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Spring 2013 Certificate in Documentary Arts Students Present Final Projects on Friday, May 17

Eleven continuing education students in the Certificate in Documentary Arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies will present their final projects to the public and receive their certificates. A reception will follow at the Center for Documentary Studies. The students and their projects are described below.

Certificate in Documentary Arts Project Presentations
Friday, May 17,  6:30 p.m.
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
2001 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina

Reception to follow
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina

The CDS Continuing Education program offers courses in the documentary arts to people of all ages and backgrounds. Some choose to enroll in the certificate program, culminating in the Final Seminar in Documentary Studies, where students finish and present a substantial documentary work—photography, film and video, audio, multimedia, and writing projects that often move out into the world in the form of exhibits, installations, screenings, websites, and more. This spring’s final seminar was taught by folklorist, filmmaker, and longtime CDS instructor Nancy Kalow.

JT Blatty
Fish Town (audio and photography)
In the remaining fishing communities of Louisiana, marshlands once mirrored a landscape rich with oak and cypress, divided by a winding road running parallel to a bayou: On one side, fishermen docked their boats, and on the other side made homes with their families. Over the years the countryside has transformed along with the industry: Skeleton trees and empty lots sit between fenced-off industrial plants, and the bayous have become ship graveyards. “You shoulda seen it,” Blatty’s interviewees told her. “This was God’s country.”



Terry Grunwald
Wait! Breathe! Sing! (video)
This profile of  Katherine Kaufman Posner offers a glimpse into the power and beauty of opera, an art form currently struggling to find an audience among younger generations. Posner was the youngest-ever winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 1964, at the age of twenty. She is now a sought-after voice teacher.

Grunwald KKP-600


Christine Harrigan
Chuck (video)
Chuck Negron was one of the lead singers of the popular 1970’s rock group Three Dog Night. A lifestyle of wealth, excess, and “success” led to heroin addiction and eventual homelessness. Hitting rock bottom, sick and nearly dead, Chuck Negron found the strength to become clean and sober, happier today at age seventy than he was when he was was young, rich, and famous.

Harrigan M1-600


Jenny Morgan
Pray, Baby, Pray: A Palestine Mix Tape (audio)
Drawing on the writings and life stories of two Palestinian woman writers in their twenties—Tala Abu Rahmeh and Linah Alsaafin, both living in Ramallah, the West Bank—Pray, Baby, Pray explores identity, family, and life and death under occupation for an emerging generation of Palestinian women.

Morgan ReHumanize Linah and Baba-600


Nick Pironio
Urban Chickens (photography)
Whatever their reasons—eggs, fertilizer source, learning tool for children—owners of “city chickens” believe that “his or her chickens are treated better than those raised in corporate farms,” says Pironio. This exploration of the urban chicken-raising subculture offers insights into the culture of “local” as a counterpoint to the global economy.

Pironio UrbanChickens_Flora-600


Donna Kay Smith
I Think About That Sometimes (video)
Our ideas about people with mental illnesses come from the media and from professionals, seldom from the people themselves. I Think About That Sometimes lets one woman share her story about living with mental illness, for ultimately the ability to tell one’s own story shapes what others understand, revealing one’s truths and dispelling myths. “And only when we are able to hear the stories of others like us do we know that we are not alone—that we are, after all, normal,” says Smith.

Smith DK Dawn Still


Maggie Smith
Benevolence Farm Documentary Project (audio and photography)
This series of multimedia portraits is conducted in collaboration with Benevolence Farm, a transitional living program on a working farm for women leaving prison in North Carolina. Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the U.S. Their experiences demonstrate the need for a multifaceted approach to prison reform and post-incarceration support: an overwhelming majority are survivors of sexual abuse, suffer from substance abuse, and are unmarried mothers of minor children.

Smith M darla-atkinson-print


Lynda-Marie Taurasi
In Union Strong Success Is Sure  (audio and photography)
From 1989 to 2003, a civil war in Liberia left a quarter million dead and a devastated economy. In 2005, democratic elections were held; the new administration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pledged to rebuild Liberian schools and improve child literacy. Taurasi’s multimedia project documents a teacher-training program at two primary schools in rural Liberia.



Julie Thomson
In Search of the Marble Donut (audio)
This project “documents my search for a marble donut like that one I had as a child at the now-closed Anastasia’s Donuts in Okemos, Michigan,” Thomson says. Her quest takes her to donut shops in Michigan, North Carolina, and San Francisco, accompanied by her parents, her partner Spott, and friends. To hear the full version of this documentary, or to learn about Thomson’s other donut projects, visit www.donutgrrl.wordpress.com.

Thomsonmarble donut serres donuts anna grant


Nora E. Weatherby
Over the Dancing Flames (audio)
The stories in this audio essay include written prose exploring Weatherby’s evolving perspective of home, family, and loss, and oral history interviews compiled from a series of recordings detailing the experiences of her mother and her mother’s two older sisters. “This piece is a conversation between generations, touching on memory and myth within family stories and how they interact with the sense of place,” Weatherby says.

Weatherby Tipi


Robert Marshall Wells
The Art of Persuasion (video)
This documentary explores Pi Kappa Delta, the national speech and debate society now celebrating a century of helping educate students, broaden minds, and transform lives. Former Texas governor Ann Richards, broadcasting pioneer Edward R. Murrow, and actor Spencer Tracy are just a few of the prominent Americans who participated as members of the society during their college careers.

Wells Oxford debating team

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