The Bartlett Development Planning Unit




29 April 2022

ReFramed is an action-research project led by DPU-UCL in collaboration with Indonesian NGO Kota Kita and Peruvian Urban Development Institute-CENCA. The aim of the project is to develop a framework for interrogating and developing collective narrative construction and visual outputs produced by urban dwellers to enhance civic urban media.  

The project seeks to advance collective narrative construction and aims to develop an ethical and practical framework for working remotely on visual outputs produced by urban dwellers in low-income neighbourhoods in collaboration with partners in Solo (Indonesia) and Lima (Peru).


COVID-19 has increased the uptake of digital technologies by informal dwellers with the possibility of producing ‘cellphilms’ and ‘digital stories’ that can be harnessed for strategic ends. At the same time, for researchers and practitioners alike, the pandemic has hastened the experimentation with remote visual methodologies, but without the critical consideration of how these methodologies might recreate or exasperate extractive approaches. The pressure to find ways to study context without physical presence means that researchers revert to the disembodied gaze provided by the camera and transfer textual and visual material that can be analysed and repackaged elsewhere.

Calls for co-production of knowledge are all too good to counteract some of these problems. However, co-production relies heavily on being in the context, working with people and being able to collaborate. Questions around how we support communities to devise strategies for self-representation, how we enact co-production remotely and how we conduct ethical research are more urgent than ever at this time and beyond the pandemic.

This research seeks to advance collective narrative construction through remote documentaries. It will examine the contextual and situated ethics of visual material and different documentary styles together with inhabitants. By doing so, it aims to develop an ethical and practical framework for working remotely on visual outputs produced by urban dwellers in low-income neighbourhoods. The activities proposed include a series of workshops with experts and practitioners, online training sessions in storyboarding and video-making, and the production, screening and evaluation of two documentary films. The films will focus on collective action generated in the light of COVID, with the precise angle chosen by participants. 


DPU: Dr Rita Lambert, Dr Ignacia Ossul-Vermehren and Alex Macfalane

CENCA: Arq. Carlos Escalante Estrada, Grace Ramos, Katherine Quiroz

Kota Kita: Nina Asterina, Fildzah Husna Amalina, Kirana Putri Prastika



Online dialogues on visual narrative construction launch DPU Pilot Project “ReFRAMED”


“When there’s a will, there’s a way!”: Interrogating collective narrative production and participatory documentary making in Solo, Indonesia
By Fildzah Husna Amalina, Kirana Putri Prastika, Ignacia Ossul-Vermehren