‘Truth’, its connotations, implications and forms, has been explored at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), as the central theme of its third annual internal research conference.

Opening with a welcome from Professor Emma Hunt, Deputy Vice Chancellor at AUB, visiting academic Dr Nea Uhrlich began her keynote address looking at animated truth; examining how animation is increasingly used in documentaries to express reality.

Dr Uhrich, Lecturer in the Department of Arts at Ben Gurion University in Israel, said: “The problem with truth is that it’s down to belief and persuasion, and that’s why what I’m most interested in is how the images that engage with non-fiction are changing, and what makes us believe them.”

AUB’s Professor Paul Wenham-Clarke spoke about how documentary photography could be manipulated, leading to a manipulation of truth, as well as how news photography could be being moving more towards the fine art world. The Professor of Photography, who leads AUB’s MA Photography course, also stressed how mainstream broadcasters like the BBC were striving for authenticity by using news photographers like Martin Parr to shoot their channel idents.

Cinematographer and Senior Lecturer for BA (Hons) Film Production, Witold Stok, presented ‘Twists and Turns’, a part-biographic approach examining how documentary had offered an “under-the-radar contestation of a communist regime” in Poland, with the potential to “condense reality without distortion”.

During the afternoon, Dr Matt Nicholls, Lecturer in Theory for BA (Hons) Visual Effects (VFX), looked at digital visual effects and how these are being used in US independent cinema, and Dr Patti Gaal-Holmes, Senior Lecturer in BA (Hons) Film Production, offered vignettes of ‘photofilmic processes’ that open up dialogues between the past and present.

Eleanor Dupont, Lecturer in VFX at AUB, illustrated how visual effects could further the perceptions of realism in the filmmaking process, with Andy Weir, Senior Lecturer for BA (Hons) Fine Art, closing proceedings by delving into ‘deep time futures’; and his work marking sites of nuclear waste for future generations.

Professor Emma Hunt, Deputy Vice Chancellor at AUB, said: “We’ve got lots to celebrate in terms of our developing international research culture, and in 2020 we will be making our Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission.

She added: “The research environment, conversation and exchange of ideas make events like this so important to us. Our creative learning research plan includes the importance of strengthening our research environment and culture.”