Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
MDOCs title

Doc on Campus: MDOCS Academic Festival

May 12, 2016

Academic Festival

Each year, Skidmore College's Honors Forum highlights student accomplishments in a daylong, campuswide academic festival held on the day after classes end. For MDOCS', a few hours was not enough: Faculty organized student showcases stretching across two weeks, including the Tangwaves pop-up FM radio station.

The MDOCS 2016 Academic Festival session showcased evidence-based work spanning across all documentary media. Stories ranged from historic archival projects like those highlighted in 60 Years Young, to an interactive website highlighting artists in the Capital Region, to a photo and archival exhibit about a group trip to Cuba, to a variety of video projects from MDOCS' graduating seniors. Beyond the MDOCS session, evidence-based storytelling was on display as students in Associate Professor Eric Morser's Mount McGregor Mysteries: Power of Doing Public History (history) presented their yearlong participation in the Project HAL Incarceration Project. Two senior capstones, in American studies (Dan Plumer '16) and dance (Emma Lanier '16), will be reworked as summer Storytellers' projects this summer.

Juliana Boucher
Juliana Boucher, '16, "How Was Cuba?" exhibit

The biggest takeaway of the day was that documentary can mean many things, and students are creatively applying and integrating lessons learned in academic curricula as different as social work, art, anthropology, management and business, psychology, history and media and film. Students presenting in MDOCS' Academic Festival session came from more than 10 different majors and minors, having been drawn to MDOCS to share a capstone project iengagingly, to tell a personal story through an audio or visual lens, or simply to showcase what can be learned from telling the stories of people from another Skidmore generation. 

In case you missed the program, check out some of the projects:

Phoebe Radcliffe and Eli Ruben
Pheobe Radcliffe, '17 and Eli Ruben, '17

Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project: 60 Years Young

The Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project was formed to document the history and cultures of the college, city and county. The project supports independent studies and academic internships for students that add to the ongoing exploration of the contemporary and historical life of Saratoga County and Skidmore College. This past fall Jordana Dym led an independent study to create a video project and archival exhibit to be included in the Saratoga Senior Center’s 60th anniversary gala. Presenters were Pheobe Radcliffe ’17 (social work, Spanish) and Eli Ruben ’17 (management and business).

Renato and Olivia
Renato Martins Dornelas, '18 and Olivia Fidler, '19

Skidmore Retiree Project: Oral History Interviews

The Skidmore Retiree Project is one of the collections in the Skidmore Saratoga Memory Project and is an online archival database of audio interviews with Skidmore retirees. Many of these members saw the college through some of its greatest changes in its history and shed a light on how we got to where we are today. Interviews are continuously being added to the archive through the "Interview 101" DS course. This semester, students in Sue Bender’s class not only learned the art of the oral history interview, but also how to work an audio recorder and transcribe a piece. Presenters: Olivia Fidler ’19 and Renato Martins Dornelas ’18 (international affairs and media and film studies).

Storytellers' Institute: Upstate Painters Project

Jackson Bryant was a student fellow in the inaugural Storytellers’ Institute in summer 2015. The Storytellers’ Institute is a five-week residency hosted on the Skidmore campus in June. During the Institute, four documentary practitioners, along with eight Skidmore student fellows and two Skidmore faculty members, work on independent documentary projects and engage in lively and thought-provoking conversation, workshops and inspiration addressing a timely topic or theme. Presenter: Jackson Bryant ’16 (anthropology).

How Was Cuba?: La Patria; Tourism at Work; Omnipresent Art of Cuba

Julianna Quiroz
Julianna Quiroz, '17

In January 2016, 18 college students and two faculty members from Skidmore College and St. Lawrence University traveled to Cuba on a travel seminar. In March the Skidmore students put together an exhibit in Case Gallery to present their impressions of and connections made between their journey and a semester long study of the history of travel to, within and from Latin America. Presenters: Juliana Boucher ’16 (psychology/Honors Forum) and Julianna Quiroz ’17 (theater).

Bennett Beutel
Bennett Beutel, '16

Video Projects

Lisa Fierstein ’16, American studies/arts administration/media and film studies, The Presence Project

Leila Farrer ’16, history/arts administration/anthropology, A Pivot in History

Bennett Beutel ’16, management and business,Dreams

Pierre Delcourt ’16, management and business, English, computer science, FreeKing Studios

Maddy Tank ’16, management and business and art, Indelible