• Center for Documentary Studies
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Welcome to the site for our yearlong 25th Anniversary celebration. Scroll down or navigate from the menu above to enjoy new content throughout 2015.

Join us November 20–22 for Documentary 2015: Origins and Inventions, our national forum celebrating and exploring documentary today.

Information and Tickets Donate

Who We Are

Created in 1989 through an endowment from the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) opened its doors as a nonprofit affiliate of Duke University in 1990—the first institution in the United States dedicated solely to the rich legacy and continuing practice of the documentary arts. Here, a few words from CDS director Wesley Hogan.

What We Do

Our broad educational mission at CDS is to teach the documentary arts—photography, film/video, audio, writing, and other creative media; to produce and promote documentary work; and to present the documentary arts to audiences at home and abroad. Since our early days, CDS has focused on cultivating new talent in the documentary field, with an emphasis on the role of individual artists in contributing to society.

Teach

*Undergraduate courses in Documentary Studies, taught at Duke, are open to students enrolled at other local universities.
*A wide array of on-site and online classes offered by our Continuing Education program attracts students from around the world.
*The MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts, a unique two-year program, trains sophisticated, creative art practitioners.

Present

*International awards provide project support to documentary artists.
*Five galleries (one off-site) host exhibitions year-round, some of which travel.
*CDS Books feature artists who convey new ways of seeing and understanding.
*The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a world-renowned CDS program.
*Events take place year-round on the Duke campus and beyond—screenings, readings, panels, performances, openings, and more.

Produce

CDS programs and initiatives result in new work:
*Nationally broadcast public radio series
*Photography, film/video, multimedia, writing, and oral history projects
*Student projects across media
*Undergrad and post-grad fellowship initiatives
*Public art and documentary performance pieces

Why We Are Here

Three people central to the success of the Center for Documentary Studies talk about its origins and the ideas that are at the heart of this unique, groundbreaking institution.

Stories

Sometimes, stories need a bit more space to breathe; these vignettes exemplify the spirit, values, and mission of the Center for Documentary Studies.

Celebrate With Us

A series of events throughout the year includes a national Documentary Forum and 25th Anniversary Celebration on November 20–22 that will bring together artists, teachers, journalists, industry leaders, scholars, students/alumni, and supporters to view compelling documentary work and examine central issues in the documentary field, with recognition of deep traditions and an eye toward the future.

Learn More

25th Anniversary Events

EXHIBIT: “From the World to Lynn: Stories of Immigration”

December 1, 2014 - April 13, 2015

A multimedia exhibit by Andrea Patiño Contreras explores a Northeastern city that is a hub of refugee resettlement, Lynn, Massachusetts, where foreign-born residents make up 30 percent of the population,

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EXHIBIT: “Kabul, Afghanistan”

December 9, 2014 - February 20, 2015

“Kabul, Afghanistan” is a powerful exhibit featuring the photographs of documentarian James Longley.

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Fresh Docs Film Screening: “Sacred Sound”

January 30, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund present a free screening of director Robin Arcus’s “Sacred Sound” as part of the Fresh Docs series, which features documentary works-in-progress. “

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

EXHIBIT: “From the World to Lynn: Stories of Immigration”

December 1, 2014 - April 13, 2015

A multimedia exhibit by Andrea Patiño Contreras explores a Northeastern city that is a hub of refugee resettlement, Lynn, Massachusetts, where foreign-born residents make up 30 percent of the population,

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EXHIBIT: “Kabul, Afghanistan”

December 9, 2014 - February 20, 2015

“Kabul, Afghanistan” is a powerful exhibit featuring the photographs of documentarian James Longley.

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Full Frame Winter Series Screening: “Life Itself”

February 5, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival winds up its annual Winter Series with a free screening of “Life Itself,” a film that explores the life and legacy of Roger Ebert, who became one of the most influential cultural voices in America.

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Exhibit : “Veiled Rebellion: Women in Afghanistan”

February 9, 2015 - April 15, 2015

The body of work in “Veiled Rebellion” is the result of acclaimed photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s 2009 commission by “National Geographic” for a comprehensive photo essay depicting the many facets of women’s lives in Afghanistan.

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CDS Continuing Education Information Session

February 9, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Current and prospective students are invited to an information session about CDS’s Continuing Education classes in the documentary arts.

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Screening of James Longley’s “Iraq in Fragments” and “Sari’s Mother”

February 18, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Along with his exhibit of photographs featured in the “Kabul, Afghanistan” exhibit, the Power Plant Gallery will host a screening of James Longley’s acclaimed films “Iraq in Fragments” and “Sari’s Mother.”

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Closing Reception for “Kabul, Afghanistan” Exhibit

February 20, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Closing reception for James Longley’s “Kabul, Afghanistan” exhibit.

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Reception, Talk, and Book Signing with Eric Gottesman

February 26, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Photographer Eric Gottesman, a Duke alum (’98), will talk about his longtime collaborative work with a children’s collective in Ethiopia, Sudden Flowers, featured in his new book of the same name, joined by two members of the collective.

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Fresh Docs Film Screening: “Chairman Jones”

February 27, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund present a free screening of director Anna Jones’ “Chairman Jones” as part of the Fresh Docs series, which features documentary works-in-progress.

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

EXHIBIT: “From the World to Lynn: Stories of Immigration”

December 1, 2014 - April 13, 2015

A multimedia exhibit by Andrea Patiño Contreras explores a Northeastern city that is a hub of refugee resettlement, Lynn, Massachusetts, where foreign-born residents make up 30 percent of the population,

Afghan Women

Exhibit : “Veiled Rebellion: Women in Afghanistan”

February 9, 2015 - April 15, 2015

The body of work in “Veiled Rebellion” is the result of acclaimed photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s 2009 commission by “National Geographic” for a comprehensive photo essay depicting the many facets of women’s lives in Afghanistan.

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An Evening with Leslie Jamison, Kenan-CDS Visiting Writer

March 18, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Writer Leslie Jamison will give a public reading from critically acclaimed essay collection, “The Empathy Exams,” as part of the Kenan–CDS Visiting Writers Series in Ethics, Society, and Documentary Arts, a joint venture of the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics.

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MFA|EDA Thesis Exhibition

March 20, 2015 - April 18, 2015

This spring, the Duke University MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts will celebrate the successes of the class of 2015 in MFA|EDA 2015, the annual thesis exhibition, on view from March 20-April 18.

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“From Opposition to Empathy,” a Conversation with Filmmaker Marco Williams

March 25, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to present a public talk with filmmaker Marco Williams, the 2014—15 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies.

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

EXHIBIT: “From the World to Lynn: Stories of Immigration”

December 1, 2014 - April 13, 2015

A multimedia exhibit by Andrea Patiño Contreras explores a Northeastern city that is a hub of refugee resettlement, Lynn, Massachusetts, where foreign-born residents make up 30 percent of the population,

Afghan Women

Exhibit : “Veiled Rebellion: Women in Afghanistan”

February 9, 2015 - April 15, 2015

The body of work in “Veiled Rebellion” is the result of acclaimed photojournalist Lynsey Addario’s 2009 commission by “National Geographic” for a comprehensive photo essay depicting the many facets of women’s lives in Afghanistan.

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MFA|EDA Thesis Exhibition

March 20, 2015 - April 18, 2015

This spring, the Duke University MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts will celebrate the successes of the class of 2015 in MFA|EDA 2015, the annual thesis exhibition, on view from March 20-April 18.

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The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

April 9, 2015 - April 12, 2015

The annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a CDS program, is one of the premier documentary events in the world.

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Fresh Docs Film Screening: “Earthcaster”

April 24, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund present a free screening of directors Georgann Eubanks and Donna Campbell’s “Earthcaster” as part of the Fresh Docs series, which features documentary works-in-progress.

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Certificate in Documentary Studies Final Project Presentations

April 26, 2015 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Eight undergraduate Certificate in Documentary Studies students will receive their certificates and present a selection of work from their final projects.

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Reception and Talk for “Binnegoed: Coloured & South African Photography”

May 11, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

An exhibit event for “Binnegoed,” an exploration of apartheid through the work of sixteen photographers who lived and worked during that period of state-sanctioned segregation in South Africa.

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Reception and Conversation with Jim Grimsley, Author of “How I Shed My Skin”

May 21, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for a reception with Jim Grimsley, author of “How I Shed My Skin,” followed by a public conversation with Jim Grimsley, author and CDS instructor Tim Tyson, and CDS director Wesley Hogan.

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Fresh Docs Screening of “Truth Underground”

May 29, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of directors Gerret Warner and Mimi Gredy’s “Truth Underground,” which follows “three young North Carolina spoken word poets transforming pain into art as they search for what Maya Angelou called ‘a brave and startling truth.'”

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Film Screening: THE KING OF KONG

June 3, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS is coming to Durham for a one-night-only screening at the Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus! This screening is part of Full Frame’s Third Friday Film Series, a program of The Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC. Third Friday screenings are free and open to the public, but attendees must reserve a ticket via Eventbrite starting at 9am on […]

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Screening of “East Durham Stories”

June 16, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

A local screening will showcase selected short documentaries produced in summer 2014 and 2015 by Continuing Education students in the Center for Documentary Studies‘ annual Documentary Video Institute. Each year, participants from around the country attend this video intensive to learn to scout, shoot, and edit short documentaries on pre-selected topics. For the past two years, topics have centered on the neighborhoods of East Durham, North Carolina, resulting in a multifaceted portrait of the people and […]

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“Border Odyssey” Meet the Author Event with Charlie Thompson

June 23, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Join Duke professor Charlie Thompson, an instructor at the Center for Documentary Studies and director of the B.N. Duke Scholarship Program, for a reading and discussion of his new book “Border Odyssey: Travels along the U.S./Mexico Divide.” Thompson chronicles his journey along the entire U.S.-Mexican border and shifts the conversation away from danger and fear to the shared histories and aspirations that bind Mexicans and Americans despite the border walls. […]

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Audio Under the Stars: Haunted

June 26, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Audio Under the Stars invites you to join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for this summer’s series of free community listening parties. The theme for this month’s show is “Haunted.” What is it you can’t let go? Who—or what—won’t let go of you? If you’ve got stories of obsessions, fixations, otherworldly encounters, or unwholesome interests, open your closet of skeletons and let us have a peek. All Audio […]

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Audio Under the Stars: Dog Days of Summer

July 24, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Audio Under the Stars invites you to join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for this summer’s series of free community listening parties. The theme for this month’s show is “Dog Days of Summer.” It’s not all lazy days and picnics. The Dog Days were once considered an evil time when “wine grew sour and dogs turned mad.” Send us the good and the bad: summer flings and overheated […]

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Exhibit: “Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial”

August 10, 2015 - October 17, 2015

Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial presents thirty of Jessica Ingram’s photographs of locations of historic significance in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee—in Mississippi alone, Medgar Evers’ backyard in Jackson; the Tallahatchie River, where Emmett Till’s body was found; the site of the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. The exhibition also presents audio oral histories from Ingram’s interviews with family members, local people, investigators, and journalists who witnessed, were impacted by, and remember these events.

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Screening: KING GEORGES at Full Frame Theater

August 21, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

KING GEORGES is coming to Durham for a one-night-only screening at the Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus! This screening is part of Full Frame’s Third Friday Film Series, a program of The Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC.

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Closing Reception: “Phone Home Durham” Exhibit

August 22, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

The Power Plant Gallery, a laboratory for the arts at Duke University, invites you to explore an exhibit of crowdsourced digital images celebrating Durham localities and identities in Phone Home Durham. For this exhibition, the Power Plant Gallery invited mobile phone photographers from all walks of life to submit images of Durham County taken with mobile phone cameras or other handheld devices. A public closing reception for the exhibit will be held on Friday, August 21.

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Audio Under the Stars: Alternative Love Stories

August 28, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Audio Under the Stars invites you to join us at the Center for Documentary Studies for this summer’s series of free community listening parties. The theme for this month’s show is “Alternative Love Stories.” What if the person, place or thing that sets your heart strings strumming also sets you apart in some way? What if your Happily Ever After wasn’t? We want to hear about unorthodox cravings, unexpected endings, […]

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Exhibit: “Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial”

August 10, 2015 - October 17, 2015

Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial presents thirty of Jessica Ingram’s photographs of locations of historic significance in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee—in Mississippi alone, Medgar Evers’ backyard in Jackson; the Tallahatchie River, where Emmett Till’s body was found; the site of the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. The exhibition also presents audio oral histories from Ingram’s interviews with family members, local people, investigators, and journalists who witnessed, were impacted by, and remember these events.

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Reception + Artist’s Talk for “Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial”

September 17, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

“Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial” includes thirty framed archival pigment prints as well as an audio component: oral histories at gallery listening stations. A reception will precede Ingram’s talk, which will begin at 7 p.m.

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Film Screening: RACING EXTINCTION

September 24, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

RACING EXTINCTION is coming to Duke University for a one-night-only screening at Duke Gardens! The screening is free and open to the public, and is part of the Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC. This screening will feature a post-film Q&A with Dr. Stuart Pimm, film subject and Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University! Oscar®-winning director Louie Psihoyos (THE COVE) assembles a team of artists and […]

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Fresh Docs Film Screening: “Raising Bertie”

September 25, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund present a free screening of “Raising Bertie” as part of the Fresh Docs series, which features documentary works-in-progress

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Audio Under the Stars: Bad Advice & Second Chances

September 25, 2015 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Some of us have actually paid cash money for a 1974 Dodge Dart. Tell us your stories about when you listened to your Uncle Leo rather than your common sense and a Consumer Reports review, or any other time you told that small voice in your head to shut up and sit down, and how you’ve lived to tell the tale.

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Brown Bag Lunch with Sonja D. Williams

September 29, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

A lunchtime conversation with broadcast journalist, documentarian, and professor Sonja D. Williams. Further details are forthcoming.

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Artist’s Talk: “Guantanamo Bay and The Library at Camp Delta” with Christopher Sims

September 30, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Photographer Chris Sims of the Duke Center for Documentary Studies traveled to the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Military restrictions made it impractical to photograph people, so he photographed the environments that people there have created and that they inhabit.

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Reception & Artist Talk with Bayeté Ross Smith

September 30, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Artist Bayeté Ross Smith discusses ‘Question Bridge: Black Males’ and his other works, including ‘Got the Power’, which references the role of boom boxes in urban communities through the use of ambient sound, music, and oral history at a reception and artist¿s talk at the Center for Documentary Studies, on September 30, 2015, 6-8 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Power Plant Gallery at Duke University, The Center for Documentary Studies, MFA […]

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Exhibit: “Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial”

August 10, 2015 - October 17, 2015

Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial presents thirty of Jessica Ingram’s photographs of locations of historic significance in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee—in Mississippi alone, Medgar Evers’ backyard in Jackson; the Tallahatchie River, where Emmett Till’s body was found; the site of the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Neshoba County. The exhibition also presents audio oral histories from Ingram’s interviews with family members, local people, investigators, and journalists who witnessed, were impacted by, and remember these events.

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Film Screening: THE WOLFPACK at the Full Frame Theater

October 16, 2015 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

THE WOLFPACK is returning to Durham for a one-night-only free screening at the Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus! This screening is part of Full Frame’s Third Friday Film Series, a program of the Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC.

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Two Videos and a Conversation about Documentary Film

October 27, 2015 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Join Duke Graduate Liberal Studies and the Center for Documentary Studies for “Two Videos and a Conversation about Documentary Film”. Rhonda Klevansky, MALS graduate (2014) will screen two of her documentaries with conversations to follow: One Band Indivisible – One Band Indivisible is an intimate portrait of Hillside High School’s charismatic show-style high marching band. This observational documentary underlines the importance of arts in education. It reveals the positive influence […]

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Exhibit: “South Side” by Jon Lowenstein

October 29, 2015 @ 8:00 am - February 27, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

Photographs and writings from Jon Lowenstein’s 2014 Lange-Taylor prizewinning project, “South Side.”

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Exhibition Opening Event: Jon Lowenstein’s “South Side”

October 29, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Jon Lowenstein on “South Side,” his Lange-Taylor Prizewinning cross-media project on his Chicago neighborhood; exhibition on view at CDS through February 28, 2016. Artist’s talk to begin at 7pm, preceded by a reception at 6pm.

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Exhibit: “South Side” by Jon Lowenstein

October 29, 2015 @ 8:00 am - February 27, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

Photographs and writings from Jon Lowenstein’s 2014 Lange-Taylor prizewinning project, “South Side.”

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Documentary 2015: Origins & Inventions

November 20, 2015 @ 8:00 am - November 22, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

A national forum hosted by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University bringing together photographers, filmmakers, podcasters, writers, media professionals, educators, and organizations working in innovative, influential ways in the documentary field.

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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Exhibit: “South Side” by Jon Lowenstein

October 29, 2015 @ 8:00 am - February 27, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

Photographs and writings from Jon Lowenstein’s 2014 Lange-Taylor prizewinning project, “South Side.”

Check back as we continue to add events throughout the year!

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