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Director's Note: September 2017

September 6, 2017

MDOCS welcomes students and faculty back to campus with some news and updates and a few fantastic, timely events we hope will spark conversations among our own community and our friends and neighbors beyond.


Introducing DOClab. In its first three years, MDOCS and the Visual Literacy Forum developed a wonderful lab space to support documentary and visual work on campus. With the end of the Project Vis Andrew W. Mellon grant, the mission of LIB 113 has been updated to reflect its role as DOClab. Adam Tinkle and Jesse Wakeman share news about some terrific new initiatives, from classroom support to workshops to online booking of appointments with DOClab assistants, that will keep LIB 113 a go-to space for amazing media production and storytelling skill building.

States of Incarceration - History class at Mount McGregorStates of Incarceration and Mass Story Lab: Over the past two years, the Department of History, Project Vis and MDOCS have partnered to support Skidmore's participation in the New School's Humanities Action Lab initiative, States of Incarceration. This 20-community project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others. Eric Morser's public history class delved into the history of Mount McGregor, a correctional facility in nearby Wilton, New York, that closed in 2014. From oral histories to compelling photographs, students built on deep connections developed by David Karp (sociology) in restorative justice. What started out as a single class inspired students and professor to continue with workshops, a First-Year Experience course and a collaboration with the Tang Teaching Museum to bring the States of Incarceration traveling exhibit to Skidmore in September 2017. 

On September 28–30, Piper Anderson, founder of the Mass Story Lab, will be on campus to participate in States of Incarceration activities. She brings a strong commitment to sharing the stories of those most deeply influenced by incarceration, and we are thrilled not only to host a workshop on interviewing for social justice but two public events, including a conversation with Sylvia Ryerson of Restorative Radio and a Mass Story Lab dialogue with the community on Saturday, September 30, What is a Prison For?

Barry LamHumanities faculty make great storytellers.  MDOCS is also thrilled to host Vassar College Associate Professor of Philosophy Barry Lam, who used a sabbatical year with Humanities Writ Large Program at Duke University to skill up as a podcaster. His Hi Phi Nation is topping iTunes charts and showcasing the power of the humanities to generate compelling stories from humanistic inquriy. Join him for an envening of listening and conversation as he shares his journey with us.

Clara-Sophia DalySo do liberal arts students. Film companies from New York City to Durban, South Africa. A radio station in San Francisco, California. Supermarkets across the U.S. southwest.  MDOCS students didn't slow down over the summer, expanding their understanding of documentary from coast to coast and beyond with generous supported from alumni and parent donors. 

And three of our own: Eli Ruben '17, Sam Grant '18 and Serena Lehman '19 are finalists in 15 Min Max, the College of Saint Rose's annual festival of Capital District student work. Head on down to Albany on September 23 to support them!

And it's not too early to plan for Storytellers' Institute 2018. Storytellers' Institute Director Sarah Friedland shares highlights of "Space and Place" the 2017 institute, and unveils the 2018 theme, "Surveil/Surveilled,"  inviting applications from Skidmore, national and international nonfiction makers for June 2018.

We look forward to having you join us on the doc side,
Jordana Dym
Director, MDOCS