Digging In: An Artists Retreat
July 27-August 2, 2014 | Course Fee: $490

Join Big Shed at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke for our 4th annual working getaway. Whether you're an audio producer, photographer, writer, filmmaker, digital savant, or media maker of any other stripe, we've designed this retreat to help you catch your breath while making meaningful progress on the projects most important to you. Bring a story you’re trying to finish, a project you're researching, a proposal you need to write, or just make time and space to consider your creative trajectory. Spend a week as part of a group of other creatives, all of whom will be doing the same thing. Oh yeah … there will be homemade ice cream on the porch. Register Now!
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Time To Focus – Most of your time will be available to work independently on your project -- editing, reading, researching, writing, strolling about, etc. Throughout the week, we will help you think about how you're spending your time, but ultimately what you do will be up to you.

Keeping on Track –
To help meet your goals we have a few ways we'll help you make the most of your time.
  • Small-group support: Each day you'll meet to share how your work is going; ask for feedback if you want it; and identify your next steps to keep things moving and get over any humps.
  • One-on-one coaching: Schedule time during the week with Shea, Lisa or Elaine to help you work through specific issues, if necessary.
  • Focusing your work: We'll share specific work strategies to help make the most of your work-time at the retreat (and back at home).
  • On-the-fly: One of the greatest assets you'll have as a participant is the expertise, creativity and input of other participants.
  • You, too: Of course, that means you'll have the opportunity to help others think about their work, too.
Rubbing Your Creative Shoulders – We want to make sure that you're inspired, restored, focused and having a good time. Towards that end, here are a few things you can expect:
  • Creative Cuisine: We're planning a bevy of short, idea-generating workshops to keep your creative juices flowing.
  • Cutting Loose: From field trips to barbecues, expect several opportunities to take a break and have fun with all of the great folks who have come.
  • Space: A variety of work environments to choose from
  • Nourishment: Sharing a healthful, home-cooked lunch each day
  • Cherry-on-top: Hand-cranked ice cream on the porch
The Basics – We take the little things seriously.
  • Food: We'll share a tasty and healthy home-cooked lunch each day. And you'll have access to a full kitchen if you'd like to prepare evening meals for yourself or with others. We've been known to throw a cookout, and of course … there will be hand-cranked ice cream.
  • Space: CDS has a variety of workspaces you can use throughout the week. There are plenty of places where you can work with others or by yourself.
  • Time: Most of the retreat work time happens between 9am and 6pm each day, followed by (optional) evening activities. But if you're an a perpetual early riser or a confirmed night owl, the workspaces will be open to you from 8am to 9pm.
Arrival / Departure Times – For planning your travel.
  • Begins: 6pm on Sunday (July 27) with dinner and a relaxed evening session.
  • Ends: 1:30pm on Saturday (August 2) after a closing presentations and lunch.
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Focus On A Specific Project – Before you arrive, you should decide on a particular project you'd like to focus on. It can be as broad or narrow as you like. You'll get the most out of this retreat if you know what you want to focus on long before you arrive. (If you aren't sure what we mean, drop us a line).

Closing Session – At the end of the week, you'll have an opportunity to present your work. Whether this is a deadline to help you finish producing a piece or an opportunity to review what you've accomplished and what you're going to explore after you leave, this will be a brief but important time to share your work after a week of working together. Then we'll have lunch and say our fond farewells.

Bring What You Need (Or Ask For It) – You should bring any software or hardware you might need for your work. However, we can make a mac workstation available to you. Let us know ahead of time if that's something you're interested in. CDS has a pretty robust library of media production software. If there's specific software you need, give us a heads up so we can find out if they have it. It's better to figure that out ahead of time.

Professional vs. Production Training – This retreat is designed for media makers who already have their basic technical chops down -- enough to employ them in service of you own projects. Of course, it's fine to hone your software skills at the retreat. We just want to be clear that this isn't a replacement for production or technical training.
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Housing: There are a variety of housing options at your disposal while attending summer sessions at the Center for Documentary Studies, including a number of reasonably-priced hotels and Airbnb options accessible to CDS (participants sometimes rent places together).

A home-cooked lunch will be provided each day, but you'll want to have money for dinner, breakfast and any snacks you want. Refrigerator space and coolers are available during the day for snacks. And you'll have access to a full kitchen if you'd like to prepare evening meals for yourself or with others. Maybe budget $15-40 a day for food.  

Other Expenses: There will be several opportunities to socialize with other participants during the evenings. We might try to take in a baseball game one night, or you may choose to spend time with other participants at a local pub or coffeeshop. Those activities are at your discretion, but you might want to bring an extra $100-200.

Transportation from Airport:
RDU airport is a 20-30 minute drive from CDS. You are responsible for your transportation to CDS. It's a $30-40 cab ride between CDS and the airport.  You can find other participants to share a cab. There are SuperShuttle vans available at the airport and pickups for return filghts. And there's a bus route from the airport to a bus station near CDS - triangletransit.org (The bus route doesn't run on Sunday, unfortunately). There is also a taxi stand at the airport.

Transportation around Durham: There are several ways to get around Durham while you're at CDS -- carpooling, cabs, walking and buses. We've never seen transportation be a problem at CDS events. Folks with cars seem to help each other get where they need to be. Walking is an option for several dining and even housing options. There are several bus routes to/from CDS and the rest of the city. And worst case scenario, Durham has a good, reasonably priced, cab company called Durham's Best.
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THE RINGLEADERS: Supporting your work
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Shea Shackelford is an audio documentary producer and a founder of Big Shed Media, an award-winning public media shop specializing in audio and multimedia production. When he isn’t producing his own stories, Shea’s busy training producers and helping organizations design and create their own media projects. He is the creator of the Place + Memory Project and his awards include a Bronze for Best Radio Documentary at the 2010 Third Coast International Audio Festival. Shea has been part of the CDS Summer Audio Institute team since 2005.
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Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a documentary filmmaker, media artist and visual journalist. She is the director and producer of Hollow, a Peabody-award winning interactive documentary about life in Appalachia. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, LA Times, Huffington Post, PBS Mediashift, and has screened nationally and internationally. In 2013, Filmmaker Magazine named Sheldon one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film". Her favourite way to spend a day involves drinking copious amounts of coffee and wandering around new places finding stories.
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Lisa Morehouse is an award-winning independent public radio and print journalist, who’s filed for The California Report, Latino USA, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and McSweeney’s. Her reporting has taken her to Samoan traveling circus tents, Coachella Valley date gardens, and the homes of Lao refugees in rural Iowa. She recently finished an audio documentary project, After the Gold Rush: The Future of Small Town California and is beginning reporting on a new series, California Foodways. A veteran public middle and high school teacher, Lisa also works with youth from San Francisco and Oakland to produce radio diaries.
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CREATIVE CABAL: Making engaging events even more so
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Ben Pagac is an entomologist, musician, and independent audio producer living in Annapolis, MD. His stories have aired on The Story, Splendid Table, NPR's A Blog Supreme, and stations in DC and New Orleans. Ben is proud to have acquired the Certificate in Documentary Arts at CDS-Duke last year! An early audio epiphany was discovering stereo while listening to Led Zeppelin's "Whole lotta love" while wearing Koss Pro4A headphones. In his spare time, Ben teaches zydeco dance (hips don't lie), unprotected beekeeping, and stalking passers-by who might be wearing seersucker.
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Jim Adams is an artist collaborating with materials including graphite on paper, audio recordings, forged iron and sculpted stone. Based in Hillsborough, NC he creates work by commission and for gallery exhibition. Jim is a familiar face at CDS (a proud CDS Certificate in Doc Arts graduate) and Penland School of Craft as a demonstrator and instructor in Drawing and Painting and the Iron Studio. His latest work is an exploration in storytelling through stone and metal sculpture and will be exhibited at the Carrack Modern Gallery in November 2014.
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Afi-Odelia Scruggs is a multi-platform journalist who is passionate about storytelling. She’s been a regular contributor to Cleveland and Essence magazines, TheRoot.com, theGrio.com, and ebony.com. Afi’s produced features for American Public Media’s Marketplace, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and WBEZ/Chicago Public Media. Her love of music and journalism came together in 2012, when she composed and recorded a song on racial code words for WBEZ’s “Race: Out Loud” project. Afi lives in Cleveland, where she's also known for playing bass guitar for Antioch Baptist Church and for Progressive Baptist Church. (Oh yeah ... she's good!)
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THE MUSCLE: Behind the scenes and by your side, making sure you have what you need
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April Walton + Marc Maximov (CDS Continuing Ed) make all of this possible. Their well-oiled machine make it possible for us to have such an amazing week. And 90% of what they do is practically invisible. But trust us … they rock. And be sure to ask about the Certificate in Documentary Arts.
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Allison Swaim (Uber Support) is an award-winning audio and multimedia producer and professional stowaway. After circling the globe we're thrilled that she's currently docked at the port of Durham and will be around from time to time to see what you're up to.
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Noah Rubin-Blose (Food!) is a cook, baker, organizer, gardener, and capoeirista. Born and raised in the North Carolina Piedmont, he works to build a just food system, loving communities, and a world for all of us. Noah makes our A-MAZING lunches.
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