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Interactive documentary tells of Peru's dark secret

Date: 19/03/2014


The Quipu: Living Documentary website has linked old and new technologies to allow web users to listen to voices from Peru's hard to reach communities.

The team worked with those in rural communities affected by the sterilisation campaign to develop a communication system that enables them to speak up and share their stories.

Inspired by the Quipu - an Inca communication system made of knotted threads - the project has created a string of oral histories, fusing web technology with the radio and mobile phone technology available in the Peruvian Andes, to enable people to record their personal testimonies, listen to the experiences of others in their community and region, and share their stories with the rest of the world.

It is one of six innovative projects being premiered at a showcase screening at Watershed in Bristol, where industry experts will join the public for a panel discussion about the 'interactive documentary' experience.

The Quipu project is a collaboration between University of Bristol researchers Dr Matthew Brown and Dr Karen Tucker and media company Chaka Studio, which received funding 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 Peruvian state has never taken responsibility for the forced sterilisation programme and the associated human rights violations it involved. Despite hopes that the legal case against ex-President Fujimori and the ministers responsible for programme would be re-opened in 2014, in January of this year the case was archived for the fifth time.

The Quipu project will be showcased at the Watershed, Bristol, on Wednesday 19 March as part of the REACT Showcase: Future Documentary, beginning at 4pm. Booking is required.

Find out more about documentary at the Quipu Project website

For further information, please contact Alex Pryce (AHRC), a.pryce@ahrc.ac.uk, 01793 41 6025

Notes for editors

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk
  • 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.
  • Chaka Studio develops documentary films and cross-media projects connecting cultural issues and new media technologies
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