Students from two Duke University undergraduate courses taught at the Center for Documentary Studies—LGBTQ History and Activism and Small Town USA—will host presentations this Friday, April 24, as part of their coursework. Brief course descriptions can be found below; event details are included on the images below.
LGBTQ History and Activism with instructor Barbara Lau explores the history of LGBTQ life in the United States, encouraging students to add to that history through original documentary work in the Duke and Durham communities. Friday’s event will feature a performance of LGBTQ stories entitled, Documenting the Triangle Queersphere.
Small Town USA with instructor Susie Post-Rust explores theory and practice of documentary photography in a small-town context. Students work in collaboration with one nearby small town each semester to complete a documentary photographic study of one individual or group within that town. Friday’s presentations will feature projected images of student work documenting Hillsborough, North Carolina, accompanied by narration from the student photographers.
For more information on undergraduate course offerings in documentary studies, click here.
Join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for a screening of Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers—director/producer Orlando de Guzman and co-producer Katina Parker—and moderated by Mark Anthony Neal, professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University.
Screening of Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory
Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 p.m.
Center for Documentary Studies, Auditorium
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina
Featuring commentary from Brendan Roediger, Ashley Yates, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Thomas Harvey, and Derek Laney, this insightful documentary contextualizes Mike Brown’s murder by tracing the connection between St. Louis County’s racially targeted law enforcement and court system and its roots in racist housing policies and practices, segregation, and slavery. The film also looks at how anti-Black racism in Ferguson and the surrounding municipalities has become fertile ground for a new wave of activism that has spread nationwide.
This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; please arrive early. There will be refreshments prior to the screening.
This summer the Center for Documentary Studies will offer its twelfth annual Documentary Video Institute, our one-week video boot camp that has turned out over two hundred full-fledged documentarians. From June 6 through June 13, with expert guidance from multiple instructors, students will learn all aspects of video production: pre-production and scouting locations, camera operation, lighting and sound, editing and post-production, and finally, screening in front of a live audience.
Hours for the institute are:
Saturday, June 6: 1 p.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday–Friday, June 7–12: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday, June 13: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. (the institute concludes with a public presentation of student work)
Lead instructor/filmmaker Randolph Benson has been a Documentary Video Institute instructor from the beginning. “The goal was for students to be able to come in and make a film, but then leave knowing how to make their own film,” he says. “So it was important to have all those elements crammed into a week. Some institute students have gone on to graduate programs in film, others have made films that have screened at film festivals around the world. “But mostly people use this as a stepping stone to self-expression,” says Benson.
Audio Under the Stars—a series of free audio listening parties in Durham, North Carolina—invites you to submit your thematic audio pieces for this summer’s series of free community listening parties. The organizers are requesting pieces ranging from 2 to 15 minutes that fit the themes of five summer listening parties; the themes, submission deadlines, and event dates are listed below. Find more information and stay up to date with Audio Under the Stars happenings through Facebook; use this link to submit your audio stories.
Note: All shows will be held at the Center for Documentary Studies, beginning at 8 pm.
Homecoming/Stories of Leaving and Returning | Deadline: April 19 | Show: May 29
At some point, we all leave home. Or do we? And who does the journey change—the ones who leave or the ones who stay behind? Tell us about your prodigal sons and why you can’t go home again. Or about a really cheesy dress you bought for that high school dance.
Haunted | Deadline: May 12 | Show: June 26
What is it you can’t let go? Who—or what—won’t let go of you? If you’ve got stories of obsessions, fixations, otherworldly encounters, or unwholesome interests, open your closet of skeletons and let us have a peek.
Dog Days of Summer | Deadline: June 10 | Show: July 24
It’s not all lazy days and picnics. The “Dog Days” were once considered an evil time when “wine grew sour and dogs turned mad.” Send us the good and the bad: summer flings and overheated outbursts; stories of indolence and frenzy. Plus, dogs. We like dogs.
Alternative Love Stories | Deadline: July 14 | Show: August 28
What if the person, place or thing that sets your heart strings strumming also sets you apart in some way? What if your happily ever after… wasn’t? We want to hear about unorthodox cravings, unexpected endings, and love stories of all stripes.
Bad Advice & Second Chances | Deadline: August 11 | Show: September 29
Some of us have actually paid cash money for a 1974 Dodge Dart. Tell us your stories about when you listened to your Uncle Leo rather than your common sense and a Consumer Reports review, or any other time you told that small voice in your head to shut up and sit down, and how you’ve lived to tell the tale.
The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund present a free screening of directors Georgann Eubanks and Donna Campbell’s Earthcaster as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress. Following screenings, SDF director Rachel Raney moderates a conversation with the filmmaker during which the audience provides valuable feedback.
Note that while Fresh Docs screenings are free, all attendees must reserve a ticket via Eventbrite, available beginning at 9 a.m. on the day of the event.
Earthcaster is a two-year journey with sculptor Thomas Sayre as he has seeks to portray the relationship of humans to their environment and to each other. Thomas Sayre is one of North Carolina’s most energetic artists—known best for massive public art installations that attempt to make meaning of the past and the future, the natural world and the manmade. His work can be found all over the world—from Thailand to Turkey to Tuscon, Arizona. But his home is a re-purposed warehouse in Raleigh NC. Raised in Washington DC in the shadow of the National Cathedral where his father was the Dean, Thomas was challenged as a child by dyslexia but found his expression in art—specifically in a technique called earthcasting. This unique process requires many days of digging in the dirt with heavy machinery, then engineering the form of the sculpture and pouring concrete, which cures for several weeks before being lifted out of the ground by very large cranes. Earthcasting demands a particular physical strength and endurance most often found in construction work. It also requires cooperation among many non-artists. Thomas Sayre approaches each project as an opportunity to extend his “ministry” about public art. And the results are powerful—for the artist and everyone involved.
For the past two years, producers Donna Campbell and Georgann Eubanks have followed Thomas Sayre as he has created new sculptures in urban and rural parts of North Carolina and in Portland, Oregon. They have interviewed the artist, his family, his mentors, art historians, backhoe operators, clients, citizens and others—getting up close and personal with dirt.
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the prestigious Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, awarded by the Center for Documentary Studies. The $10,000 prize is given to encourage documentary work in the tradition of acclaimed photographer Lange and writer and social scientist Taylor, and supports documentary artists—working alone or in teams—whose existing, extended fieldwork projects rely on the interplay of words and images.
Words may be represented by audio or in graphic novel format. Edited oral histories, creative narratives, and poetry (that is both personal and social) are also encouraged. Single artists and collaborative teams working with text/audio/photographs/video/graphic novel format may apply. There are no restrictions regarding age, nationality, or subject matter.
The winner receives $10,000, a solo exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies, and inclusion in the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Library. The winner will be publicly announced in September 2015; the winner’s solo exhibition will be on view at CDS in fall 2016.
Before the beatings on the bridge in Selma, before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, young people in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) united with local communities in the Deep South to build a grassroots movement for change.
A new multimedia website from the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University—One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights—tells the story of how SNCC’s commitment to community organizing forged a movement for voting rights made up of thousands of local people, one that sought to make real the promise of America: equal opportunity for all…one person, one vote. Onevotesncc.org honors the heroes of the struggle for voting rights—sharecroppers and domestic workers, World War II veterans and high school students, young activists and seasoned mentors.
The website is part of a partnership between the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University that was formed to chronicle the historic struggles for voting rights and to develop ongoing programs that contribute to a more civil and inclusive democracy. Click here and here to read more about the overall intiative.
Click here to listen to an interview with SNCC veteran Charlie Cobb and Duke undergraduate Amina Bility on NPR’s “Here and Now.” Cobb is the first Activist-in-Residence with the SNCC-Duke partnership; Bility is a Duke undergraduate involved in the project.
Do yourself a favor and experience Vanishing Point, the acclaimed digital magazine of student documentary work “that tells stories you haven’t heard from places you know well and places you’ll discover.” Committed to amplifying voices through a variety of media, Vanishing Point is produced at the Center for Documentary Studies by Duke University students in a publishing course taught by CDS writer-in-residence Duncan Murrell.
Founded in 2014, the magazine is rejuvenated with a new staff each spring with new content published on a rolling basis throughout the semester—all kinds of student documentary work, established as well as experimental forms, from across the country.
On April 26, nine Duke University students graduating with a Certificate in Documentary Studies—a program that attracts undergraduates to the Center for Documentary Studies from across the arts and sciences—will present their final projects to the public and receive their certificates, followed by a celebratory BBQ. Under the guidance of Alex Harris, the students completed their final projects in a Capstone Seminar as the culmination of their documentary studies classes.
Sunday, April 26
Project presentations: 2–5 p.m.
BBQ: 5 p.m. on
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew St., Durham, North Carolina
Additionally, an exhibit of the graduating seniors’ work entitled Beyond the Front Porch 2015 will be on view in the University Gallery at the Center for Documentary Studies beginning April 26 through October 3, 2015. Read bios of the students and descriptions of their projects here.
Enjoy these videos describing three new Fall 2015 undergraduate courses at the Center for Documentary Studies. Taught by Archive of Documentary Art Curator Lisa McCarty, professor of cultural anthropology and documentarian Charles Thompson, and CDS Undergraduate Education Director Christopher Sims, the classes highlight a diverse range of documentary inquiry. Read descriptions of the courses and watch preview videos below. Learn more about undergraduate education at CDS here.
DOCST 316S / 716S Activating the Archive
Instructor: Lisa McCarty
M 3:05 p.m.–5:35 p.m. (room TBA)
Introduces methods of archival research and investigates its use as a tool for activism within documentary practice. Uses Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript library to gain practical experience to effectively locate, retrieve, handle, document, and analyze primary source materials. Students produce original written and multimedia documentary projects that rethink notions of history, identity, memory, and loss. Explores individual and open source archives, as well as works by contemporary artists and documentarians who mediate archival materials and structures. Emphasizes the archive as a site of discovery and construction. Cross list: ARTSVIS 316S, VMS 314S
DOCST 327S Pilgrimage
Instructor: Charles Thompson
W 3:05 p.m.–5:30 p.m. (CDS, Bridges 201)
Documentary and anthropological approaches to understanding. Different cultures, religions, histories, and levels of privilege make their way somewhere to pay tribute, give offerings, encircle a site, crawl on their knees, kiss a wall, touch a statue, or simply raise their hands in acknowledgement of finishing a goal, be it a walk on a trail or a prayerful walk to a religious icon; be it to commemorate, celebrate, mark a rite of passage, or to do penance. Explores how people make meaning and give their lives significance through pilgrimage. Students document a pilgrimage of their own, prepare for an upcoming pilgrimage, or interview those who have gone on pilgrimages. Cross list: CULANTH 327S
DOCST 354S / 754S Web Design and Communication: Artists, Documentarians, Art Historians, and Entrepreneurs
Instructor: Christopher Sims
Tu 3:05 p.m.–5:35 p.m. (CDS, Bridges 104)
Professional practices course for students in creative fields without a computer science background: for artists and documentarians to create robust web-based portfolios; for art historians to showcase curatorial and scholarly projects; for entrepreneurs to demonstrate ideas, concepts, and products to the public. Develop customized, individual websites using CMS platforms. Hone and workshop artistic/curatorial/product statements. Develop teaching philosophies, exhibition imagery, and video documentation of artistic, curatorial, or product talks. Publish a blog magazine on arts and innovation topics. Guest speakers visit the course on a regular basis to review the students’ work. Cross list: ISIS 354S, ARTSVIS 364S, VMS 364S