The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of director George King’s Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story (working title), which explores the life of Alabama artist Lonnie Holley as he overcomes insurmountable odds to emerge as a critically-acclaimed musician and visual artist. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress; following the screenings, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker(s) will be held, during which the audience provides valuable feedback.
Note: Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite.
Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story
Friday, September 30, 7 p.m.
Full Frame Theater, American Tobacco Campus
320 Blackwell St., Durham, North Carolina
Thumbs Up for Mother Universe: The Lonnie Holley Story (working title) is a feature-length documentary is an effort to reveal how race, social class, and culture interplay in the American South through the story of 66-year-old African American artist and musician, Lonnie Holley. Holley has been described as an outsider, a poet, a con man, a prophet, a hustler, a visionary artist, a junkman and a shaman. Born the seventh of 27 children, Holley’s childhood is the stuff of novels. He was sold for a pint of whiskey, raised in a juke joint, and at age 11, imprisoned in a notorious ‘slave camp’ for black children. The film traces Holley’s dramatic life from the basest poverty and a fourth grade education to his emergence as a revered visual artist and musician. The film will also reveal his creative process—his insights into recycling, ecology and the environment, and his sources of inspiration, deeply rooted in Southern life and African American history and culture.
George King is a writer, producer, and director of nonfiction film, television, and radio projects. His work has consistently captured national and international interest and won awards including Peabody, Cine Golden Eagles, Golden Reels, and more. Projects range in approach from the journalistic: Aging, the Myths; parody and satire: Ten Thousand Points of Light, Bananaland; to historical: Goin’ to Chicago, Will the Circle be Unbroken?; biography: Who’s That Stranger?; and experimental: Word of Mouth.
The Nasher Museum of Art’s new exhibition, Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art, “reflects upon and pulls apart the dynamic nature of the South’s social, political, and cultural landscape” through the work of sixty artists. The timing of Southern Accent,” says the Nasher’s Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art, “ is especially meaningful now—in the wake of Charleston, Orlando, Baton Rouge, and countless other tragedies, and given the tense social and racial climate during this presidential election year. . . . I hope Southern Accent can create a space to reimagine the South in new ways and reframe the way we think about the South in contemporary art.
Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art
September 1, 2016–January 8, 2017
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
2001 Campus Dr., Durham, North Carolina 27705
Click here for information about the Opening Party on August 31, a conversation and book signing with writer Bill Ferris and Tom Rankin (Southern Accent artist, director of Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program (MFA|EDA) and former director of the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS)) on September 1, and other exhibition-related events.
CDS has ties to a number of the artists featured in the show, including one of the youngest artists, Diego Camposeco, a recent UNC–Chapel Hill graduate whose work in Southern Accent was directly supported by a CDS John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award in 2014; Tom Rankin (director of Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program—MFA|EDA); Rachel Boillot (MFA|EDA graduate, ’14): Jessica Ingram (in the CDS exhibition Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial and the CDS book 25 Under 25: Up and Coming American Photographers, Vol. 1); Deborah Luster (Lange-Taylor Prize winner with C.D. Wright for One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, 2000); Mark Steinmetz (published in DoubleTake magazine); Hank Willis Thomas (published in the CDS book 25 Under 25: Up and Coming American Photographers, Vol. 1); and Jeff Whetstone (published in DoubleTake magazine and a CDS alum).
Southern Accent is co-organized by Trevor Schoonmaker and Miranda Lash, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. The exhibition will travel to the Speed Art Museum, where it will be on view April 29–August 20, 2017.
The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to introduce the 2016-2017 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows, all of whom will be working with organizations in the New York City area; scroll down for more information on Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton. Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of social documentary photographer Lewis Hine, CDS’s Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program connects the talents of young documentarians with the needs of organizations serving children and their communities around the world. Learn more on the program’s blog, and enjoy the Hine Fellows website by former Hine Fellow Natalie Minik that revisits five Hine Fellowship projects during the program’s seven years of working with organization’s in Boston—Hine-Sight.org.
Kamal Badhey is a photographer, educator and visual urbanist from New York. She has focused on ideas of dispersal, diaspora and origin pilgrimages, using photography and the narratives of places, people, and objects to stitch together stories. Her work and sense of home follows the childhood saying told to her in Telugu, ’Katha kanchiki, manam intiki’, ‘The story goes far far away, and now we are back in our homes’. Her project Portals and Passageways is part of a collection of photographs from a reconstructed family album. They are based on the collective story of her extended family in Secunderabad, India, starting with her oldest known ancestor and great great grandfather, jeweler Annam Rathnaiah.
Kamal’s work in the Exhibitions Program at the Center for Documentary Studies with Courtney Reid-Eaton allowed her to re-envision the documentary canon. She received her MA in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London and her MS in Museum and General Education from Bank Street College. She has engaged with a variety of communities, but her most significant experience was as a visual arts teacher at Cypress Hills Community School in Brooklyn, New York, where she taught for seven years. Teaching art allowed her to create opportunities for spontaneity, pure expression, and dialogue as well as share agency with her students. Her belief is that places of safety and creativity allow people to build on their strengths while creating a deep sense of autonomy. She says the Hine Fellowship gives her the opportunity to listen deeply, as well as bridge her love for people, storytelling and photography.
Lauren sees documentary arts as a catalyst for empathy. Diagnosed in 2009 with psoriatic arthritis, a painful autoimmune disease, she turned to her art as an escape. Instead she discovered a way to express her struggle, and people listened. Lauren’s journey through pain inspired her to turn her lens and soul outward – attempting to help others suffering find solace through the documentary process and inviting viewers to observe.
Emboldened by her goal, Lauren chose to continue her education at Duke University (AB 2015) largely because of its Center for Documentary Studies. There she found peers and professors who affirmed her passion and nurtured her talent. Though her technique and skill evolved, Lauren remained committed to a humanistic approach to her work. Lauren’s thesis and first major project, “Indelible,” is an art installation – utilizing still images, audio narratives, and video footage – that presents anonymous stories of individuals with scars and the manifestation of that pain on the human body. The piece was displayed in its original form as black and white photographs at Carnegie Hall and continued to garner acclaim at Duke University as an installation.
After graduating with highest distinction, Lauren utilized funding from a Benenson grant, the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, and a few other sources to travel to Peru to seek the roots of a story about a mother and her daughter who abandoned their lives and family in rural Peru to seek improved opportunities in the United States. On her return to the US, Lauren co-founded The Shared Divide, a pending non-profit that creates multimedia content as a narrative for social change. By specifically focusing on the historical narratives of underserved communities, The Shared Divide works to archive endangered historical stories in order to promote the education of future generations about the history of their communities. Currently, she is working through The Shared Divide with members of the underrepresented Riverside community in South Hampton, New York, to archive its rich history, which traditional historical venues have repeatedly overlooked.
About the Lewis Hine Fellowship Lauren writes, “I am humbled and honored to be a Lewis Hine Fellow and to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Red Hook Community Justice Center. I look forward to being part of a community that is challenging existing structures of justice and creating a more equitable system to build upon. Working in such a uniquely creative and resilient community over the next year will challenge me and help me to grow both artistically and as a person. I look forward to developing documentary projects in collaboration with the Justice Center and residents of the community.”
We photograph from who we are. Jenny Jacklin Stratton’s work springs largely from her migratory upbringing in the Naval Special Warfare community. Over the years her inclination to know more about her own family and surroundings has evolved into a means to engage deeply and share stories with others. Her work often involves long-form collaborations; collectively grappling with personal ethnographies and relationships between how we see and what we know.
Jenny earned a MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts from Duke University and completed a U.S. Department of State FLAS fellowship in Arab Language and Middle Eastern Studies in 2014. With a background in earth science, she aims to better understand and amplify connections between individuals, communities, ecologies, geologic time and soil. Her thesis, American Soil explores environmental and national narratives of war and the difficulty in understanding transitions made by military and refugee communities. Most recently, American Soil will be on exhibit at the 2016 Terra Madre Salone del Gusto (Turin, Italy) and as part of the Farmers’ Union Women in Agriculture series. Another project, Survived By chronicles the daily details of loss, sense of place and resiliency of surviving spouses and their children. During her time at Duke, the form of these projects grew from from primarily making stop-motion animations and photographs to also include video, writing, sound, recipes, living plants, detritus and reactivating archival materials.
Concurrent with making documentary work, Jenny facilitates workshops and courses for academic institutions, non-profit and grassroots organizations including Vision Workshops, Jana Urban India Foundation, Platteforum Art Lab, Acta Non Verba, The Partnership for Appalachia Girls & Education and Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute.
Jenny is grateful to be a 2016 Hine Documentary Fellow. She writes, “I am incredibly excited by the powerful legacy and premise of the Lewis Hine Fellowship to support humanitarian organizations by utilizing documentary arts as an effective tool for social research and reform. I see this as a meaningful opportunity to work closely with a community, to listen closely and to be fully present in that shared time.”
Visit the Hine Fellows blog for regular updates from the Hine Fellows, as well as final dispatches from the 2015-16 Fellows later this month.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, seeks a seven-month Programming Intern, from November 2016 to May 2017. The Programming Intern will gain broad experience in various functions of the festival programming department and obtain an overall view of how festival content is determined, organized, and exhibited.
This is a seven-month, paid position. Click here for a detailed job description and information on how to apply.
code / noun : 1. a system used for brevity or secrecy of communication, in which arbitrarily chosen words, letters, or symbols are assigned definite meanings. 2. a word, letter, number, or other symbol used in a code system to mark, represent, or identify something. 3. a system for communication in which long and short sounds, light flashes, etc., are used to symbolize the content of a message
Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement and expertise is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. Culinary journalist Toni Tipton-Martin spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, seeking to discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, and to reclaim their skills and knowledge from this culinary caricature.
Tipton-Martin’s Jemima Code exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies (September 22–November 5, 2016) features the first known photographs of African American cooks (scroll down for a slideshow) along with interactive installments, cookbooks, and other related ephemera. The exhibit builds upon her award-winning book, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, which offers firsthand evidence of African American cooks’ impact on American food, families, and communities.
Tipton-Martin will be at CDS on October 20 for a reception, artist’s talk, and book signing, 6–9 p.m; directions.
“The Jemima Code is a 200-year-old practice of using the image of the plantation mammy to symbolize and misrepresent the knowledge, skills, and abilities of African American cooks,” writes Tipton-Martin. “The book [winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation award] and this installation honor these (mostly) women who nourished generations of American families with meals prepared at the fireside hearth. . . . When we embrace their gifts of dignity, courage, and perseverance, we too are inspired to keep the hearth fires burning.”
In addition to the book and traveling exhibition, Tipton-Martin continues the Jemima Code project with a website and blog, through which she “puts on the aprons of these authors, cooks their recipes, and tinkers with the tools they used in search of answers to [essential] questions.”
Toni Tipton-Martin is a culinary journalist, educator, and community activist. She founded the SANDE Youth Project, a nonproﬁt organization that uses cultural heritage, organic gardening, basic cooking skills, and nutrition to improve lives. Tipton-Martin is a founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Foodways Texas, a contributing editor to Heart and Soul Magazine, and a cookbook author. She also is part of a grassroots peace movement that is rekindling the pie social as a vehicle for community building.
The Center for Documentary Studies has awarded the twenty-fourth Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize to American artist, illustrator, and documentarian Steven M. Cozart. His winning proposal, The Pass/Fail Series, primarily explores colorism within the African American community. The $10,000 prize is given to encourage documentary work in the tradition of acclaimed photographer Dorothea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor and supports documentary artists—working alone or in teams—whose extended fieldwork projects rely on the interplay of words and images.
The Durham, North Carolina, native began an ongoing body of work meant to spark introspective dialogue about issues of “classism and stereotyping by African Americans toward other African Americans based on several factors, including skin tone, hair texture, gender roles, and other myths and fallacies prevalent in the community.”
For The Pass/Fail Series, Cozart interviews friends, family, colleagues, and students—African Americans of various backgrounds and ages—to make paintings, drawings, mixed-media collages, and short videos about each subject and “uses the photographs, video stills, and audio excerpts from these conversations to create combinations of imagery and text. The individuals’ portraits and words are drawn on the surfaces of paper bags; the portraits on the side, the words on the bottom. The portraits take on a life of their own when matched with the subjects’ words. My intent is that the viewer imagines they can hear the voices of the individuals speaking.”
To see the images in more detail, click here to view the series in Issuu.
“The work evokes the ‘brown paper bag test,’ a discriminatory act that was used in some social circles within the African American community to determine whether an individual could have privileges of access,” writes Cozart. The Pass/Fail Series, he believes, will create dialogues “that promote sensitivity, understanding, self-awareness, and self-love. It is a project with no perceived end, as it involves conversations that must continue to take place in the African American community as we move into the future. My ultimate goal is to spark conversations both inside and outside of the community as a means to create understanding and, hopefully, minimize or even eradicate fallacies and preconceptions.”
The members of the Lange-Taylor Prize Committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to photographer Carlotta Cardana and writer Danielle SeeWalker for The Red Road Project, a collection of photographs and stories exploring the “relationship between Native American peoples and their identities today.” An Honorable Mention was also awarded to photographer and filmmaker Phyllis Dooney and writer Jardine Libaire for the transmedia project Gravity Is Stronger Here, about an “archetypal American family in Greenville, Mississippi, who—together with their openly gay daughter, Halea—dream out loud while ﬁghting recurrent domestic narratives.”
More information on the other finalists, both solo artists and teams, for the 2016 Lange-Taylor Prize.
More information about the Lange-Taylor Prize, and 2017 guidelines. Submissions will be accepted from February 1 to May 7, 2017.
The Center for Documentary Studies is one of a number of campus cosponsors of an upcoming event organized by a Duke student group. The Untitled Identity Project states, “Myriad recent nationwide issues regarding identity and activism along with recent incidents terrorizing and targeting specific identity groups remain prominent in our media. Often we neglect to consider how these media representations affect people of different backgrounds, perspectives, and identities.” For the first in what the students hope will be an annual symposium—with future events dedicated to issues around race, color, and gender—join the Untitled Identity Project in welcoming Hollywood industry experts for a panel discussion on Jewish identity in today’s media. Free tickets are available through the Duke University Box Office.
Hollywood@Duke Panel Discussion
Tuesday, September 13, 7 p.m.
Page Auditorium, Duke East Campus
402 Chapel Drive, Durham NC, 27710
Expert panelists include actor Mark Feuerstein, studio executive Greg Silverman, executive producer Doug Robinson, actress and writer Hannah Friedman, casting director Amy Lippens, and agent Ann Blanchard. Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations for Duke University, will moderate this important conversation. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.
This new initiative is co-sponsored by Jewish Life at Duke, the Center for Documentary Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Center for Jewish Studies, Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts, the Division of Student Affairs, Theater Studies, Arts of the Moving Image, the Freeman Family Program Fund, the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, the Career Center, DEMAN, the Jewish Student Union and Alpha Epsilon Pi.
The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to welcome back acclaimed documentary photographer Harvey Stein, who will again teach his popular Documentary Street Photography workshop, September 23–25, 2016. The class, offered through our Continuing Education program, will consist of lectures, demonstrations, slide presentations, critiques, and photographic field trips. Topics will include photographing strangers, strategies of approach and interaction, methods of controlling light and exposure, and the best lenses and cameras for street shooting. Students will be encouraged “to participate in the drama of the ordinary,” the longtime International Center of Photography instructor says. See student work from past Documentary Street Photography workshops here.
Documentary Street Photography
September 23–25, 2016
Center for Documentary Studies
1317 W. Pettigrew Street, Durham, North Carolina
Space is limited
Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author, and curator based in New York City, and is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He is the director of photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery in Manhattan. Stein’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, the Art Institute of Chicago, Bibliothèque Nationale, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and many other institutions. His latest book, Briefly Seen: New York Street Life, was published in the fall of 2015 (read a recent review from the Literate Lens blog).
Filmmaker Aviva Kempner’s Rosenwald: The Remarkable Story of a Jewish Partnership with African American Communities explores a little-known initiative that resulted in the creation of thousands of schools for poor, rural African-American children in in the Jim Crow South, at a time when few received any public education. Presented by Friends of Russell Rosenwald School, the screening is free and open to the public; a Q&A with Kempner will follow. View the film trailer here.
Rosenwald Screening and Q&A with Aviva Kempner
Friday, September 9, 6:45 p.m.
Russell Rosenwald School Lawn
2001 Saint Mary’s Road, Hillsborough, North Carolina
Kempner’s documentary tells the story of Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school but rose to become the president and later chairman of Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, this Jewish philanthropist joined forces with southern African American communities during the early twentieth century to build over 5,300 rural schools that, between 1915 to 1932, helped educate 660,000 African-American students. Inspired by the Jewish ideals of tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world), and a deep concern over racial inequality in America, Julius Rosenwald used his wealth to become one of America’s most effective and generous philanthropists, giving away $62 million in his lifetime.
Read more about Aviva Kempner and the making of Rosenwald in this Huffington Post story.
Aviva Kempner‘s films investigate non-stereotypical images of Jews in history and celebrate the untold stories of Jewish heroes. In addition to Rosenwald, she conceived of and produced Partisans of Vilna, a documentary on Jewish resistance against the Nazis; produced and directed Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Jewish slugger who fought anti-Semitism in the 1930s and ’40s; and produced and directed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, about television pioneer Gertrude Berg.
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 intensive summer-long documentary fieldwork projects. CDS welcomes both individual and collaborative proposals. Applicants must be registered undergraduate students at Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. See the full award guidelines on our website.
Applications for the 2017 awards will be accepted between February 1-15, 2017. Entries must be postmarked no later than February 15, 2017. Awards of up to $2,000 will be made by April 16, 2017.
View application guidelines and past winners here.