Digging In: An Artists Retreat
July 26-August 1, 2015 | Course Fee: $625

Join Big Shed at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke for our 5th 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, Jesse or Lisa 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 26) with dinner and a relaxed evening session.
  • Ends: 1:30pm on Saturday (August 1) 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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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. After completing her audio documentary project After the Gold Rush, Lisa's been interviewing wine-making monks, milk-making inmates, and a bánh mi-making Vietnamese pop star for her 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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Jesse Dukes is a radio producer and writer, currently working with WBEZ’s innovative Curious City project. His print stories and award-winning multimedia work have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review. Jesse’s life and work have taken from his native home in Virginia, around the world, and have now landed him in Chicago. He's interested in history, how the world continues to change day to day, and the art of grilling the perfect burger.
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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, Baltimore, and New Orleans. Ben is proud to hold a Certificate in Documentary Arts from CDS-Duke and is currently working on a story involving illusive, cryptic, and imaginary insects. 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 enjoys teaching zydeco dance, beekeeping, and trying to understand how a mid-side microphone works.
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Jim Adams – Shepherd, sculptor, painter, raconteur, Jim considers himself mostly a maker. An artist to be sure. A farmer in the making. He works in a variety of mediums that are as diverse as his wardrobe and equally compelling. When not hanging out with his two little daughters, Jim is either in his studio conjuring new works, teaching or demonstrating at Penland School of Craft, or being an artist in residence somewhere really cool. He's a familiar face at CDS and a proud recipient of the certificate in documentary studies.
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Logan Jaffe is WBEZ Curious City's multimedia producer. She's been called a digital whiz bang, resident tinkerer, artsy hacker, etc., which all means she uses many combinations of media to tell stories. She's got an interactive documentary in the works about the confederate battle flag, and has gained recognition for her science/tech reporting on Chicago's bat population, non-fiction writing on hitchhiking The World's Longest Yard Sale, and her multi-projector work with found media. She's single-handedly responsible for the uptick of the word "wackadoo" since 2011 or so.
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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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