Becoming a Hine Fellow

Photo by 2018-19 Hine Fellow Elliott Golden from "Safe Enough to Bloom,"  book made in collaboration with students at West Brooklyn Community High School.
Photo by 2018-19 Hine Fellow Elliott Golden from "Safe Enough to Bloom,"  book made in collaboration with students at West Brooklyn Community High School. 

Applications Suspended

SPRING 2023 UPDATE: The Hine Fellows Program is in a strategic planning phase and not currently accepting applications.

Eligibility and Selection Process

Current Duke University seniors, recent graduates of Duke University, 2nd year or recent graduates of Duke's MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts students, students and graduates of the CDS Certificate in Documentary Arts program, and recent Robertson Scholar graduates of Duke and UNC, are eligible to apply for Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowships, part of a longstanding commitment to youth-focused work at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS).  Fellowships are awarded each year in a competitive application and interview process. For more specific information, contact Program Director EB Landesberg at

Fellows bring a range of talents and interests to the program. All Lewis Hine Fellows have diverse academic backgrounds, training in one or more documentary methods, significant documentary field experience, and direct service experience. Fellows can also receive further training in documentary production from the Hine staff or through additional classes and workshops at CDS.


Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowships are granted for ten-month terms that begin in the fall. Fellows are matched with host organizations whose expertise and needs fit their particular interests and skills. Currently all Lewis Hine Fellows are placed with host organizations in greater New York City.

Each Fellow works as a full-time staff member of the organization, taking on a job title and a defined scope of work. Fellows’ primary job description is to initiate and carry out a documentary project focused thematically on issues important to their host organization. Experienced mentors are chosen within each organization to help to advise Fellows on their work throughout the fellowship.


Fellows receive support from their host organizations and the Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program. Funding covers moving costs, a living stipend, and resources for documentary fieldwork.

Fellows also receive guidance and feedback from Hine staff regarding project development, technical production, and any other issues that might arise.

Project Development and Dissemination

Upon completion of their fellowships, each Lewis Hine Fellow is responsible for bringing at least one significant documentary project to completion. Fellows are also responsible for working with Hine and CDS staff to turn in a version of their final project that will be published on the Center for Documentary Studies website. The dissemination of Lewis Hine Fellows’ work is intended to reach a broad spectrum of audiences. Current fellows will work with Hine/CDS staff and their host organization’s staff to find the most appropriate ways to disseminate their work. 

In the program’s 14 years of existence, Fellows have collectively produced dozens of audio pieces, over 30 short films, websites, multimedia presentations, essays, educational booklets and over 65 photography exhibits across the country and world, projects that have been seen in bus stops, churches, museums, conferences, galleries, universities, policy institutes, at the World Bank, and at the United Nations. 

After the Hine Fellowship

After the fellowship, Lewis Hine Fellows follow a variety of paths. Past Fellows have gone on to graduate programs in medicine, cultural anthropology, law, development, public health, and city planning. Some Fellows have continued to develop their media abilities, either through graduate work or by working with experts in photography, audio, or video. Still others have found jobs that enable them to bring their documentary skills to their work in teaching, community organizing, and capacity building.