| Leonardo/ISASTwith Arizona State University

Sapna Ramnani

Podcaster and authorat University College Dublin
Greater London,
United Kingdom
Focus area: Digital Art, New Media

Dr Sapna Ramnani is a professional documentary filmmaker, scholar, human rights activist and author living in London. She conducted her practice-based PhD ith the IDRC in the IDCTI Phd Programme, under the supervision of Prof L Goodman and Dr Mick Donegan. Her thesis focussed on:
'Gaining Independence in Documentary Production through Assistive Technology: On-camera Interview Techniques Developed by, with and for People with Complex Disability'
The primary focus of this study was to examine methods to enable film-makers with communication impairments to take a more active role both in front of and behind the camera. This could potentially provide a voice for people with disabilities who are currently misrepresented and under-represented in the media. Analysis from most other researchers observing people with disabilities is based upon their observations or conclusions from what participants told them. Dr Ramnani's methodology orientated her research to her perspective as a disabled interviewer, which provided reflexivity.Reactions to the interviewer from participants was recorded The research was analysed using an intuitive approach, catering to the specific requirements of the interviewer, rather than a strictly auto-ethnographical approach.
The method was successfully applied to interview trials. This led to informative, relevant, deep and interesting conversational interviews of broadcast quality. The practice of the PhD led to overcoming of the limitations of the author's disability. This methodology could potentially help other film-makers and researchers in identifying the contextual challenges within an academic framework, to find their own practical and credible solutions.
Her award-winning work has recently been enhanced by the publication of her book, The Returning Silence:https://thereturningsilence.com/