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Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program Overview

Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of Lewis Hine, the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program connects the talents of young documentarians with the resources and needs of organizations serving children and their communities around the world.

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Lewis W. Hine

A staff member for the National Child Labor Committee from 1906 to 1918, Lewis W. Hine traveled the United States, camera in hand, to document children at work in sweatshops, in slums, in factories, and on farms. Over a thirty-year period, Hine's photographs were used to advocate for legislation against the exploitation of children and, in 1938, were instrumental in convincing Congress to include child labor reforms in the Fair Labor Standards Act. One of contemporary history’s most ardent artist-activists, Lewis Hine helped lay the foundation for the social documentary photographic tradition in America. 

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Shared Vision for Social Change

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) was founded in 1989 as the first university-affiliated institution in the United States dedicated to documentary fieldwork as an interdisciplinary mode of inquiry, drawing upon photography, filmmaking, audio, oral history, folklore, and writing as catalysts for education and change. CDS supports the active examination of contemporary society, the recognition of collaboration as central to documentary work, and the presentation of experiences that heighten historical and cultural awareness. CDS has been recognized nationally and internationally for its pioneering work, conducted through courses, research, oral history and other fieldwork, gallery and traveling exhibitions, annual awards, book publishing, radio and other audio programs, community-based projects, and public events. The Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program is the first postgraduate program at the Center for Documentary Studies.

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Focus on Women, Adolescents, and Children 

The Lewis Hine Program places Fellows with organizations seeking creative solutions to the specific problems faced by women, adolescents, and children in poor, marginalized areas. Fellows have a chance to engage directly with the social fabric of the communities: parents, schools, health clinics, and other local structures. For both Fellows and host organizations, work with mothers and children is an integrated pathway into community life.

The Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program is part of a long-standing commitment to youth-focused work at the Center for Documentary Studies. Over the years CDS has been home to a number of courses and programs that cultivate and amplify the voices and perspectives of children, including such innovative projects as Literacy Through Photography, Community Stories, Youth Document Durham, and Children and the Experience of Illness. The Hine Fellows Program joins these CDS efforts to emphasize the special concerns and conditions of children.

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Image above: Dear Husband, Beatriz gets smarter every day. She speaks to you all the time using the TV's remote control as a telephone. When she behaves badly, I grab my sandal, and she goes under the bed and calls your name. She and Erick say that they are going to São Paulo to be with you.—Glicinha. From Pai, Estou Te Esperando / Father, I Am Waiting for You, by 2007-2008 Lewis Hine Fellow Emma Raynes.

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