- Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS)
- Center for Social Justice Teaching, Research, and Service
- Program on Justice and Peace
Documentary Media and Social Change
In the class Social Justice Documentary Video at Georgetown University, taught by Professor Bernie Cook, students learn about the relations between documentary media and social change by making documentaries about the work of community-based organizations in Washington, D.C.
Students combine Film and Media Studies scholarship, video production skills, and community-based research and learning as they view and discuss significant documentary films, read about documentary theory and history, consider documentary as a tool for engaging the “real world,” and begin to practice writing, shooting, and editing video. The students collaborate with members of D.C.-based community organizations to create documentary projects.
Student Project 1
Dream City, by Margarita Rayzburg, Joemma Berberich, Natalie Murchison, and Jesse Zakarin, examines the concept of theater for social change through a production of John Muller’s play “Southside.” The documentary comes to focus on the story of Eddie Ellis, a non-professional actor performing in “Southside” after having been recently released from prison. Ellis’s goal is to establish services to help men and women who have been released from prison to reintegrate into society.
Student Project 2
The Renewal of Northwest 1
The Renewal of Northwest 1, by Emily Anderson, Hye Kwon, Adam Levy, and Natalie Rankine-Galloway, examines the history of the Sursum Corda public housing community and the current challenges for long-term residents presented by development and economic change in DC. The documentary emphasizes the important role played in the community by strong and vocal women in securing and maintaining affordable housing options.
Georgetown University Project Partners:
In the process of creating their documentaries, the students in the class partner with community organizations throughout Washington, D.C.