Call for Papers: What’s a Cellphilm?



What’s a Cellphilm?: Integrating Mobile Phone Technology into Participatory Arts Based Research and Activism

Book edited by Katie MacEntee, Joshua Schwab-Cartas and Casey Burkholder, McGill University

Deadline for Abstracts: April  1st, 2015

Deadline for Full Submissions: July 1st, 2015

This edited collection will address cellphilming as an emerging Participatory Arts-based research methodology. Cellphilms are videos made on a cellphone and considered by some as a promising–yet still emerging–research methodology. Cellphilms are easily disseminated from cellphone-to-cellphone, screened at community events, and/or uploaded onto various social media sites. Cellphilms democratize the participatory research process while raising new and questionable ethical concerns about the researcher-researched relationship, dissemination, and consent, among others (Mitchell, Moletsane, de Lange, 2014).

This book aims to bring leading scholars and activists together in order to stimulate discussion and propel the theorizing and practice of cellphilming as a Participatory Arts-based method.

The edited volume seeks contributions from established and new scholars working from any disciplineaddressing diverse contexts and geographical locations, including:

– Communications;
– Community activism;
– Education;
– Geography;
– Indigenous Studies;
– Media Studies;
– Medicine and Public Health;
– Participatory Arts Based Methods;
– Visual Studies; and
– Youth Studies.

Chapters could discuss a range of issues related to the development of cellphilming as methodology. For example, authors might wish to consider:

  • How might employing existing community technologies, such as cellphones, shift the researcher/participant dynamic in Participatory Visual Research (PVR)? What might happen to the role of the researcher?
  • How do you foresee the integration of cellphone technology influencing PVR as a methodology? What new ethical concerns will it raise?
  • How might mobile technology promote learning on the land?
  • How might cellphilming be used to integrate indigenous traditional practices into the process of knowledge transfer from elders to youth?
  • How might the integration of digital technology respond to commitments to democratize the participatory research process?
  • What are the ethical considerations associated with the integration of cellphone technology into research practices?
  • How might employing cellular technologies respond to the dynamics of intersectionality in research?

Submission Guidelines

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers from contributors who use cellphilms in research and/or activism. The collection will be in English.

Deadline for Abstracts: April 1st , 2015

Content: 200-400 words abstract with title, author’s name, a short 100-word bio with affiliation, and contact information by April 1st, 2015.

Invitations to submit a full paper will be sent to selected authors by May 1st, 2015.

Deadline for Full Draft Submissions: July 1st, 2015

Full papers should be between 5500-7000 words, including references and end notes.

Final acceptance is conditional upon peer-review assessments.

The final papers, inclusive of revisions following peer-review, will be due in the fall of 2015. The anticipated publication date for the collection is the fall of 2016.

Please send proposals to Katie MacEntee: AND Casey Burkholder:


2013 Festival Winners

International submission:

Bridging Communities

Country of origin: South Africa

Created by: Sonwabise, April, Zethu Jiyana, Thina Kamnqa, Bongiwe Maome,  Elethu, Ntseth

Cellphilm description:

We are a group of ‘Girl-led from the ground up’ young activists studying at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. What we understand about ‘Bridging Communities’ is finding out what our community is lacking and where can we help out to try and have better communities where we care for each other, lend a helping hand and make a difference.Our cellphilm is about young community activists who help in their community by finding which household or citizen needs assistance, especially with old people who may not have enough people to help them.In this certain cellphilm we broadcast some of the areas where we help older people by cleaning for them, fetching water, washing clothes for them and painting. In this cellphilm we also point out that we got sponsor for paint from a paint company, meaning there are doors that are willing to open and help out, we just need to ask.We believe that this cellphilm festival will touch people’s lives and show them you do not need money to do a difference but with your hands you can do something for your community and make a difference and it also taught us cellphilm making techniques.

Local/Canadian submissions:

1) On the Number One

Country of Origin: Canada

Created by  Casey Burkholder

Cellphilm description:

This cellphilm contains elements from my visual diary when I worked a split shift teaching English to “New Canadians” at a non-profit in Calgary, Alberta (2010-2011).  During this year, I managed to take the bus 780 times (or three times a day, five days a week), each trip lasting between 45 minutes and an hour, traffic dependent. It was pretty miserable.  But, during the trips, I took to drawing, and it helped to pass the time. I drew all elements in this cellphilm by hand over that year during those many bus rides, and took all photos with my cellphone today, in 2013.  Then, I edited the photos in iMovie (also today).

And in Joint second place

2) All hope

Country of origin: Canada

Created by Nick Dangeli

Cellphilm description:

My submission was inspired by Richard Van Camp’s “Lesser Blessed” and a few other of his short films that I witnessed at Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival 2013 in Vancouver. I liked how he made the audience interpret how they see the story and its meaning, rather than telling them what it meant. As you can see in my film I encourage the viewers to find their own meaning to the story. For me the message is that no matter how much a person goes through they can always find hope in the end. That’s just one of the many ways to read this film.

2) Intercultural Recipe Share: Canadian-esque Egg & Tempura Don Bori

Country of origin: Canada

Created by Laurel Hart

Cellphilm description:

This recipe was re-invented following a visit to a traditional style Japanese Izakaya on the top floor of a modern building in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighbourhood. The dish was a simple rice bowl with egg and tempura pieces, but was somehow magically delicious! This version is super fast to make, which is useful for hard working people. 
When my high-school Vancouver friend and fellow tech-artist Vanessa stepped off the plane from Denmark to visit me in Montreal, I put together this quick filling treat for us. Strangely, I had anticipated her enjoyment of this Asian-inspired food prior to her arrival, being that we are from the West Coast. She asked if I could send her the recipe, and I saw this as the perfect occasion for my 60 second cellphilm entry on the “bridging communities” theme. 
Also, in the video I forgot to put the tempura pieces in! Tenkasu is available pre-made. Egg & Tempura Donbori Recipe.

Ingredients for two: 4 eggs,
freshly made rice,
tougarashi (Japanese powdered chili pepper spice),
rāyu (Japanese chili oil),
Tenkasu (tempura bits),
black sesame seeds
soy sauce

bonus additions: ripped nori (good for iron), sesame oil, other spices  and sometimes lemon pepper. Layer rice, egg, sprinkle toppings and season to taste!