Programs & Production

Current Featured Programs

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is one of the world’s premiere showcases for nonfiction cinema. Renowned for its film curation, support for artists and vibrant atmosphere, Full Frame draws an international mix of attendees to Durham every spring. Over four days in April, the Academy Award®–qualifying festival screens over 50 films, hosts panels and parties, and fosters community among filmmakers, industry professionals and audience members. The most recent festival took place April 4-7, 2024.

Literacy Through Photography

Literacy Through Photography is a teaching methodology that encourages children to explore their worlds as they photograph scenes from their own lives. The program continues its decades-long work with students and teachers in Durham Public Schools, working across different curricula and disciplines by connecting picture making with writing and critical thinking.


The DocX initiative is driven by what documentary artists need to make their work most resonant in the world. The current offering is the DocX Development Lab–Otherwise Histories, Otherwise Futures.

Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professorship

The Center for Documentary Studies coordinates the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professorship in documentary studies and American studies at Duke and UNC–Chapel Hill.


CDS creates and supports the production of original work that challenges our assumptions, awakens our social conscience, and connects life, learning and art. Books, audio programs and special projects create new ways of seeing and understanding the human experience in all its diversity.

CDS books are works of creative exploration by writers and photographers who convey new ways of seeing and understanding human experience in all its diversity — books that tell stories, challenge our assumptions, awaken our social conscience and connect life, learning and art.

Series: Documentary Arts and Culture

In a time when the tools of documentary are becoming accessible to wider groups of people and universities are founding programs to teach theories and traditions in documentary studies, CDS and the University of North Carolina Press have joined together to publish a series of books that promote the practice of documentary expression. Drawing on the perspectives of contemporary documentary artists and writers, books in the series offer new ways to think about learning and doing documentary work and help build a historical and theoretical base for the study and practice of documentary.


CDS’s periodic publication, Document, has featured some of the best documentary work that CDS has supported and produced, as well as news and information about our programs and projects. Past issues:

Scene on Radio

Scene on Radio is a two-time Peabody Award–nominated podcast that asks big, hard questions about who we are and how we got this way. Launched in 2015, Scene on Radio was supported by CDS through its fifth season; it is currently supported by Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics.

  • Season 1 featured a mix of stand-alone and multiple-episode stories.
  • Season 2, Seeing White, explored the history and meaning of whiteness and was nominated for a Peabody Award.
  • Season 3, MEN, delved into sexism, patriarchy and misogyny.
  • Season 4, The Land That Never Has Been Yet, earned another Peabody nomination for its exploration of democracy in America—past and present.
  • Season 5, The Repair, looked at the cultural roots of the climate crisis and the deep changes Western society will need to make to save the Earth and our species.


CDS exhibits are currently paused.