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Title: Maze³ : a practice-based research inquiry into interactive documentary in "Post-conflict" Northern Ireland
Author: McRoberts, Jamie Alexander
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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This research explores an existing, yet under-researched overlap between ‘post-conflict’ storytelling and the emerging form of interactive documentary. A tension is highlighted between high levels of authorial control over narratives and low levels of agency among audiences in the interpretation of traditional, audiovisual storytelling. Interactive documentary, as a user-centric and multi-narrative media form, is introduced as a potential means to engage audiences with stories of conflict in new and creative ways. As a conceptual framework and, in an attempt to understand and bridge the gap between the fields of interactive documentary and post-conflict storytelling, Gaudenzi’s (2013) taxonomy of four modes of interactivity is applied to critically analyse existing case examples of interactive documentaries that negotiate narratives of conflict: Gaza/Sderot (2008), 18 Days in Egypt (2011), Streets of Belfast (2015), and Gone Gitmo (2007). Multiple methodological approaches are adopted to explore the field of interactive documentary, specifically in its potential application to negotiate stories of conflict. Primarily, I adopt a practice-led inquiry as central, which involves the experimentation and development of various interactive storytelling technologies that culminates in the creation of Maze3: An Interactive Documentary. Maze3 offers a virtually simulated, navigable version of the Maze and Long Kesh prison, a significant and contested symbol of the Northern Ireland conflict. Through reflection on the creative process of making Maze3, 1 outline some of the key decision points in my quest to create an artefact that embodies key interactive characteristics, such a multi-linearity, polyvocality, sense of presence and environmental contextualisation. A qualitative, phenomenographic research study of users’ experiences of interacting with Maze3 follows adopting screen-capture observation and ‘think-aloud’ techniques. This aspect of the inquiry elucidates the potential role that interactive documentary can play in post-conflict societies, by exploring real-world experiences and implications of engaging with an interactive documentary, such as Maze3. This research offers various contributions, but, principally, it contributes to deeper understandings of practice-led research and the potential role of interactive documentary practice to storytelling within post-conflict Northern Ireland.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available