“It’s the Media Stupid!” Essays in honour of Brian Winston 2022

Pratap Rughani contributed his essay “Towards Restorative Narrative” to a festschrift published by abramis academic publishing, edited by Richard Lance Keeble, to celebrate the late Dr Winston, The Lincoln Professor.

“This chapter argues for an experiment in bringing together moving image and mediation practices to create a more relational media – socially designed and biased enough to nurture the connective tissue between communities, drawing on practices from restorative justice including deep listening and searching for shades of grey. Meanwhile, swathes of social and mass media are increasingly polarised. Key production processes and financial structures feed this trend, magnifying the attitudes and algorithms that lean towards conflict. This trend hollows out the quality or sometimes the prospect of dialogue in the public sphere and threatens to break the connective tissue that forms the habitus of UK multi-cultures. In response to these issues, the chapter suggests some strategies to refuse and reverse toxic polarisation. It argues that the need for participatory and community media is stronger than ever and asks: what is needed to create meetings and media to build creative explorations that nurture empathic understanding, especially when we disagree? Finally, can the processes of restorative justice offer a model for ‘restorative narrative’ that could frame a new media genre of storytelling
designed to build mutual understanding and connection that obtains on either side of emotive issues whether or not we agree?”

Keywords: restorative narrative, polarisation, mass media, ethics

The book “brings together ten original essays by leading international academic colleagues to celebrate Brian Winston’s distinguished career begun in 1963. They cover three of Brian’s specialist areas:

  • documentary
  • free expression
  • politics and ethics of the media

The contributors are (in order of appearance) Tom Waugh, Deane Williams, Kate Nash, Annette Hill, Clifford G. Christians, Julian Petley, Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Ivor Gaber, Martin Conboy and Pratap Rughani.”

“Ethics for Making” is the BAFTTS 2022 Winner for Emerging Media

What the judges had to say:
“An invaluable and detailed set of interactive resources on the ethics of filmmaking.”

Lotus Films is delighted to announce that Ethics for Making, the free digital ethics resource in creative practice developed in conjunction with London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, won The British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS), Screen Based Practice Research Emerging Media Award 2022.

The project was led by Pratap Rughani, Professor of Documentary Practices, Associate Dean of Research London College of Communication, UAL, director of Lotus Films UK, and developed by Iris Wakulenko Digital and Project Manager in conjunction with the LCC post-graduate team Gareth Johnson, Digital Producer and Designer, and Virginie Tan, Interactive Designer, and was illustrated by Grace Dahl, graduate of Camberwell College of Arts, UAL.

Further reading:

London College of Communication launches ‘Ethics for Making’ in partnership with Lotus Films

Design for Dialogue: publication of position paper, UAL Social Design Institute 2020

“The tools for dialogue are in our pockets as never before, yet the social media we speak through has been capitalised and weaponised to such an extent that, for too many, social media speaks for us and speaks badly. Some marginalised communities embrace a new power to film and fight unacceptable realities, energising the same platforms. Yet, the rise of hate speech, social media’s treacherous shadow, threatens to hollow out democracy, tweet by Trumpian tweet. Until social media platforms reform, we are free to step back from being triggered and respond by de-escalating rather than polarisation”

Pratāp Rughani – “Design for Dialogue: Valuing Doubt in an Age of Conviction” UAL Social Design Institute publication


UAL Social Design Institute

Get the paper

The Forgiveness Project’s Annual Lecture 12 November 2019

The Forgiveness Project founder Marina Cantacuzino, will mark the 15th anniversary of The Forgiveness Project. The Forgiveness Project collects and shares stories from both victims/survivors and perpetrators of crime and conflict who have rebuilt their lives following hurt and trauma.

Marina will be joined on stage by Jacob Dunne and Joan Scourfield who shared their personal experience of restorative justice and explored how dialogue could be a powerful force in ending cycles of violence.

The evening will be chaired by award-winning documentary filmmaker and Professor at University of the Arts London, Pratāp Rughani. Tuesday, 12th November 2019 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR. Book here.

Video of the Annual Lecture event is here.

Visible Evidence XXVI 24 – 28 July 2019

Visible Evidence, the international conference on documentary film and media, will convene for its 26th year at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California July 24-28, 2019.

28 July 11 – 12:45 SCA 204 in the session The Ethics and Politics of New Documentary Technologies Professor Rughani presents a paper: Testing Documentary Ethics in Research and Making:  An Online Tool for Learning and Teaching.

LSFF Industry Panel 14:00 Thu 17 Jan 2019

Dr Pratap Rughani participated in an industry  panel at the 16ᵗʰLondon Short Film Festival 11 – 20th January 2019:

Who goes where? The Ethics of Representation in documentary

“We look into the ethics of representation and ethics of production in documentary as an inextricable cycle, addressing documentary’s legacy of ethnography and its distillation into modern documentary practice. Our panellists will address the thin line between ‘subject’ and ‘object’; who is looking at who from both behind and in front of the camera and what might constitute a meaningful dialogue between the two.”

14:00 Thu 17 Jan 2019 at The Horse Hospital  followed by networking.

Book tickets here.

Fastnet Film Festival 2018 Seminar

At the 10th edition of the Fastnet Film Festival, Ireland, the seminar ‘Films to Change the World’ will focus on Human Rights, with Dr Emma Sandon, Senior Lecturer in Film and TV, at Birkbeck, University of London, and at the Cinema, Human Rights and Advocacy Summer School, and Dr Pratāp Rughani, Director, Lotus Films & Associate Dean of Research at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London.