Intensive Introduction to Documentary Studies: Ethics and Practice


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 is the newly appointed director of the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. She was formerly the acting director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission and Curator of Multicultural Initiatives with North Carolina’s State Historic Sites. She 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 and a professional adviser on ethical and effective practice for individuals, organizations, and projects. She helps clients place an honest and compassionate assessment of themselves into the context of the systems within which they work. Salyers is also a writer, performer, and lecturer. She serves on advisory groups for several current documentary projects, and has taught in CDS’s Continuing Education program for more than a decade. See

Additional information:
The enrollment fee includes dinner the first night. Students are responsible for all other meals, housing, and transportation.

Section A
Taught by Michelle Lanier
Sunday, June 7: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, June 8–11: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, June 12: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

Section B
Taught by Joy Salyers
Sunday, August 2: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, August 3–6: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, August 7: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.


Add Section Location Ages Grades Instructor Dates Days Times Fees Details Open
Register Now!
Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Lanier 6/7 - 6/12 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $600.00 View
Register Now!
Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Salyers 8/2 - 8/7 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $600.00 View