filmmaking itself, requires an engagement
with theory in order to determine the correct approach for such
a project.

Although Moore may not literally ask his interviewees
“What do you think of Toennies theories on ‘community and
society’? He may very well be exploring these issues within the
overall framework, and this may be reflected in the nature of
the questions he does ask in his interviews and the types
of communities he chooses to document in his films.

I would argue that theory is part of our daily lives, it shapes
the systems that we live in and may help us to gain a better
understanding both ourselves and our environment.
Personally, I believe that an engagement in theory is not
just about dithering bespeckled old men, dusty books and
outmoded concepts. Whether we agree or disagree with
a particular hypothesis, we are in the process of actively
thinking about a question and a solution. For me,
theory is just about opening our minds to greater
possibilities and a better understanding of the
human condition.

Okay, that’s enough ranting for me. What do you think?

Prisoners in Freedom City

March 23, 2009


This powerful online documentary uses social media to
build a community around a key issue and connect
with others who are passionate about human rights.

Viewers have the opportunity to participate, rather
than simply sit on the sidelines. The characters
are authentic and the source of the conflict is
sitting within reach of our fingertips.

Watch “Prisoners in Freedom City” at the link below.



What is Social Media?

March 22, 2009

socialmedia1The introduction of WEB 2.0 with
all of its advanced applications has
great implications for the way we
connect and communicate via the
internet and networked portable devices.

Social Media can be described as a
series of computer applications that
facilitate networking and communication
via the internet and wireless
telecommunication portals.
Social Media can be used to share a wide variety of media, stories and ideas.
It can be used to connect us to online communities
or to simply access information and track our favorite websites.
Infact, as our needs and desires to find new modes of networking
grow, perhaps, so too does our appetite for finding new tools to
enable that growth.

A basic glossary of computing terms at Batchbook Software
provides the following definitions of Social Media and Social Networking.

Social Media
The term social media describes media
that is posed by the user and can take many
different forms. Some types of social media
are forums, message boards, blogs, wikis
and podcasts. Social media applications
include Google, Facebook and YouTube.

Social Networking
A social networking site allows you to
identify your contacts and establish a link
between you and each of your contacts.

Social Media is also an instrument of change, and one has only
to look at the practices and protocols of social networking sites such as
Myspace and Facebook to get a sense of how our mediated
interactions are evolving to fit the needs and anxieties of our networked

Like the ‘Veil of Maya’, social media may be seen as
an illusion which distorts the truth of our human engagement, but
it may also be a mechanism to pierce such a veil by establishing
alternative publishing models and networks that defy the systematic
globalisation of our media by offering independent views and voices

Interfaces become hurdles that must be overcome in order to use
these systems, but jump we shall as we set forth to explore
how these social media applications be used to document and
build communities.

Check out the following links and keep blogging and sharing
your thoughts throughout the semester.

What is Social Media? An ebook by Antony Mayfield

The Common Craft Show
This has an excellent selection of videos on the subject.

Top 50 Social Media Sites by Vladimir Prelovak.
A useful and comprehensive of social media with rankings
and great links to relevant websites and information.

Note: If you find more resources that you wish to share with
your fellow TS students then list them on your blog and
email the link to me.



Welcome to Transient Spaces

March 19, 2009


This is the Transient Spaces blog that I have set up for the class.
I will use this blog to link to TS students, sites of interest and as
a repository for tutorial info, presentations, etc.

If you haven’t done so already, could email me your Ts blog url
so I can put it on the blogroll. That way you can look at each others
work and generate ideas for your blogging and creative practice.

The doco ideas are sounding very interesting and over the coming weeks
we will look more closely at social media practices and relevant theory.
How does social media expand our understanding of
the documentary form and challenge our notions of community?

P.S. You can find a copy of the week 3 lecture on
Hybrid Documentary form at

I look forward to seeing the completed projects.