2011 John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Prizewinners

Vendors sell fried potatoes and onions, called pakoras, outside of the Kali Mandir, a Hindu temple in Jampalur, a small town in the state of Bihar, India. Photograph by Priyanka Chaurasia, a prizewinner in 2010.

Established in 1989 by the Center for Documentary Studies, the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards are named for the noted scholar John Hope Franklin, the late professor emeritus of history at Duke University, in recognition of his lifetime accomplishments and his dedication to students and teaching. CDS makes these awards to undergraduates attending North Carolina’s Triangle-area universities to help them conduct summer-long documentary fieldwork projects. Student applicants should demonstrate an interest in documentary studies and possess the talent and skills necessary to conduct an intensive documentary project. These skills may include oral history, photography, film/video, nonfiction or creative writing, audio, or active interest in community service programs.

Read more about the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards

This year’s winners are:

Dorje Dondrub (Duke University)
Dorje Dondrub is producing a documentary video about the aftermath of a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Kyegu, a town in Yushu prefecture in eastern Tibet, in early 2010. The Tibetan government is working to rebuild the town, but in the meantime, surviving residents have moved their homes, schools, shops, restaurants, and other basic infrastructures to tents outside of the city. Many students have been transferred to schools in Chinese cities, and residents fear that a generation will lose their Tibetan language. Dorje followed a relocated family as they waited for the government to help rebuild their demolished city, renegotiated their land rights, and managed their emotional and spiritual responses to tragedy.

Shining Li (Duke University)
Shining Li is producing an audio documentary about Writopia Lab, a creative writing nonprofit that holds workshops, readings, and other events for kids interested in the literary arts. Her work explores the importance of arts education to the young writers who participate in Writopia Lab, especially as American education policy increasingly emphasizes science and math in the classroom.

Jonathan Pattishall (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Jonathan Pattishall is documenting the ongoing conflict over beach access on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. His project consists of a series of audio interviews with people involved on all sides of the conflict: environmental groups interested in the protection of endangered species; beach access proponents, including business owners, sports fishers, and off-road recreational vehicle drivers; and the National Park Service, which has been implementing its own temporary, court-ordered management plan to close off sensitive spots that provide some of the best surf fishing on the East Coast.

Eddie Wu (Duke University)
Eddie Wu is using photography and audio to document the lives of a few graduating seniors at Madison High School in Madison County, North Carolina, a mostly rural and mountainous part of the state. His project will follow young adults in a transition period in their lives, and will be a survey of summertime activities, as well as a look ahead to their futures. Eddie has previously documented the experience of students using the county’s school bus system.

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