What’s a Cellphilm?

Integrating Mobile Phone Technology into Participatory Visual Research and Activism

  • Katie MacEntee
  • Casey Burkholder
  • Joshua Schwab-Cartas

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
    1. Katie Macentee, Casey Burkholder, Joshua Schwab-Cartas
      Pages 1-15
  2. Cellphilms from the Professional to the Personal

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Claudia Mitchell, Naydene De Lange, Relebohile Moletsane
      Pages 19-34
    3. Caitlin Watson, Shanade Barnabas, Keyan Tomaselli
      Pages 35-49
    4. Joshua Schwab-Cartas
      Pages 51-65
    5. Vivian Wenli Lin
      Pages 67-83
  3. Cellphilming as Pedagogy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Sean Wiebe, Claire Caseley Smith
      Pages 87-102
    3. Ashley Demartini, Claudia Mitchell
      Pages 103-118
    4. Bernard Chan, Bronson Chau, Diana Ihnatovych, Natalie Schembri
      Pages 119-134
  4. Cellphilm Dissemination and Audiences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 135-135
    2. Casey Burkholder
      Pages 153-168
  5. Cellphilm Technologies and Aesthetics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 169-169
    2. Joshua Schwab-Cartas, Katie Macentee, Casey Burkholder
      Pages 199-209
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 211-219

About this book


What’s a Cellphilm? explores cellphone video production for its contributions to participatory visual research. There is a rich history of integrating participants’ videos into community-based research and activism. However, a reliance on camcorders and digital cameras has come under criticism for exacerbating unequal power relations between researchers and their collaborators. Using cellphones in participatory visual research suggests a new way forward by working with accessible, everyday technology and integrating existing media practices. Cellphones are everywhere these days. People use mobile technology to visually document and share their lives. This new era of democratised media practices inspired Jonathan Dockney and Keyan Tomaselli to coin the term cellphilm (cellphone + film). The term signals the coming together of different technologies on one handheld device and the emerging media culture based on people’s use of cellphones to create, share, and watch media.
Chapters present practical examples of cellphilm research conducted in Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, the Netherlands and South Africa. Together these contributions consider several important methodological questions, such as: Is cellphilming a new research method or is it re-packaged participatory video? What theories inform the analysis of cellphilms? What might the significance of frequent advancements in cellphone technology be on cellphilms? How does our existing use of cellphones inform the research process and cellphilm aesthetics? What are the ethical dimensions of cellphilm use, dissemination, and archiving? These questions are taken up from interdisciplinary perspectives by established and new academic contributors from education, Indigenous studies, communication, film and media studies.


Cellphilms Cellphones Methodology Mobile Phone Participatory Video Participatory Visual Methods

Editors and affiliations

  • Katie MacEntee
    • 1
  • Casey Burkholder
    • 2
  • Joshua Schwab-Cartas
    • 3
  1. 1.McGill UniversityCanada
  2. 2.McGill UniversityCanada
  3. 3.McGill UniversityCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information SensePublishers-Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2016
  • Publisher Name SensePublishers, Rotterdam
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Online ISBN 978-94-6300-573-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site