Documentary Diversity Project

Mama Ruth, New Providence, Bahamas 2015. Photograph by Tamika Galanis, current Post-MFA Fellow in CDS’s Documentary Diversity Project.
Mama Ruth, New Providence, Bahamas 2015. Photograph by Tamika Galanis, current Post-MFA Fellow in CDS’s Documentary Diversity Project.

“One of our priorities is to diversify the nonfiction storytellers of this country, so that in twenty years’ time they will more accurately reflect who we are, and the astonishing range of experiences and backgrounds of Americans living in a global world.” —Center for Documentary Studies director Wesley Hogan

Who gets to tell the stories that shape our worldview? The Center for Documentary Studies is creating a more inclusive answer to that question with the Documentary Diversity Project (DDP), made possible in part by a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. The three-year pilot program builds pathways for more people of color to become nonfiction filmmakers, audio producers, photographers, writers, and new media artists. DDP participants, working closely with CDS faculty, staff, and visiting artists, expand their skills and portfolios during extended residencies that pay a living wage. Says DDP program coordinator William Page, “Offering these longer-term opportunities meeting living-wage standards means overcoming family and individual resource restrictions, a fundamental reason many emerging, underrepresented artists of color cannot enter—or eventually drop out of—the field.”

DDP participants include Post-MFA Fellows in the Documentary Arts as well as young Emerging Documentary Artists who access the resources of the university while also engaging with undergraduates in the classroom and in fieldwork projects.

CDS’s local partners for the Documentary Diversity Project pilot include Durham PROUD Program, Durham County Teen Court & Restitution Program, Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center, Achievement Academy of Durham, and Rebound: Alternatives for Youth.

More information about the Documentary Diversity Project, including how to support this important initiative.