Jobs & Opportunities

Assistant Director of Development, Center for Documentary Studies
Call for Emerging Documentary Artists


Call for Emerging Documentary Artists

As part of a strategic priority to diversify the documentary field, the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University invites applications from young people of color (ages 18–24) from groups underrepresented in the documentary arts who are not in school full-time for a twelve-month, full-time Emerging Documentary Artist (EDA) position, to begin on July 1, 2019. The position is part of CDS’s Documentary Diversity Project (DDP), a three-year pilot program whose goal is to build pathways for more people of color to engage with the documentary arts—photography, film, video, writing, audio, experimental and new media—and to become nonfiction storytellers, gatekeepers, and critical consumers; to support their achievements; and to promote their work. The pilot is made possible, in part, by a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.

Learn more about the Documentary Diversity Project (DDP).
Learn more about CDS’s mission and strategic priorities.

Job Description

The EDA position is designed to support and facilitate opportunities to learn about (even if for the first time), explore, and develop a critical lens through which to view, engage with, and make documentary art; to network and build relationships with a cohort of peers, mentors, and others working in and around the documentary arts; and to delve deeply into a particular documentary project and/or other documentary work of choice.

Though the position is flexible and can vary depending on past experience, personal/artistic goals, and other factors, for some EDAs it might be divided, roughly, into the following three segments, each intended to build upon those preceding it.

  • First four months: EDA works in a CDS program area and/or alongside CDS faculty, staff, artists, and program mentors, exploring and developing their skills and experience with audio, photography, writing, film, and/or other documentary mediums. EDA participates in group program activities (workshops, classes, trips, etc.) to further develop and encourage community connections and their voice in the arts.
  • Second four months: While continuing to work alongside CDS faculty, staff, artists, and program mentors and participating in group program activities, EDA plans and works on their own documentary project.
  • Third four months: EDA continues to work on their own documentary project, explores opportunities for sharing their work with the larger community, and receives support as they plan for their next steps (within the documentary arts or otherwise).

Overall, the position is designed to allow a balance of structured opportunities for learning and connection and time for independent, self-directed work. In the past, group program activities have included but not been limited to:

  • Weekly meetings for viewing and discussing documentary work and topics of interest, sharing work in progress, and giving and getting feedback and critique
  • Direct engagement with visiting artists and others working in and around the arts (whether at CDS or elsewhere)
  • Group trips to and participation in exhibits, discussions, artist talks, screenings, festivals, and other local arts and cultural events
  • Long-term engagement in CDS’s Literacy Through Photography program, including involvement in work at a Durham middle school
  • Participation in CDS’s Continuing Education program, including introductory seminars in documentary traditions and ethics, digital printing courses, and summer intensive courses in photography, nonfiction writing, audio, and video
  • Various workshops (whether at CDS or elsewhere), including those covering oral history and interviewing techniques, audio editing, T-shirt design, poetry, and general creativity
  • Preparation for and submission of work to a CDS exhibition

In addition, EDAs in the DDP’s first cohort have engaged in independent study, research, and various forms of field work; made zines, short films, creative writing pieces, music, and photo projects; and pursued opportunities to share their work with the larger community (including solo exhibitions).

What CDS will provide:

  • A full-time, 12-month, paid position (with health benefits), generally intended to provide the space and time to create, refine, and enhance an artistic portfolio and resume, among other things.
  • Access to office space (and parking), computers, audiovisual equipment, labs/editing software, general materials, libraries/archives (Duke University), and continuing education courses.
  • Access to CDS’s long-established local and national networks for collaboration and creative exchange.
  • Programming to support and enhance knowledge of the documentary arts and mediums, as well as professional and artistic development.
  • Opportunities for engagement and one-on-one mentoring with a variety of successful documentary makers, educators, and other professionals.
  • Opportunities to present work publicly.


Individuals selected for this position are expected to:

  • Contribute to a creative, open environment by building relationships, engaging in dialogue, and sharing lived experiences.
  • Maintain regular, open lines of communication with program staff, peers, mentors, and others involved in the program.
  • Engage in all group program activities and other (potentially independent) work at CDS and/or in the community full-time for twelve months.
  • Engage in supported, ongoing reflection on successes, challenges, and overall experience to help CDS gauge program impact.

Application Requirements/Eligibility:

  • Candidates from groups underrepresented in the documentary field—including Black, Latinx, Native American (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian), Asian or Asian American, Pacific Islander, Puerto Rican, and Middle Eastern/North African—are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate some form of artistic engagement (all creative forms encouraged) and interest in exploring the documentary arts (no previous experience in the documentary arts required).
  • Preference will be given to applicants who will be between the ages of 18 and 24 on the proposed start date (July 1, 2019).
  • Preference will be given to applicants who are currently living in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Applicants should not have plans to be enrolled in school full-time or working elsewhere full-time while participating in the program (from July 2019 to June 2020).

Application Materials Required:

  • Completed online application form, including contact information for one to two references (community leaders, teachers, mentors, etc.) who can speak to your character, leadership potential, and/or your creative work.
  • Examples of your own artistic work, submitted or available online/electronically. Possibilities include but are not limited to photography (up to ten photos); a short film, video, recorded spoken word piece, theatrical performance, or recorded dance (up to five minutes total from one or more pieces); Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, or other social media accounts (content downloaded and submitted or publicly available online/electronically); music (up to two songs); drawings (up to five); and writing (up to five pages single-spaced). These times and quantities are approximate.

Applicants must fill out the application form and upload examples of their work online at by Monday, April 22, 2019.
Please direct any questions to


Assistant Director of Development, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

Duke University and the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) aspire to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values. The CDS community is committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion to achieve and sustain excellence. CDS invites applications from a widely diverse cross-section of professionals to further enrich diversity among our staff and the study and practice of documentary and related disciplines.

Occupation Summary:

Reporting to the Development Director at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS), the Assistant Director of Development will be responsible for the planning, coordination, and implementation of a comprehensive annual giving, engagement, and stewardship program.  The Assistant Director will identify, cultivate, and solicit individual prospects and leadership donors through individual outreach and coordination with CDS staff, faculty, and volunteers.  The Assistant Director will be responsible for the development and implementation of an engagement and stewardship program that will help to identify new donors or volunteers, retain supporters, cultivate increased giving, increase awareness of CDS and its programs, and provide constituents opportunities for engagement with CDS.

Work Performed:

Annual Giving

  • Oversee, coordinate, and implement annual giving programs that will increase support for CDS’s unrestricted fund and special initiatives.
  • Work closely with the Development Assistant to establish and maintain tools and/or processes that will assist in the analyses, evaluation, and reporting of annual giving programs.
  • Assist in the development of budgetary recommendations for annual giving efforts; record and accurately report on actual costs and evaluate the use of funds within assigned programs and activities.
  • Stay current on the wide variety of CDS programs and associated giving opportunities.

Prospect Management and Development

  • Develop and maintain personal relationships with CDS alumni, prospects, friends, and donors via telephone, email, online platforms, and domestic and local travel, in order to qualify interest, cultivate awareness, secure support, and provide stewardship.
  • Support overall efforts to grow and enrich CDS’s prospect pipeline.
  • Assist in the identification, cultivation, and transition of potential major gift supporters.
  • Coordinate donor strategies and efforts with the Full Frame Development Associate.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of the annual CDS Development Plan.

Engagement and Stewardship

  • Lead the development, implementation, and coordination of an overall engagement program that will help to identify new supporters and volunteers, raise awareness of CDS and its programs, and bring value and benefit to CDS.
  • Assist in the development, roll-out, and communication of a new comprehensive stewardship program.
  • Assist with the development and production of materials and digital content that can be used to cultivate, solicit, and steward supporters.

Collaboration and Special Initiatives

  • Collaborate with gift officers from other Duke University schools and units on identifying, cultivating, and soliciting multi-interest prospects.
  • Act as a CDS representative on University-wide special initiatives meetings and/or groups.
  • Participate on various CDS committees and groups.
  • Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

Preferred Qualifications: 

Bachelor’s degree required. Three years of experience in alumni affairs, public relations, fund raising, sales and promotions, marketing, student activities or a related field in order to acquire skills necessary to administer, coordinate and/or participate in general fund-raising activities and proposal development. Candidates should possess a demonstrated knowledge of and ability to work effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures. Familiarity with and appreciation of Duke University, arts organization, or higher education fundraising preferred. 

Candidates must demonstrate successful project management experience, including meeting numerous deadlines and objectives and managing multiple concurrent projects with limited resources. Excellent communication skills are required. Experience and comfort in interacting with prospects from a variety of different communities, class years, and professional backgrounds. Required technical skills include proficiency with Word, PowerPoint, and Excel as well as a willingness and ability to master Access and SAP-based database tools.

Must have a strong work ethic and be able to work in a fast-paced, results-oriented team environment. Ability to work evenings, weekends, and travel as needed. Creativity, adaptability, diplomatic skills, and sense of humor needed to be successful in this job.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.


Two (2) steps are necessary. Please note applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

  1. Send cover letter, resume, and three references to (with Assistant Director of Development Search in the subject line) or to the mailing address below. Your cover letter should outline how your qualifications, work history, and experience make you a good fit for this position (References will not be called without the candidate’s knowledge).

Assistant Director of Development Search
Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
1317 West Pettigrew Street
Durham, NC  27705

  1. Go to the Duke University jobs site and follow the instructions to submit an application for the following requisition number: 401562299.