Professor Victoria Mapplebeck

Personal profile

Victoria Mapplebeck is a BAFTA award winning Director, artist and writer. She is also Professor in Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. Victoria has been commissioned to produce films and interactive artworks for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Film Four, Film London, Channel 4 and The Arts Council. She wrote and directed Channel 4’s first interactive documentary series, Smart Hearts, in which web cams streamed live from the subject’s homes for over 18 months.

Victoria’s research explores how interactive documentary has evolved since the late 90s. In 2014, Victoria wrote and directed TEXT ME, an award winning interactive arts project produced in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. TEXT ME is a live and online platform which creates an evolving and living archive in which users are encouraged to collect, curate and share stories from their digital past. TEXT ME won The Merging Media Prize for Best European Cross platform Project and The 2014 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’.  Text Me was also featured in Wired magazine and selected for University UK’s 20 Ideas for Life.

Over the last few years, Victoria has begun to specialise in smartphone production and making short form online video with impact.  In 2015, Victoria filmed and directed 160 Characters a smartphone short for Film London. Shot entirely on an iPhone 6, 160 Characters brings to life the secrets buried in a vintage Nokia. It won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Short of the Week Film Awards and was short listed for the Innovation category of the 2016 AHRC Research in Film Awards.  When the film launched online it received a Vimeo Staff pick and has since gathered over a million online views. 

In 2017, Victoria shot and directed Missed Call,  a smartphone short which explored the relationship between Victoria and her teenage son Jim as they work out how to reconnect with his father who’s been absent for a decade. Missed Call was the first commissioned short film to be shot on the iPhone X and  won a 2019 BAFTA in The Best Short Form Film Category and The Best Documentary Short award at the 2019 Broadcast Digital Awards.  In 2018, Missed Call won the Social Media Short Award at the 2018 AHRC Research in Film AwardsMissed Call has received 735,000 views across YouTube, Facebook Watch and other video platforms

In 2017, Victoria won a place at Ravensboune VR UK Betalab, a one week lab designed to test and experience the latest advances in VR, AR, MR, 360 filmmaking and binaural sound. Victoria is also Media Arts's Equality and Diversity Champion . As part of this role she is currently a member of the steering committee of Visions for Women in VR, which seeks to address the gender imbalance in the creative industries. 

Victoria's  recent multi platform project The Waiting Room, is a Film and VR experience exploring her breast cancer journey from diagnosis to recovery. In January 2019, Victoria was awarded a major EPSRC  Immersive Documentary Encounters Commission, to create The Waiting Room:VR, a 16 minute VR  experience designed to tour festivals , exhibitions and hospitals in 2019/20.   The Waiting Room; VR  prototype was previewed as part of the Virtual Realities: Documentary Encounters Project showcase at Bristol Watershed Gallery in June 2019. The Waiting Room VR premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival and won The IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling . The Waiting Room Film and VR project also featured on BBC Click.

The Waiting Room  multi platform project also includes a 30 minute smartphone short film,  commissioned by Guardian Films. The Waiting Room smartphone short launched on The Guardian website in June 2019. Read more about the project here.


In January 2019 , Victoria also won a  Women Film and TV Network development bursary to develop, her feature documentary, Motherboard. MOTHERBOARD brings to life the stories archived in the phones Victoria has  owned since 2000. From a Nokia 8310 to the iPhone X, Motherboard will uncover the messages, videos and photos that create a digital family album that spans nearly two decades

Victoria writes regularly about smartphone production and VR for The Guardian, 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 has given lectures and keynotes at The Banff New Media Institute, Sheffield Doc Fest, IDFA, The V and A and is interviewed regularly for ITV, BBC and and Sky news on developments in digital archives and interactive storytelling.   Films, articles and more info at the link below:


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    Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Festival/exhibition

  • ITV News

    Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Participation in TV programme

  • The Sunday Times

    Activity: OtherPublic engagement, outreach and knowledge exchange - Newspaper/magazine

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