Kelly Alexander

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Kelly Alexander is a writer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a consulting editor to Saveur magazine and the author of numerous feature stories for that publication. Her article “Hometown Appetites,” an homage to the great American food writer Clementine Paddleford, won the James Beard Journalism Award and will be the basis for a biography and cookbook to be published by Penguin in fall 2007. Prior to joining Saveur, Alexander worked as the restaurant editor of Microsoft’s New York Sidewalk and as an assistant editor at Food & Wine magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, and many other publications. Last year her story “Multicultural Meat,” about the cross-cultural significance of brisket, was nominated for a Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Alexander is also a regular contributor on the subject of food to the NPR program “The State of Things,” which airs daily on WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism, creative writing, and anthropology.

Read more about Kelly Alexander on CDS Porch

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Bill Bamberger

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Photographer Bill Bamberger is known for the innovative ways he has engaged whole communities in the production of his work. His projects explore large social issues of our time by looking at how they are manifest in our families and communities. Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory with Cathy N. Davidson won the Mayflower Prize in Non-Fiction and was a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His photographs have appeared in Aperture, Doubletake, The Washington Post Magazine, Harper’s and the New York Times Magazine. He is currently working on BALL, a grassroots project that explores the democratization of basketball and the intersection of sports and culture in American life.

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John Biewen

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John Biewen directs the audio program at the Center for Documentary Studies, where he teaches and produces documentary work for NPR, the BBC World Service, and other audiences. His reporting and documentary work has taken him across the United States and to Europe, Japan, and India. He reported for Minnesota Public Radio, covered the Rocky Mountain West for NPR News, and spent eight years as a correspondent with American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media. Projects at CDS have included Five Farms: Stories of American Farm Familes; Travels with Mike, revisiting John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley journey; and Little War on the Prairie, with This American Life, exploring the forgotten story of the U.S.-Dakota War. His work has won honors that include two Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Awards for Outstanding Coverage of the Disadvantaged, the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Radio Impact Award. At CDS, Biewen teaches undergraduate and graduate students as well as continuing education students in CDS’s Certificate in Documentary Studies program.

Read more about John Biewen on CDS Porch

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Lana Garland

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Lana Garland has worked as a Creative Director, Director, and Writer/Producer in television and film in the US and Europe. Her work has included content for HBO, BET, and ESPN in America, and TV2 in Denmark. In documentary film, she has worked on films such as Bowling For Columbine, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool, and Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. Her short films include Rapture and AfterLife, starring Tamara Tunie. Lana is an NATPE Fellow, a NAMIC ELDP Fellow, a Gordon Parks IFP screenwriting finalist, a Worldfest Houston finalist, and a Telly Award winner. She is the recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Award and a Filmmaking Grant from the Southern Documentary Fund for her project on African American washerwomen. Her company, Insibah Media, is based in Durham, North Carolina and creates documentaries, webseries, and marketing videos for the Internet and broadcast/cable TV.

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Jaki Shelton Green

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Jaki Shelton Green is a writer and poet, a North Carolina native whose publications include Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Blue Opal (a play), and Feeding the Light. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Crucible, Obsidian, Essence Magazine, Callaloo, and Black Gold: An Anthology of Black Poetry, among many others. In 2014 the North Carolina native was inducted into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize; in 2009 she served as the North Carolina Piedmont Laureate. Among other honors, she was named the 2016 Lenoir-Rhyne University Writer-in-Residence and received a 2007 Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina and a 2003 North Carolina Award (literature), the state’s highest civilian honor for significant contributions to the state and nation in fine art, literature, public service, and science. Green has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations. As a creativity coach, Green facilitates workshops and trainings in the United States and abroad, and as a community arts advocate, creates and facilitates programs that serve diverse audiences and populations. Additionally, she judges poetry for schools, anthologies, and prizes such as the Lucille Clifton Poetry Award. Green is the owner of SistaWRITE, which provides retreats and travel excursions for women writers.

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Alex Harris

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Alex Harris is a founder of the Center for Documentary Studies and of DoubleTake Magazine. He has taught documentary photography and writing at Duke since 1975. Among his books are River of Traps, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction in 1991, and The Idea of Cuba (2007). His photographs are in the collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Harris is collaborating with the socio-biologist E.O. Wilson on a book set in Mobile, Alabama, that focuses on the role of place in the life of the individual and of the broader society. He is also photographing housing and living conditions across North Carolina for a book that will connect his contemporary photographs and observations with images he produced on the same theme in the early 1970s. As a teacher, Harris helped to launch the Humanitarian Challenges Focus program at Duke and is currently teaching documentary writing and photography fieldwork seminars through CDS and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Harris is an expert on color digital printing and emphasizes the latest digital technology to produce color prints in some of his classes. Harris co-directs the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program, a year-long postgraduate fellowship program based at the Center for Documentary Studies in which recent Duke graduates work with NGOs and humanitarian organizations focused on marginalized families and children. All Hine Fellows complete an in-depth documentary project to benefit the non-governmental organizations and communities with which they work. 

Alex Harris's work can be seen on the web at

Read more about Alex Harris on CDS Porch

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Gary Hawkins

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Gary Hawkins was born and raised in Thomasville, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in fine arts, and the University of Southern California, where he majored in cinema. He joined the directing faculty at the North Carolina School of the Arts, in the School of Filmmaking, in 1991 and taught there until 1999. Hawkins has written and directed six films. His second, The Rough South of Harry Crews, won an Emmy and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Gold Award in 1992. The Rough South of Larry Brown, the latest in Hawkins’s on-going series about working-class Southern authors, was picked by The Oxford American as one of Thirteen Essential Southern Documentaries and was reviewed by Variety as a “beautifully conceived documentary film.” The Rough South of Larry Brown won Best Feature at the Savannah Film & Video Festival, Best Feature at the Ohio Independent Film Festival, and Best Documentary Feature at the Oxford Film Festival. Hawkins’s screenplay DownTime was selected by The Sundance Institute for the Writer’s Lab in the winter of 2000. Presently Hawkins is adapting two novels into screenplays for Capricorn Films. 

Read more about Gary Hawkins on CDS Porch

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Wesley Hogan

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Wesley Hogan is the director of the Center for Documentary Studies and teaches the history of youth social movements, African American history, women’s history, and oral history. Her book on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC and the Dream for a New America (2007), won the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Scott-Bills Memorial Prize for best work in peace history, and the Library of Virginia nonfiction literary award. She was the codirector of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University from 2006–2009, whose mission is to bring together community organizers, researchers, and young leaders to promote healthy communities. From 2004–2008, she was active with the initiative to bring together the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project, and the Petersburg City Public Schools, and coordinated an oral history project of the civil rights movement in Petersburg, Virginia. She is currently working on a post-1960s history of young people organizing in the spirit of Ella Baker, and co-facilitates a partnership between the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke, “One Person, One Vote-The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights,” whose purpose is to bring the grassroots stories of the civil rights movement to a much wider public through a web portal, K12 initiative, and set of critical oral histories.

Read more about Wesley Hogan on CDS Porch

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Katie Hyde

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Katie Hyde is the director of Literacy Through Photography (LTP), a program based at the Center for Documentary Studies. In this capacity, she works closely with undergraduate students, community volunteers, and teachers and students in the Durham Public Schools. Hyde is also one of the leaders of LTP Arusha, a DukeEngage initiative that is part of an effort to work with teachers in Arusha, Tanzania, to build an LTP program. She teaches a course on Literacy Through Photography that deals with children’s self-expression and with race and gender issues within education. Hyde also teaches a course called Sociology Through Photography, using documentary photography as a tool to see the world through a sociological lens. Hyde earned her doctorate in sociology at North Carolina State University. She has explored how social inequalities are constructed, perpetuated, and resisted through fieldwork and other research on recent Latino/a immigration in North Carolina, women’s activism in Russia, and girls’ education in rural Nepal.

Read more about Katie Hyde on CDS Porch

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Nancy Kalow 

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Nancy Kalow is a folklorist and filmmaker who has taught at CDS since 2000. Her projects documenting southern traditional music and material culture, Primitive Baptist preaching and visionary narratives in eastern North Carolina, and the music and folklife of the Mexican community in central North Carolina were supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Rockefeller Fellowship at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill’s University Center for International Studies. Her video documentary Sadobabies was the winner of a Gold Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival and the Special Jury Trophy at the San Francisco Film Festival, Her documentary project on “Dead Media” includes a website and a video, The Great Dictator, which screened at the Strange Beauty Film Festival and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. She has been cochair of the Selection Committee of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival since 2003.

Read more about Nancy Kalow at CDS Porch

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Michelle Lanier

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Michelle Lanier, director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission, has been an instructor at CDS since 2000. She uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work in training students to collect veterans’ narratives.

Read more about Michelle Lanier on CDS Porch

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Barbara Lau

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Barbara Lau is director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center, an effort to activate history for social change inspired by the life and legacy of activist, poet, lawyer and Episcopal priest Pauli Murray. From 1999 to 2009, she directed community documentary projects at the Center for Documentary Studies. In that position she led nationally recognized documentary programs for youth and the documentary/public art project Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life. Lau has more than twenty years of professional experience as a folklorist, oral historian, teacher, curator, radio producer, and arts consultant. She earned a B.A. in sociology/urban studies from Washington University in St. Louis (1980) and an M.A. in folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2000).

Read more about Barbara Lau on CDS Porch

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Lisa McCarty

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Lisa McCarty’s work as a photographer, curator, and educator is driven by her interest in the origins of photography. She is particularly interested in how technology influences image production, as well as the material and associative evolution of images. She holds a BFA in studio art from George Mason University and an MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts from Duke University. Lisa has held curatorial positions in nonprofit and academic galleries, as well as private collections and museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library, the District of Columbia Arts Center, George Mason University Art Galleries, Transformer Gallery, Cassilhaus Gallery and Collection, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where she is currently curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts. Most recently, her photographs have been exhibited in the U.S. at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, Chicago Photography Center, Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media in Boston, the American University Museum in Washington, D.C., and internationally with the PICTURE BERLIN residency program. Additionally, her moving image work has been screened at the New York Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the Cairo Video Festival in Egypt, and Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival in Scotland.

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John Moses

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John Moses is a primary care pediatrician at Duke University Medical Center. While he was an undergraduate student at Duke, Moses took a photography class from CDS faculty member Alex Harris. Before attending medical school, he spent a year photographing the conditions of migrant farmworkers in the Southeast. His current projects include a book about primary care medicine and a book about children and illness. His courses include Medicine and the Vision of Documentary Photography, part of the Focus Program, and Children and the Experience of Illness, in which students teach photography to children being treated for illness and write about their experiences during the semester. Of the class, he says, “It has become a way for students to process their own issues with illness.” Moses plans to continue developing other opportunities for undergraduates to work with documentary studies and medicine. 

Read more about John Moses on CDS Porch

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Bruce Orenstein

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Bruce Orenstein is founder and director of the Chicago Video Project (CVP), a nonprofit production company that produces documentaries and public policy videos about social and economic issues for nonprofit public-interest organizations and public television. Among its many productions, CVP has produced videos for campaigns to pass living-wage laws in Chicago and Los Angeles, increase the supply of affordable housing in Chicago, and expand early childhood programs throughout Illinois. Orenstein’s television credits include the 2003 Midwest Emmy award-wining WTTW documentary No Place to Live: Chicago’s Affordable Housing Crisis and the 1999 PBS national broadcast of The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy. With a grant from the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,The Democratic Promise was placed in 1,900 civic and community development organizations where it was used as a training tool for community members. In 2008, PBS aired Orenstein’s American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver, a documentary about an unheralded American hero who was a principal figure in the creation of the country’s public service programs, including the Peace Corps, VISTA, Community Action, and Legal Services for the Poor. Prior to producing policy videos and documentaries, Orenstein had a thirteen-year career as a community organizer in Chicago, Illinois; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Seattle, Washington.

Read more about Bruce Orenstein on CDS Porch

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Susie Post-Rust

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Susie Post-Rust is a veteran magazine and newspaper photojournalist who has spent the last two decades documenting the lives of people in more than twenty countries. Her passion throughout her career has been in-depth documentary projects that reveal small communities and the people who live in them. For more than ten years she worked for National Geographic magazine, while also contributing to Life, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and the New York Times, as well as nonprofit charity groups, including World Vision, the North Carolina Food Bank, Food for the Hungry, and Compassion International. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a BSBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1986 she was honored with the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Coverage of the Disadvantaged in recognition of her photographic essay Jerry: A Troubled Mind, the story of one man’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Susie Post-Rust's work can be seen on the web at

Read more about Susie Post-Rust on CDS Porch

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Karen Price

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North Carolina-raised filmmaker Karen Elizabeth Price directed and produced HouseQuake, a feature documentary about how the Democratic Party won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in a relentless effort led by Rahm Emanuel. The film won the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s Directorial Discovery Award at its festival premiere, received distribution from Brainstorm Media, and made its television debut on the Documentary Channel. Price wrote, directed, and produced the narrative short gone, which screened at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival. She directed Living by Instinct: Animals and Their Rescuers, which screened at numerous festivals including the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, aired on PBS stations, and won several national awards including a Student Emmy. She has directed, produced, and written for television shows on such networks as Lifetime, Animal Planet, and BIO. Currently, she is coproducing a feature documentary on civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis and has several documentary and fiction films in development. In addition to teaching, Price directs the Duke in Los Angeles undergraduate semester away program. She received an MFA in production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, an MA in creative writing and English from Hollins University, and an AB in English and political science from Duke.

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Tom Rankin

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Tom Rankin is Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary, director of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University, and former director of the Center for Documentary Studies (July 1998-June 2013). A photographer and writer, Rankin was formerly associate professor of art and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi and chair of the Art Department at Delta State University. Educated at Tufts University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Georgia State University, he has curated a number of exhibitions, produced films, and written extensively on photography, documentary, and southern culture. His photographs have been published widely in numerous magazines, journals, and books and are included in numerous private and museum collections. His books include Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (1993), which received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography; 'Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre': Photographs of a River Life (1995); Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain(1997); Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (2000), and One Place:  Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia (2013).  With Iris Tillman Hill, he edits the Documentary Arts and Culture book series with CDS and University of North Carolina Press.  

Read more about Tom Rankin on CDS Porch

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Margaret Sartor

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Margaret Sartor is a photographer and writer whose past projects include What Was True: The Photographs and Notebooks of William Gedney (with co-editor Geoff Dyer) and the best-selling memoir Miss American Pie: A Diary of Love, Secrets, and Growing up in the 1970s. Her photographs are in many permanent and private collections and have appeared in Aperture, DoubleTake, Esquire, Harper's, and The New Yorker, among other publications. At CDS, Sartor teaches the seminar Photography in Context: Photographic Meaning and the Duke Photography Archive. “Given the centrality of photography in our culture,” she explains, “it seems increasingly important to examine the assumptions that govern our understanding of the medium. In this course, students will analyze bodies of photographic work, taking into consideration their own response to the images, the historical moment in which the pictures were made, the personal history and artistic sensibility of the photographer, the tools of the medium, and the ways in which all of these factors come together to create a meaningful depiction of the world.” Currently, Sartor’s own work, as a writer and a photographer, focuses on her family and childhood home of Monroe, Louisiana.

Read more about Margaret Sartor on CDS Porch

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MJ Sharp

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MJ Sharp has been a documentary photographer and photojournalist for much of the last two decades, working primarily in North Carolina and her native Tennessee. She was the staff photographer at the Independent, an award-winning newsweekly in North Carolina, for most of the 1990s while also freelancing regionally for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, PBS’s Frontline, the Columbia Journalism Review, and the Ford Foundation, among others. She went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and has often been a visiting lecturer at area universities since that time. In recent years she began extensively photographing night landscapes with large-format bellows cameras. That work has been widely exhibited and appeared in Jill Waterman's book, Night and Low-Light Photography, as well as the French online arts journal Edit-Revue. With the support of investors she was able to travel to Scotland to shoot by moonlight in the winter of 2010. Recently, she has taken the long-exposure model indoors to explore common domestic scenes in extreme low-light conditions. Very long exposures, whether by moonlight or reflected hallway light, initiate a particular kind of visual vocabulary only possible with slowly accumulating light on film. That vocabulary, in turn, initiates a particular kind of discussion about what we habitually take time to see and experience and what we routinely overlook and disregard. Samples of her work are available online at
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Christopher Sims 

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Christopher Sims is the Undergraduate Educator Director at the Center for Documentary Studies and a Lecturing Fellow in Documentary Arts. He has an undergraduate degree in history from Duke University, a master’s degree in visual communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a M.F.A. in studio art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has worked as a photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and, at CDS, has coordinated the exhibition, awards, and web programs. His most recent exhibitions include shows at SF Camerawork, the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Houston Center for Photography, the Light Factory, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. His project about Guantanamo Bay was featured in The Washington Post, the BBC World Service, Roll Call, and Flavorwire. He is represented by Ann Stewart Fine Art in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Civilian Art Projects in Washington, D.C., and Clark Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. He was selected as the recipient of the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers in 2010, named one of the "new Superstars of Southern Art by the Oxford American magazine in 2012, and was awarded the Arte Laguna Prize in Photographic Art in 2015.

His work can be seen on the web at

Read more about Christopher Sims on CDS Porch

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Charles Thompson

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Charles Thompson, Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology, is the director of Duke's Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship Program. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Culture from UNC-Chapel Hill. An author and filmmaker, Thompson’s latest works are the 2010 film Brother Townsand the 2011 book Spirits of Just MenHe is currently at work on a book and companion website: Border Odyssey: Traveling the US/Mexico Divide

Visit his personal website at
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Timothy Tyson

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Tim Tyson teaches a large, community-based course called "The South in Black and White: Southern History and Culture Along the Color Line" and various writing and history seminars. His Blood Done Sign My Name was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Southern Book Award, the Grawemeyer Prize, and the Christopher Award, among others.  Tyson's previous books, Radio Free Dixie and the Roots of Black Power and Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, also won major prizes. Tyson's next book, tentatively titled The Blood of Emmett Till, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2015. He serves as state education chair of the North Carolina NAACP and is a devoted barbecue cook, as his students can attest.  

Read more about Timothy Tyson on CDS Porch

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Mike Wiley

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Formerly of Theatre IV and Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, Mike Wiley has more than twelve years of credits in theater for young audiences, plus film, television, and regional theater. An Upward Bound alum and Trio Achiever Award recipient, he is an M.F.A. graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A gifted playwright and actor, Wiley’s overriding goal is expanding cultural awareness for audiences of all ages through dynamic portrayals based on pivotal moments in African American history and, in doing so, helping to unveil a richer picture of the total American experience. Sought by performing arts centers large and small and by educators from middle schools to universities, Wiley’s work will also be featured in the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival. He has been jury-selected for professional industry showcases by both the Midwest Arts Federation and Southern Arts Federation. His expanding rich repertoire of original productions each display his acclaimed ability for bringing to life multiple intertwined characters, with Wiley often portraying more than two dozen persons in a single “one-man” drama. His work includes Blood Done Sign My Name; Life Is So Good; Tired Souls: The Montgomery Bus Boycott; Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till; Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart; Brown v. Board of Education: Over Fifty Years Later; and One Noble Journey: A Box Marked Freedom.

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Mary Williams

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Mary Williams is a performer and scholar of African American musical traditions and has performed all over the United States as well as in Paris. Williams has co-instructed "The South in Black and White" and taught other community-based courses for more than seven years. Working in feature films and documentary theater, she is a frequent collaborator with fellow CDS instructors Tim Tyson and Mike Wiley. She is currently working on a Mahalia Jackson stage play.

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