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Mar 4, 2022 at 10:00 am – Mar 6, 2022 at 5:00 pm

Collaboration and / as Negotiation: Documentary Ethics

With Amanda Gutiérrez, Hadley Austin, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Walis Johnson, Veronica Mockler & Javier Toscano

The ethics bound up in documentary collaborations are many and oft-discussed, especially as they pertain to the subject-creator relationship. In this three-day workshop, performance and sound artist Amanda Gutiérrez will lead participants in a multimedia engagement to explore what sorts of ethical and social negotiations are involved in collaborating within the nonfiction space, from sound art to directing for documentary to designing a nonfiction performance. In doing so, participants will be given the opportunity to explore their own works in relation to these different practices and approaches to collaborative, ethical nonfiction making.

Amanda herself will be on hand to discuss the ethics of nonfiction sound art creation as collaborative practice, as will Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, who will expand upon the idea of sound and political listening in the elaboration of collective works. When it comes to nonfiction performance, Walis Johnson of The Red Line Archive will engage participants in a conversation about the collaborations that arise from telling stories within public spaces and the ethics bound up in spatially grounded endeavors. Veronica Mockler will discuss documentary performance as a collaborative action. To discuss the ethics of collaboration within documentary filmmaking, participants will hear from Hadley Austin of Formidable Entities. Javier Toscano (Capital) will discuss documentary directing as a form of political collaboration in and of itself.

Throughout, participants are encouraged to tease out how their respective practices engage (or don’t engage) with similar processes and to determine for themselves how to best situate collaboration and ethical engagement within their works moving forward. By adopting a multimedia approach to this discussion, this workshop endeavors to showcase a diversity of creators working in different genres of nonfiction and their particular approaches to these complex subjects. In doing so, it also seeks to generate conversations among presenters and participants alike as to the different ways of viewing ethics, collaboration, and negotiation across a wealth of media and projects.

NOTE: This workshop is hybrid, which means participants can either join in person at UnionDocs or via Zoom. For those joining in person,  each participant must present proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test administered within 72 hours of the workshop’s start. Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected].


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for documentary filmmakers, aspiring podcasters, journalists, and media artists. This workshop is now hybrid and will be conducted both in person and in compliance with CDC protocols and on Zoom for those who wish to tune in remotely.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience and a film project (it would be great if you have a project in progress that you would present to the group during the work-in-progress critique sessions), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample (and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required).

$350 early bird registration by Feb 28th, 2022 at 11:59PM.

$400 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until Feb 28th. After Feb 28th, the fee is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

NOTE: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of Feb 28th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, March 4, – 10:00am - 5:00pm

10:00a – Warm up and introductions of participants and their projects/interests
10:45a – Intro/Presentation of work with Amanda Gutiérrez
11:45a – Share / Discussion / Exercise
1:00p – Lunch
2:00p – Presentation of work with Budhaditya Chattopadhyay (Sound as political act)
4:00p – End-of-day conversation with Amanda
5:00p – Wrap Up


Saturday, March 5, – 10:00am - 5:00pm

10:00a – Warm up and workshopping of participants and their projects/interests
10:45a – Intro/Presentation of work with Walis Johnson (Critical race theory and storytelling/performance in public space)
11:45a – Share / Discussion / Exercise
1:00p – Lunch
2:00p – Presentation of work with Veronica Mockler (Collaborative, documentary performance practices)
4:00p – End-of-day conversation with Amanda
5:00p – Wrap Up

Sunday, March 6 – 10:00am - 5:00pm


10:00a – Warm up and workshopping of participants and their projects/interests
10:45a – Intro/Presentation of work with Hadley Austin
11:45a – Share / Discussion / Exercise
1:00p – Lunch
2:00p – Presentation of work with Javier Toscano (Direction of documentary as political collaboration)
4:00p – End-of-day conversation with Amanda
5:00p – Wrap Up

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Trained and graduated initially as a stage designer from The National School of Theater, Amanda Gutiérrez uses a range of media such as film and performance art to investigate the everyday life acoustic culture. Approaching these questions from a feminist perspective continues to be of special interest to Gutiérrez, who completed her MFA in Media and Performance Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently elaborating the academic dimension of her work as a Ph.D. student at Concordia University. Accordingly, these techniques also constitute the core of the pedagogical practice Gutiérrez has developed over a decade of teaching in educational settings such as NYU Abu Dhabi, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Rutgers University. Gutierrez is actively advocating listening practices while being one of the board of directors of the World Listening Project, formerly working with The Midwest Society of Acoustic Ecology, and currently as the scientific committee of the Red Ecología Acústica México. Currently, she is a research assistant at Concordia’s lab’s PULSE  and Acts of Listening Lab.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is a contemporary artist, researcher, writer and theorist. Working across diverse media, such as sound, text, and moving image, and incorporating various technologies such as sensors, AI, and Machine Learning, Chattopadhyay produces large-scale installations and live performance addressing urgent issues such as the climate crisis, human intervention in the environment and ecology, migration, race, and decoloniality. Conceptually, Chattopadhyay’s work inquires into the materiality, objecthood, site, and technological mediation of lived experiences, and considers the aspects of subjectivity, contemplation, mindfulness, and transcendence inherent in listening. His artistic practice is deeply committed to social and environmental activism, and intends to shift the emphasis from object to situation, and from immersion to discourse in the realm of sound and media arts as necessary actant. As an artist, Chattopadhyay is an attentive and (com)passionate listener of the world around him, endeavouring to connect the disparate resonances across the borders and cultures, past and present, tradition and hyper-modernity, through an activating practice advocating for reciprocity and equality in the contemporary societies.

Walis Johnson is a filmmaker, educator, walker/researcher interested in the intersection of documentary film and performance whose work documents the urban landscape through ethnographic film, oral history, and artist walking practice. She holds a BA in History from Williams College and an MFA from Hunter College, in Interactive Media and Advanced Documentary film. She has taught at Parsons School of Design and is currently a Culure Push Fellow in Utopian Practice.

Veronica Mockler was born in 1991 on unceded Indigenous Land, today known as Quebec City, in a franco-anglo family of Irish refugee and French settler lineage. She graduated with Distinction from Concordia University (BFA Studio Arts, 2015) in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal after completing her final year of studies in the Republic of Ireland. Veronica has since returned to Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal where she lives, listens, learns and works as a professional socially engaged artist. Mockler is currently a student researcher at Concordia University in the Acts of Listening Lab at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. Marginalized and working-class knowledge is at the centre of her practice in social pedagogy, non-fiction media art, oral history, and performance art. Her work has taken shape in exhibitions, publications, festival screenings, conferences, workshops, and within community, public and governing institutions, most often in Canada, with specific events in Uruguay, Germany, Scotland, the North of Ireland, and the United States.

Javier Toscano is a documentary filmmaker and a philosopher. His work has involved a continuous search to generate and collaborate with minorities, communities and groups with disabilities towards the production of narratives of self-affirmation and vital exploration. He has been a post-doc researcher in media politics in Paris and Berlin. He was a founding member of Laboratorio 060 (lab060.org, 2003-2013), an interdisciplinary team that worked around contemporary art topics. Together they won the first prize of the Best Art Practices Award (Bolzano, Italy, 2008) for their project Frontera, A sketch for the creation of a future society. He is also a founding member of Nerivela (www.nerivela.org), with whom he developed a project on the subjective reconstruction of communities as a form of social architecture that was presented at the Venice Biennale for Architecture 2016, Reporting from the Front. His latest documentary, Potentiae (2017), won different prizes in several film festivals, including the Golden Frog for Best Cinematography at Camerimage 2017 (Poland). He has also received the Prince Claus Fund for new media projects (Holland), the First Accésit Essay Prize from the University of Navarra (Spain), Semiotica’s Mouton d’Or Essay Award (Germany) and the National System for the Arts (Mexico), among others.

Hadley Austin’s work is rooted in historical research, social justice, and the natural world.  She is one half of Formidable Entities, and the director of Demon Mineral, for which she is a Redford Center Fellow, and Bay Area Video Coalition grantee. A published poet, she is also a Pushcart Nominee.

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Mar 4, 2022 at 10:00 am
Mar 6, 2022 at 5:00 pm
$332.50 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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