VM 495: Documentary Studio (Spring 2022)
The documentary studio is a space for collaborative production. Students and partners work together to create non-fiction representations of the causes and effects of gun violence in Boston.
This studio focused on amplifying stories of violence that are often ignored. This includes stories from mothers who have lost sons to gun violence, stories of trauma surgeons who treat gunshot wounds, and stories of those who have been caught up in the culture of violence. Media narratives typically report on yet another shooting in the inner city, or the performative shock of yet another mass shooting. But they ignore the after effects, the personal struggles, the deep ripples in communities, and the systemic racism that perpetuates it all.
Studio Approach & Engagement
This studio embraced the complexity of co-creation. Emerson students worked directly with community partners who audited the course and participated each week. The first half of the semester focused on relationship building, informal story telling (without cameras), sourcing the stories that need to be told, and exploring creative possibilities. The second half of the semester focused on production and post-production. The result is a process where students and partners mutually reinforce the passion for the story they’re telling. The process is one that foregrounds gratitude (from Emerson students to the partners for graciously sharing their experiences, and from partners to Emerson students for graciously sharing their skills and drive to create).
The outcome is a ~20 minute documentary film called “Quiet Rooms” that tells the story of the immediate and long term impacts of gun violence in Boston.
Sabrina Carr, student
Shaulita Francis, partner
Rachele Gardner, Engagement Lab staff
Olivia Goldberg, student
Angelina Gu, student
Anna Porter, partner
Carla Sheffield, partner
Cole Tatham, student
LeAnn Taylor, partner
John Yang, TA and partner
Eric Gordon, professor
Theodore "Regge" Life, professor