2011-2012 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows

The Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s ballroom dance scene is a locus for collective memory, social organization, and identity building. Photographs by Jennifer Carpenter, a 2010—11 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow.

Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of Lewis Hine, the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program connects the talents of young documentarians with the resources and needs of organizations serving children and their communities around the world. This year’s fellowships have been awarded to Indaia Whitcombe and Christopher Fowler.

Indaia Whitcombe, a graduate in sociocultural anthropology from Bennington College in Vermont, brings to the Hine fellowship a strong commitment to and impressive experience with humanitarian causes. Over the last six years, Indaia has helped educate young people about HIV/AIDS in Kenya, worked with the Hopi through a Headstart program in Arizona, conducted fieldwork with Berber agropasturalists in Morocco, and worked as a teacher in Namibia and, most recently, in India. She has brought her photographic eye to all of these experiences. Over the last year, she has been working toward her certificate in documentary studies at Duke, concentrating on photography and audio. Indaia will work with the South Boston Boys and Girls Club. She says, “This fellowship would in every way support and contribute to my future goals: to create documentary work that is concerned with the betterment of humanity; illuminate issues that have been overlooked or unrealized; and in doing so, to encourage necessary action for change.”

Christopher Fowler, who received a master’s degree in folklore this spring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has taken many writing, photography, and audio courses at CDS over the last two years. Having grown up in rural eastern North Carolina, an area heavily impacted by the hog industry, Chris focused his master’s thesis on the James family, a third-generation African American family of farmers, hoping that their example may help inspire a more responsible, equitable, and sustainable model of food production.

Due to the quality and depth of his work, Chris was invited to be a teaching assistant for Lehman Brady professor Mike Wiley and CDS director Tom Rankin. Chris will travel to Boston to work with the Food Project, an organization that engages young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. Chris says, “Most of my work thus far has focused on rural and southern issues. The Hine fellowship offers me the opportunity to test the waters of a northeastern, urban environment. I believe that being pushed out of one’s comfort zone is imperative for intellectual and creative growth.”

This is the sixth year that an anonymous donor represented by the Philanthropic Initiative in Boston has supported Lewis Hine Fellows to document the stories of organizations meeting the region’s pressing social needs.

Learn more about the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program

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