Ms Victoria Mapplebeck

Personal profile

Victoria is an award winning director, writer and academic. For the last two decades Victoria’s research has explored and developed production techniques in interactive media. Since the early 90s, she has written, directed and produced a large body of films for cinema, TV and the web. She has received numerous multiplatform commissions from, ARTE, Film Four, Channel 4, Film London, London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange and Creativeworks London.

In 1999, Victoria wrote, filmed and directed Smart Hearts, Channel 4's first interactive documentary series in which web cams streamed live from the subjects homes for over 18 months. Smart Hearts explored the impact of interactive documentary for director, subject and audience and was nominated for a New Media Indie Award in 2000.  Her research explores how multi platform documentary has evolved since the late 90s, charting the evolution of creative technologies, interactivity and digital culture.

Victoria uses creative writing, film, photography and interactive media to examine how our emotions are mediated through mobile media. Her research begins at the interface between emotion and technology, exploring how emotions change when mediated by mobile phones. How do we use mobile media to remember and to forget, to capture, store, retrieve and ultimately share our digital memories? Situated in a body of research that explores our relationship with technology, Victoria's research raises important questions about the nature of our digital selves, relationships and archives.

Victoria is interviewed regularly for BBC and Sky news on developments in mobile media and has had features published in The Guardian, The Observer, Dox magazine, The Huffington Post and The Conversation  She has also written a chapter on Smart Hearts for Reality TV: How Real is Real? – Hodder and Stoughton. This essay explored the development of interactive documentary and technological storytelling and was later republished in The Tabloid Culture Reader - (McGraw Hill 2008)

Victoria’s recent Film London short film, 160 Characters is an adaptation of her illustrated memoir which brings to life the secrets buried in a vintage Nokia. A story that unfolds in just 100 texts and tells the story of how two people, meet, date, break up and deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Shot on an iPhone, this hybrid documentary makes a unique contribution to an evolving and innovative mode of smartphone filmmaking and interactive storytelling. 160 Characters was officially selected for the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, The 2016 London Short Film Festival, This is England in Rouen and The Standing Rock International Shorts Festival in Ohio, in which it won The Juried Prize Award for Best Short Film. It was recently shortlisted for the Innovation category of the 2016 AHRC Research in Film Awards and launched on Short of the Week in November 2016. Shortly after 160 Characters received a Vimeo Staff pick

160 Characters also won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Short of the Week 2017 Film Awards and premiered at several London Picturehouse cinemas thoughout June 2017. Since its recent launch on Facebook and YouTube the festival, cinema, gallery and online audience for 160 Characters has been over 700,000

Victoria was recently interviewed on the evolution of 160 Characters by The Video Consortium, a ‘creative community of the world's leading video journalists and non-fiction filmmakers. The Video Consortium promote and foster socially-conscious, thought-provoking, nonfiction storytelling for a new era of media’. 

Victoria wrote, directed and curated TEXT ME an award winning interactive multiplatform arts project produced in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle. TEXT ME explores the wealth of digital stories, buried in our gadgets both old and new. From the smartphones we scrutinise early in the morning and late at night, to the discarded phones we own, once precious and now obsolete. TEXT ME provides an opportunity to create a dialogue with a large audience, helping them to collect, curate and share the stories of their digital past.

In 2014,  TEXT ME won The Pixel Lab Prize. The Pixel Lab, ‘Supports the film and media industries in their transition to a digital age, specialising in new ways to engage with audiences across multiple platforms’. It won The Merging Media Prize for Best European Cross Platform Project, at Power to the Pixel and was featured in Wired magazine. TEXT ME was also selected for University UK’s 20 Ideas for Life,one of 20 national research projects, which celebrated ‘the impact universities have on everyday lives in the UK and beyond, including the value and importance of their world leading research’.

TEXT ME  launched at BALTIC on Valentine’s Day in 2016, followed by a series of workshops and live events at BALTIC during Summer 2016. The final six week exhibition of TEXT ME opened at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art on November 4th 2016.

Victoria’s work as a Documentary consultant has included an advisory role on Tony Garnett’s and Amy Jenkins’s BBC2 Feature drama, This Life +10, and she has also been a jury member of The Royal Television Society documentary series awards and The Banff New Media Awards. Victoria has previously lectured at The London Film School, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal College of Art, The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Banff New Media Institute and The London Film School. 

Victoria is the Programme Director of the MA in Documentary Practice at Royal Holloway and teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students. She also supervises practice based PhDs.


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