After a national search, the Center for Documentary Studies is delighted to announce that Michael Betts II will be joining us April 13, 2020, as CDS Courses Director, leading our continuing education program into an even brighter future.

A photo of Michael Betts II

March 16, 2020

In accordance with Duke University's current policies and guidelines related to coronavirus / COVID-19, the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) has canceled or postponed on-site classes and events until May 7, a deadline which may be extended. Our building is currently closed to everyone. CDS staff, faculty, and students are working, teaching, and learning remotely. Future updates will be posted to this page as soon as possible.

The Center for Documentary Studies offers a wide variety of continuing education classes and workshops—CDS Courses—in documentary film/video, photography, audio, writing, and more. A timeline of Spring and Summer 2020 classes is available on the CDS Courses registration site. Duke community members receive a 10% discount off registration fees. The following Spring 2020 film-focused classes start soon.

A woman using a camera with a shoulder rig, the camera pointed ad a group of students around the table in a classroom.

Season 4 of Scene on Radio, the Peabody-nominated podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies, launches January 8, 2020. Over the course of 12 biweekly episodes, host John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika will explore a theme both evergreen and immediately urgent: democracy in America.

Listen to a season preview:

A banner for Season 4 of Scene on Radio, with an excerpt of a Langston Hughes poem highlighting one line

John Cohen (center) onstage at Owen Theatre, Mars Hill, North Carolina, 2004. Photograph by Tom Rankin.

Tom Rankin, Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary and Director of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke, remembers “a singular documentary artist.”

John Cohen (center) onstage at Owen Theatre, Mars Hill, North Carolina, 2004. Photograph by Tom Rankin.

The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to introduce the 2019–2020 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows, all of whom will be working with community-based organizations in New York City; scroll down for more information on Mariana Calvo, Alex Cunningham, Katie King, and Azzan Quick.

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University is pleased to announce a National Endowment for the Humanities award to conduct “The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives (1940–1980)” in July 2020. The institute was offered for the first time in summer 2018; for the 2020 institute, CDS is again working in partnership with the SNCC Legacy Project and Teaching for Change.  

Participants at the first NEH-funded summer institute in 2018 toured the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice.

Delhi-based photographer Chandan Gomes will be in residence at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) September 24–28, 2019. Public events with Gomes will be at the Rubenstein Arts Center.

The residency is part of a programming and curricular initiative, "Imaginary Landscapes: Teacher-Students-Artists,” by Center for Documentary Studies undergraduate education director Christopher Sims and Literacy Through Photography director Katie Hyde and is funded by the Duke India Initiative.

An image of the artist, Chandan Gomes.

The Julia Harper Day Award was created by the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) in 1992 in memory of the young woman who was CDS’s first staff member, a writer and photographer of real accomplishment. This $500 award goes to a graduating Duke University senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and contributed significantly to CDS programs. This year’s Julia Harper Day Award goes to Hangzhou (China), native Sini Nina Chen, a public policy major graduating with a Certificate in Documentary Studies as well as a Certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies.

A portrait of Sini Nina Chen

On April 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C., the Center for Documentary Studies Post-MFA Fellow in the Documentary Arts, Sherrill Roland, will perform his acclaimed interactive art piece, The Jumpsuit Project, at events presented by Georgetown University’s Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery and the school’s Prisons and Justice Initiative. There will be performance events at the gallery open to the public, as well as a six-mile walk, part of which is open to the public. Scroll down for schedule.

Graphic featuring Sherrill in an orange jumpsuit sitting in front of a whiteboard