Intensive Introduction to Documentary Studies


This intensive, weeklong class is designed for distance students who are pursuing the Certificate in Documentary Arts and fulfills their introductory course requirement, but it is also ideal for any student wishing to get a grasp of the basic history and principles of documentary work. This course will feature a variety of guest speakers, including photographers, filmmakers, writers, and audio producers. We emphasize not only methodologies but also philosophies and ethics of fieldwork in different settings. Students will explore examples of fieldwork and at the final meeting will present project proposals of their own. These proposals may be the beginning of long-term documentary initiatives or simply a means to help decide on the direction of a future project. (38 hours)

Michelle Lanier, director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission, has been an instructor at CDS since 2000. She uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work, training students to collect veterans’ narratives.

Joy Salyers is a folklorist, writer, and anti-racism educator. She is the executive director of NC Folk Life, and the secretary of the North Carolina Folklore Society. She also consults with individuals and groups on a variety of topics—her specialties include using oral history, experiential learning, and creativity to bridge community divisions, develop identity, and combat prejudice. Salyers's personal fieldwork includes documenting life histories, writing poetry from family stories, and collaborating with members of a modern performance community.

Section A (Michelle Lanier)
Sunday, June 5: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, June 6–9: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, June 10: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Section B (Joy Salyers)
Sunday, July 17: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, July 18–21: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, July 22: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.


Add Section Location Ages Instructor Dates Days Times Fees Details Open
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ST515SU16A Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Lanier 6/5 - 6/10 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $480.00 View
Register Now!
ST515SU16B Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Salyers 7/17 - 7/22 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $480.00 View