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Skidmore College
MDOCs title

Documentary Studies - Fall 2022 Courses


NOTE:  All courses listed as DS count towards Skidmore College's Media and Film Studies Minor

Course Descriptions

DS 119B - Contemporary Poetry Spoken Word
Olivia McKee
Fri, 12:20-2:20pm, (2 cr)

The contemporary poetry scene boasts writers and performers who articulate the specific, the joyful, the caustic, the queer, the loudly private and privately loud happenings of the times we live in. Condemning violence, honoring identity, valuing personal experience, contemporary poets spotlight the tender birthplace of change. In this course students can expect to create and analyze poetry and performance and hone their understanding of poetic, literary, and performance devices. We will aim for an accessible, reflective, creative space as we examine what it means to tell our own stories: how do racism, xenophobia, ableism, and heterosexism affect whose stories get told? Where are the lines between amplification, exploitation, and appropriation? Drawing on personal lineage as well as histories of oral tradition and the Black arts movement that birthed the present-day slam scene, we will examine the vitality of poetry. Honoring content from important spoken word poets and writers like Fatimah Asghar, Porsha Olayiwola, Franny Choi, Dominique Christina, Ocean Vuong, Javon Johnson, adrienne maree brown, and Olivia Gatwood, this course aims to explore personal lineage as fertile ground for true storytelling, activism, and healing. (Not for liberal arts credit.)

DS 205 - Participation, Co-Creation, Social Practice
Tu/Th, 12:40-2:00pm, (3 cr)

Participation, Co-creation, Social Practice - An exploration of participatory approaches to documentary, performance, and artistic creation within the wider landscape of socially-engaged art or Social Practice Art. The socially-engaged or participatory art methodologies enlist non-artists as collaborators alongside professional artists, question the line that divides these two categories, and critique exclusivity and elitism within art itself. In both studying and creating Social Practice Art, student will consider questions such as How is access to the means of cultural production related to agency and power? How does art articulate or create community? What is or should be the place of creativity in the lives of individuals and societies?

DS 251B - Storytelling Toolkit - Video
Jesse O'Connell
Wed, 2:10-4:10pm, (2 cr)

Fundamentals of storytelling. Any storyteller, whether evidence-based or creative, needs a toolkit of skills to present a story. These skill-up classes offer students an introduction to basic production and/or post-production skills used in evidence-based or creative storytelling. Students will either bring existing content and apply the new skill, or work with project materials supplied by the faculty member.

DS 251C - Explorations in Documentary Photography
Emily Vallee
Tu/Th, 2:10-3:30pm, (3 cr)

This course will introduce students to the practice of documentary photography. The history, theory and politics of non-fiction storytelling will be examined and discussed through readings, lectures, the work of past and present photographers and class field trips. Students will experiment with a variety of different documentary styles and begin to develop their own personal documentary practice. By the end of the semester, students will produce a coherent documentary body of work, considering both the use of imagery and text. In addition, students will also learn to question how the contemporary documentary photograph can often create alternative ways of seeing, recording and understanding events that shape the world in which we live.

DS 251D - Documentary Film Editing
Nicole Van Slyke
Mon, 6:10-9:10pm; Wed, 6:10-7:10pm (4 cr)

The world is full of stories waiting to be told, but what makes a story worth telling, who should tell it, and how one should tell it, are some of the most crucial questions any documentarian must answer. From initial concept through to the final edit, this course will ask students to grapple with this process of documentary development, in order to acquire a robust set of practices from which to tell the stories of the world around us. Major topics include: •How to develop, nurture and test a story idea: when to know it has ‘legs’ •The value of Loglines, Treatments and Pitches for conceptualizing story •Form and Methodology: is this story best told as a short? Feature? Does it require •archival research? Interviews? •How to ethically obtain access to a story •Finding the story in the footage—the importance of the editing room This course requires no pre-existing knowledge or experience of documentary practice or technical expertise, and will be of interest to anyone curious about telling documentary stories. Students will work with an archive of previously shot footage to craft a final project, learning basic editing techniques with Adobe Premiere Pro.

DS 251D - Creative Non-Fiction
Tu/Th, 9:10-11am, (4 cr)

This multi-media documentary course will introduce students to the variety of ways in which to creatively tell a non-fiction story through mediums that may include photo, video, sound, web, design, performance, etc. This course will help students to understand what stories they are interested in telling, the ethical considerations that apply to creative non-fiction, and how different medium choices can support their creative decisions and expressions.

AHDS 324 - The Artist Interview
Ian Berry
Wed, 4:00-6:40pm (3 cr)

An exploration of the artist interview as a form of original art historical research.  Students will learn how oral histories can function in a museum collection archive. Working in teams, students will closely examine and research artworks in the Tang Museum collection, prepare questions for the artists, and create videotaped interviews. Students will learn different methodological approaches to the interview and consider such questions as: how does editing play a role in making meaning; who defines the meaning of an artwork; and is the artist always the best source about his or her own work? Prerequisites: One art history course. (Fulfills Humanities requirement; fulfills Humanistic Inquiry requirement.)

DS 399 - MDOCS Internship Credit
Please write to Director Sarah Friedland for more information
1-4 credits