“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.” —Wesley Hogan, Center for Documentary Studies director (2013–2020)
Who gets to tell the stories that shape our worldview? The Center for Documentary Studies worked to create a more inclusive answer to that question with the Documentary Diversity Project (DDP), a three-year pilot program—2017–2020—made possible in part by a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. The goal of the program was 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. DDP participants, working closely with CDS faculty, staff, and visiting artists, expanded their skills and portfolios during extended residencies that paid a living wage. Said William Page, who served as DDP program coordinator, “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 included Post-MFA Fellows in the Documentary Arts as well as young Emerging Documentary Artists who had access to the resources of the university while also engaging with undergraduates and continuing education students in the classroom and in fieldwork projects.
CDS’s local partners for the Documentary Diversity Project pilot included Durham PROUD Program, Durham County Teen Court & Restitution Program, Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center, Achievement Academy of Durham, and Rebound: Alternatives for Youth.
The project was active 2017–2020.
More information about the Documentary Diversity Project.