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Documentary Studies Students Use Words and Images to Explore Their Worlds

August 03, 2011

“A camera is a tool for learning to see without a camera”

-Dorothea Lange

In the Documentary Studies Certificate Program, we explore new ways to see and understand cultural experiences through writing, photography, audio, and film. Since 2009, writers, educators, counselors, and community members have come together to shape stories in multiple media.

One participant made a film about the effects of Alzheimer’s on a family; others have written about generations of women seeking clarity in their lives, recorded audio pieces about prejudice and teaching epiphanies, and made digital stories about their classrooms and communities.

Each participant brings rich experience and unique perspectives to our collective project: learning to see in new ways, finding form for our stories, reaching beyond the limits of our known worlds. In the links below, students in the program share their stories.

Golda Dwass offers a moving portrait of her mother in her film, “The Disappearance of Mom”.

In a film-in-progress, Leigh Coffey links her childhood aversion to oysters (PDF) to adult fascination with the shuckers who bring them to our tables.

In the audio piece “Bananas,” (mp3 audio file) Adam Heller confronts, and overcomes, his childhood prejudices.

Allison Winningstad illustrates the documentary imagination in one of her weekly observations of daily life. (PDF)

Nicole Cullen’s audio piece, “Ice Cream Money,” (mp3 audio file) explores class, family, shame, and resilience.


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