Welcome to the Virtual Celebration and Graduate Presentation for the Certificate in Documentary Arts, earned at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University. Typically an in-person event, this is a moment to celebrate the brilliance and perseverance of our graduates as they head into the world as documentary change agents with all knowledge of the power and fervor of their voices in the world.

Artist Sherrill Roland, a Post-MFA Fellow in the Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) in 2018–19, was awarded the 2020 Southern Prize by South Arts on May 18. Winning a South Arts State Fellowship put Roland in competition for the prestigious $25,000 prize, which includes a residency at the Hambidge Center.

A diptych featuring a photo of Sherrill Roland on the left and a photo from the Jumpsuit Project DC walk on the right.

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.

A photo of James Robinson

Zoom screenshot of Spring 2020 Capstone Seminar students with instructor Chris Sims, CDS's undergraduate education director (top right)

A screenshot of a Zoom call for the last class of the semester, featuring CDS students and Chris Sims

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is offering undergraduate credit courses as part of Duke University’s Summer School Session I, providing an opportunity for students to engage with some of our most popular courses. These discounted remote learning courses are open to undergraduates from any university or college. Current Duke students have an exclusive window to register for Duke Summer Session I courses through April 28 before open spaces are made available to the general public.

A photo of a microphone.

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

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.