Anytown, USA is a class at the Center for Documentary Studies offered annually through our Continuing Education program, in which students produce and edit videos related to a small town in North Carolina. This year’s class, taught by filmmaker Randolph Benson, focused on the town of Scotland Neck, and each of the eleven students created a short film on a topic of their choice.
Students will screen their films at the newly renovated Power Plant building on the historic American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham; on May 10, an outdoor screening was held in Scotland Neck—beautiful weather, well attended.
Friday, May 24, 7 p.m.
Full Frame Theater, Power Plant building
American Tobacco Campus, 318 Blackwell St.
Durham, North Carolina
The 2013 Anytown, USA videos will be posted for viewing at a later date; to watch the 2012 videos, click here. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A self-described “celebration of photography, created by photographers, for those who share a passion for the still image,” the annual LOOK3 Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph takes over downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, for “three days of peace, love, and photography.” This year’s event (Thursday, June 13–Saturday, June 15) includes artist conversations, exhibits, outdoor projections, book signings, parties, and workshops. Visiting artists include world-renowned photographers such as Richard Misrach, Carrie Mae Weems, and Josef Koudelka, to name just a few.
Special professional and creative learning and networking opportunities include Education Week, portfolio reviews, and Adobe Lightroom courses. Center for Documentary Studies publishing and awards director Alexa Dilworth is one of this year’s portfolio reviewers. For more information, click here.
Passes and tickets go quickly, and register now to ensure your spot in a workshop, class, or portfolio review: look3.org.
First-time filmmaker Angela Alford has been garnering lots of praise (ESPN.com and Huffington Post, among many other admirers) for the documentary that she started as her final project in our Certificate in Documentary Arts program. Granny’s Got Game follows a senior women’s basketball team in North Carolina—seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies who battle physical limitations and skepticism to keep doing what they love (for two decades and counting) as they compete for another National Senior Games championship. Watch the trailer in this Huffington Post story.
Granny’s Got Game
One-night only screening
Monday, May 20, 7 p.m.
Colony Theater, 5438 Six Forks Rd
Raleigh, North Carolina
Tickets available here
Angela Alford is a former software engineer and “will forever be a basketball player” (Vanderbilt University and USA Basketball).
Co-presented by the Center for Documentary Studies and the Hinge Literary Center, Professor Diablo’s True Revue is a collaborative performance series showcasing artists—writers, musicians, visual artists, and others—who make use of documentary ideas, methods, and impulses in the creation of their work.
Following five full house performances since its launch in the spring of 2012, the True Revue returns club Casbah to dig through arrowheads, love, and weather stations in a one-time event that explores the theme of “Lost and Found” with biologist and artist Courtney Fitzpatrick, songwriter/musician Melissa Swingle, photographer Leah Sobsey, and interdisciplinary artist Jane D. Marsching.
Professor Diablo’s True Revue VI: “Lost and Found”
Tuesday, May 28; doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
1007 W. Main St., Durham, North Carolina
Tickets: $7 in advance, $10 at door. Click here to purchase.
Courtney Fitzpatrick’s undergraduate training was in visual art, and she taught photography at New York City’s Hetrick-Martin Institute before returning to her original interest in evolutionary biology and animal behavior, research that has been supported by Duke University, the National Science Foundation, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Leakey Foundation. Her collection of nonfiction essays and photographs, Maji Moto: Dispatches from a Drought, emerged from seventeen months in Kenya studying primate reproductive biology in the wild. Fitzpatrick is a post-doctoral fellow at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.
Jane D. Marsching is an interdisciplinary artist who explores our past, present, and future human impact on the environ ment through collaborative research- based practices with scientists, educators, kite builders, meteorologists, architects, and musicians, among others. The author of Far Field: Digital Culture, Climate Change and the Poles , Marsching is an associate professor and Sustainability Fellow at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Victor McSurely collaborated on her NOAA Webcam piece featured in Professor Diablo’s True Revue.
Leah Sobsey is an artist who works in traditional, digital, and alternative-process photography, mixed media installations, and public art, exploring memory and the notion of collections as they relate to personal and public identities. Sobsey has exhibited nationally in galleries, museums, and public spaces, and her work is held in private and public collections across the country. Cofounder of the Visual History Collaborative, her current work includes Collections, a photographic series on specimens from the National Parks Museum collections, and Bull City Summer, a collaborative documentary project that explores the Durham Bulls.
Melissa Swingle is a songwriter who has performed, toured, and recorded with her bands Trailer Bride and the Moaners. She recently has been performing with Melissa and the Swinglers and is at work on a solo record. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Mississippi and in Ivory Coast, West Africa, she has toured all over the U.S. with Neko Case, the Mountain Goats, M. Ward, Drive-By-Truckers, and Calexico, and has opened for Wanda Jackson and Hasil Atkins. Swingle is a multi-instrumentalist who plays the singing-saw like no one else and just recorded saw tracks in the studio with Dexter Romweber for his next release.
Originally published on the Duke Today website:
She begins her appointment on July 1. Hogan will be only the third director of CDS, which was founded in 1989 as the first university-affiliated institution in the United States dedicated solely to the legacy and continuing practice of the documentary arts tradition.
“The arrival of Wesley Hogan signals the next phase in CDS’s outstanding development,” said Provost Peter Lange, Duke’s chief academic officer. “She will bring the qualities of an outstanding documentary artist, experienced teacher and scholar and leader of documentary projects to the directorship, furthering CDS’s contributions to the Durham, national and international communities, and to the teaching and service mission of Duke and the passions of our students.”
Laurie Patton, dean of arts and sciences at Duke, also praised Hogan’s qualifications to lead CDS. ”Wesley Hogan brings all the skills needed for this position: a great scholarly record in the archive and in the field, a deep sense of public scholarship and a long-term commitment to Duke,” Patton said. “We are delighted she will be joining us to bring her own intellectual vibrancy and creativity to leading the Center for Documentary Studies.”
Hogan, who has a Ph.D. and master’s degree in U.S. history from Duke, is currently a professor at Virginia State University, a historically black college where she has taught since 2003. Hogan was co-director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at VSU for three years and led the Petersburg Civil Rights History community project for more than five years, during which she “witnessed firsthand the crucial importance of documentary expression to the university curriculum. Not only did documentary fieldwork provide rich experiential education for the students, it also highlighted the value of non-traditional expertise,” Hogan said. “Once we learned what ordinary people had done, it recast our understanding of who and what mattered in the civil rights movement. And when we published our findings, it gave people a new sense of what the Petersburg community was capable of. That takes higher education to a completely different level.”
Hogan’s documentary roots are grounded in twenty years of interviewing social activists in both her scholarly and her community work. In particular, developing deep relationships with veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) “reshaped me,” Hogan said. ”They taught me to create a relational environment in which we can hear everyone’s story. Documentary work plays a central function in society at large. It determines who we can see, literally, and thus who we care about and cannot ignore,” she said. Her book from this work, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America, won the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Scott-Bills Memorial Prize in Peace Studies, and the Library of Virginia Nonfiction Award.
“Wesley Hogan knows first-hand the value of talking to the people who have made our history,” said William H. Chafe, chair of the CDS Board of Directors and a founder of the Center for Documentary Studies. “Her work with the individuals who created our civil rights revolution will carry over to her leadership of the many film, oral history and photography projects that the Center for Documentary Studies has pioneered, by bringing to life the courage of everyday people struggling to make a better existence for themselves, and for all of us.”
“The documentary arts are vital to the university’s approach to a forward-looking curriculum,” Hogan said. “If 70-90 percent of the information the brain takes in is visual, we urgently need to cultivate visually literate students who are exemplars of intellectual curiosity and artistic innovation. CDS is in a prime position to be the leader in visual and multimedia literacy in the 21st century, not only for the nation’s documentary and academic communities, but also for K-12 teachers, community groups and the public at large.”
Hogan will succeed Tom Rankin, who has directed CDS since 1998. Under his leadership, CDS has built its reputation as an internationally recognized documentary arts institution, with cross-media courses, gallery and traveling exhibitions, book publishing, national fieldwork projects, radio programs and public events, including the acclaimed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Rankin, a professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, will remain on the faculty at Duke, where he directs the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program.
“It is such an honor to be able to build on the work of Tom and Iris Tillman Hill,” CDS’s founding director, Hogan said. “Their contributions to the rich diversity and rhythms of the documentary arts tradition are immeasurable.”
A new exhibit on the Duke University campus showcases work made by fifth-grade students in Lisa Lord’s classroom at Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet School in Durham, North Carolina, based on their yearlong study of Historic Stagville, which contains the remnants of one of the South’s largest pre-Civil War plantations. The fifth graders worked with Duke undergraduates from Literacy Through Photography, a class at the Center for Documentary Studies taught by Katie Hyde. Through iMovie stills and quotations, original writing, and archival materials, Stories from Stagville features the final product of this collaboration; the students’ powerful expressions and poignant writings illustrate their complex questions and discoveries.
Stories from Stagville
May 10–July 7, 2013
Lilly Library, Duke University East Campus
1348 Campus Dr., Durham, North Carolina
Map and directions
The Club Boulevard students made multiple visits to the historic plantation site in Durham and also studied primary historical documents including the personal letters of the Stagville plantation owners; photographs; and interviews with surviving ex-slaves collected in the 1930’s by the Federal Writers’ Project of the WPA. Each fifth-grader then wrote about the life of one enslaved person through multiple perspectives—that of the enslaved person, that of a friend, and that of a slave owner. The Duke undergraduates helped the students video-record their performances as they spoke their historical fiction. Teams of students then edited and sequenced their material to create iMovies.
The Durham Civil Rights Heritage Project will be on view through June 27 in the newly renovated Power Plant building on the historic American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham, North Carolina. The eleven banners that make up the exhibit tell the story of some of Durham’s most significant civil rights activities using photographs, texts, and quotes from oral histories. The traveling show has been to local schools, libraries, businesses, churches and synagogues, organizational offices, and other venues. The banners–meticulously researched and beautifully rendered–consist of 3-foot x 6-foot fabric panels in custom-designed rustic iron frames. Directions.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University is accepting applications for three nine-month internship positions that will begin in September 2013 and end in May 2014. The interns will gain broad experience in the documentary field, with particular focus on exhibiting, digital arts and publishing, web design, and producing a range of materials related to the documentary arts. The interns will be based at CDS in Durham, North Carolina, for the 2013–14 academic year.
To qualify, applicants should be recent college graduates (no more than three years out of school) who demonstrate excellent communications abilities, pay careful attention to details, balance initiative and drive with congeniality and team play, show creative talent, and exhibit achievement in some aspect of the documentary arts. CDS internships require a commitment of 30 hours per week, and interns receive a monthly stipend of $1,000.
For more information, including detailed descriptions of the positions and application instructions, click here.
The application deadline is Monday, June 4, 2013.
Photographer MJ Sharp, a Center for Documentary Studies instructor, did an independent study with undergraduate student Jack Anderson that culminated in his exhibition of nighttime black-and-white photographs, Hidden in Plain Sight: Architectural Reminders of Durham’s Vital Past. Sharp explores the world at night in her work, as does Anderson. “We talk like two old crusty sailors about shooting at night,” says Sharp,” and I’ve been out on the sea just a little bit longer.”
Hidden in Plain Sight: Architectural Reminders of Durham’s Vital Past
Monday, May 6: Exhibit opens
Tuesday, May 14, 6 p.m.: Opening reception
Through August 31, 2013 | Porch Gallery
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina
Anderson says that he “began this project with the goal of documenting the process of gentrification in the city, but it has a evolved into a more targeted examination of particularly significant historical sites in Durham that have declined through neglect or abandonment. These places deserve more respect than they have been given; this exhibition attempts to help us remember them. The homes, workplaces, schools, and hospitals that we have forgotten are highlighted here in order to recall both the beauty they once had and the function they once served.”