Applications Open for DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures

Applications Open for DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures

Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies is now accepting applications for our DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures – a week-long convening of documentary artists, scholars and nontraditional/independent researchers.

About the Lab

“While not accepting could be termed resistance, our interest and proposition … are, more crucially, with re-existence, understood as the redefining and resignifying of life in conditions of dignity.” –On Decoloniality, Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh

DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures is activated by Walsh’s formulation of decoloniality as not just against, not just resistance, but for the ongoing creation of ways of thinking, knowing, being and living outside and despite coloniality, toward the nurturance of an otherwise imagination. Inspired by the thinking of the Practicing Refusal Collective, we invite fellows to explore the generative and creative possibilities of disorderly power and to embrace the possibility of living and making otherwise.

The Invitation

This development lab aims to support artists and researchers (working within academia and independent researchers) whose archival practices, documentary art practices and scholarship seek to explore the history and possibility of living, thinking, being and sensing otherwise. What are your bold visions for making and remaking worlds, past and present?

No project is too big, small, personal or political. We are energized by microcommunity histories or the creation/preservation of community archives; critical fabulations; experiments in cocreation and socially engaged practices; and everything in between. This is an opportunity to invest in the potential of documentary practice to forward counter-knowledge and potential histories; imagine speculative futures; interrogate what it means to listen and hear community, and ourselves; articulate decolonial imaginations; weigh our embodied and situated knowledge; trouble matters of address and agency; and be in communion with these questions and with each other.

A cohort of 8-10 participants, including a mix of documentary artists, independent researchers and scholars, will be brought together at Duke University from April 4-12, 2024, and guided by lead artist facilitator Nyssa Chow (oral historian, writer and interdisciplinary artist) to engage in dialogue; share their practice and proposed work; explore interdisciplinary collaboration; and receive feedback during a week-long intensive that coincides with the 2024 Full Frame Documentary Film FestivalIn addition to travel and lodging support, each fellow will be awarded $10,000.

The intensive lab is a unique opportunity for documentary artists working across disciplines, including filmmakers, photographers and audio artists, as well as researchers, to gather and develop new ideas alongside each other. During the week, fellows will hear from guest artists and meet Duke University scholars and industry leaders to connect and network toward future opportunities to exhibit, publish, teach, develop, produce and/or further distribute their work. By curating an interdisciplinary cohort, we can learn from each other and consider exciting ways to hack traditional avenues of creating and exhibiting work.

Applications open on October 25, 2023, and close on November 27, 2023.

Who Should Apply?

Artists with an active documentary art practice who, through their practice or proposed project, are investigating or posing questions, thinking deeply/meaningfully/intentionally about the otherwise of form, audience, knowledge, histories, ways of being or ways of knowing. We invite artists who are eager for a space to pose questions and think deeply alongside a like-minded community.

Nontraditional/independent researchers and/or caretakers of academic, personal or community-based collections: Perhaps you have been quietly preserving the archive of a community; an under-recognized lived history of a movement; or even an intimate family archive and have a vision that you would like to realize as a documentary arts project. This lab is a space to develop your ideas, gather resources for their realization and find community with like-minded artists, independent researchers and scholars. Applications for nontraditional/independent researchers will be evaluated based on their vision for the documentary arts project.

Scholars working within academia who have a bold vision to translate their scholarship into a public-facing documentary art project. We wish to support dynamic collaborations and articulations of cocreative practice and participatory scholarship. Projects should be at the development stage or later. Applications for scholars will be evaluated based on their vision for the documentary arts project. Scholars are welcome to apply with their community collaborator.

Who Are We?

DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures is the second iteration of the initiative that began with the community of artists, dreamers and thinkers that convened in 2021 for the DocX Archive Lab How Are We Known? Reimagining, Repurposing, and Rewriting the Archive.

Collage of participants interacting during DocX Archive Lab in 2021
Scenes from DocX Archive Lab in 2021

We believe that joy, fellowship and reciprocal care for each other’s process and intentions are requisite if we are to create the kind of generative space that imagining, knowing and being possible otherwise requires. To that end, fellows and guest speakers share meals, take nature walks and attend screenings and exhibitions together. Impromptu conversations generate questions, revelations and points of interconnection that shape art practices and enrich our dialogues.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply via our submission portal. Applications are open beginning October 25, 2023. The deadline to apply is November 27, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. EST.

Finalists will be notified by February 9, 2024, and final decisions will be announced by February 28, 2024. See links to appropriate applications below:

For technical support related to uploading files, please contact SlideRoom. A technical guide for how to register and upload your files is also available. Any additional questions about the application and intensive can be submitted to


Who is eligible?

Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the U.S., and be at least 25 years old. Applicants can be from any demographic background, but we highly encourage Black, brown, queer, trans, and disabled artists and researchers to apply. Those applying as artists must not be currently enrolled in a full-time degree-granting program. Those applying as independent researchers or scholars can be enrolled in a Ph.D. program. Duke University students, faculty and staff are not eligible to apply. Duke alumni must have graduated at least two years ago.

Who should apply?

Documentary artists who see the value in creating alongside other artists working in different mediums. Researchers who would like to explore how they might present their scholarship or community archive in a creative documentary project. Documentary artists who are still developing their project. The lab aims to be a catalytic moment in the development of a new project. The goal is for artists and researchers to leave the lab propelled, excited and encouraged for the next stage of their new project.

When will applicants be notified?

Applicants will be notified by February 28, 2024.

Can artist collectives apply?

Artist teams of two are eligible to apply but must share the stipend. An artist team should apply with one application and include samples of work created together or by each artist.

How is the stipend disbursed?

The stipend will be disbursed at the end of the intensive.

What is the time commitment?

Selected applicants must be available to attend the entire intensive in Durham, North Carolina, from April 4-12, 2024, as well as two preliminary virtual meetings prior to the in-person portion. Inability to attend all parts of the lab forfeits participation and the stipend.