Duke University’s Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts program is pleased to announce the incoming MFA|EDA Class of 2018.
Born in 1981, Lexi Bass experienced a short bout with epilepsy as a child. As a result, her artistic output stems from a fascination with neurology and Jungian psychology, visualizing interior experiences of mind. A quietly contrarian feminist response to societal power structures, her work is sensitive to predator/prey relationships, evolutionary instinct, nightmares and dreams. Since 2004, her career took professional turns through technical theatre, video production, and graphic design. Most recently employed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she has served the last four years as Digital Instructional Specialist and part-time design instructor for the Department of Art and Art History.
My family gave me a supportive upbringing in a beautiful mountain valley town tucked away in the rural Sierra Nevadas of California. Though I loved the overall warmhearted community and natural world that surrounded me in my youth, I was tired of the small town politics that drove its commerce. I finished high school and figured that Vietnam at the turn of the century was about as far from that as I could find. I was opened up to many new ways of looking at the world and have been traveling around the globe ever since. I completed a history degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2005 that focused on the ways that history is taught around the world, and have become passionate about documenting voices of that are underrepresented to the American audience.
Phyllis B. Dooney is a New York City based social documentary photographer and visual storyteller. Phyllis began her career as a photo art director in the commercial sector. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, Feature Shoot, American Photo, The Boston Globe, VISTA Magazine, The Huffington Post, Prison Photography and elsewhere online and in print. She attended Eddie Adams XXVII and the 4th annual NY Times Portfolio Review. Phyllis was awarded first place in The Center’s Editor’s Choice category in 2015 and is a 2016 Screen Projects’ mentee. Her first book Gravity Is Stronger Here, published by Kehrer Verlag, will be available in Europe in Dec. 2016 and in North America in April 2017.
Summer Dunsmore was born and raised in San Diego, California. After graduating with a B.A. in Development Studies from U.C. Berkeley, she pursued opportunities as a video documentarian, work that led her to travel extensively throughout the U.S., India, Nepal, and Central America. She is a former Staff Writer for music blog Consequence of Sound, and her work has also appeared in Dazed and Confused, Thought Catalog, and Slingshot! Quarterly. Her first experimental film, Hot Desert Night, was an Official Selection at the 2014 Oakland Underground Film Festival. In addition to producing, directing and editing both documentary and narrative fiction films, she has lectured in the U.S. and India on the topics of media ethics and creating socially-conscious art.
Rachel Christian Jessen is a proud Iowa native. Born in Waterloo and bred in Iowa City, she attended the University of Iowa, having graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Spanish and Linguistics with a TESL emphasis. During her time at Iowa, Rachel worked as a staff photographer and photo editor at The Daily Iowan, the school’s independent student newspaper, which sparked and fostered her passion for visual storytelling. After graduating, she served as the photo editor for Little Village magazine, an intern at the Corridor Business Journal, and freelancer at the Press-Citizen, all in Iowa City, followed by a stint as a photo intern at The Hawk Eye in Burlington, Iowa. Since 2014, Rachel’s primary work has been in assisting VII photographer Danny Wilcox Frazier, where she could be found processing film in his darkroom, scanning negatives, or loaded down with bags of gear and several cameras at once (as evidenced by the photo below). She is looking forward to exploring and learning about documentary tools and traditions with the MFA|EDA, hoping to take her background in photojournalism and new knowledge to inform socially-concerned bodies of work. Oh, and she loves Iowa wrestling almost as much as she loves photography.
Katie King likes the visual and the textual, photographs and stories. In 2013, she graduated from The University of Georgia with an English degree focused on literary theory, composition, and functions of the novel while independently pursuing photography outside of academia. Since, she’s served as the first Digital Services intern for Public Broadcasting Atlanta and WABE 90.1FM, Atlanta’s PBS and NPR stations, worked in Internet Marketing, freelanced as an editor and photographer, traveled as frequently as time and money allowed, and read a lot of books. Her work explores change (self-becoming-other), interdisciplinary approaches to mental health, and the growth-potential and mutability of digital narratives.
Dong Hyun (Danny) Kim is a Video Journalist and documentary filmmaker from Seoul, South Korea.
Born one of identical twins in Seoul and raised in Illinois, Seoul and New York, Danny studied abroad in Prague, received his B.A. in Communication Arts, Radio, TV & Film from University of Wisconsin, and studied Visual Communication at Korea University Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communications. His documentary works explore how the convergence of IT technology is profoundly influencing the human society as a whole. As one of identical twins himself grew up in a Korean family living abroad, his research interests include behavioral science and cross-cultural discipline.
In 2014, his work with New York City-based director Valerie Veach as a producer on a feature documentary film LOVE CHILD was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and Jeonju International Film Festival, along with first look deal with HBO Documentaries. Danny’s last three years were spent working at Agence France-Presse (AFP) Seoul Bureau as a sole video journalist covering from breaking news to features in and around the entire Korean peninsula. His recent work with New York City-based Partisan Pictures’ director Peter Schnall as a local producer in Songdo, Incheon for a segment in the documentary series called DIGITS is slated to go on air for online CuriosityStream and PBS in Fall/Winter 2016.
In his spare time he enjoys being a culinary tourist and going to live music concert and theatre performances.
- After the fun filled days of changing hot oil sixty hours a week, I hammered nails for 6 years, in 3 states before tiring of heat exhaustion and stacks of 3/4 inch plywood.
- 2 more states, a BFA, a Mexican adventure and a 3 year stint in NYC, I returned home to Durham, NC where I live with my wife Alicia, daughter Nyx and son Pablo.
- Whenever not making photos for a variety of magazines, I ride my skateboard, as I have done for 20 odd years.
- In 2012, I published a book with my sister, Alexandra Lange, Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
- This year, American Photography has selected my magazine work for publication in the AP32 book.
- My first feature length documentary film FARMER/VETERAN was recently shown at the Brooklyn Film Festival, where it won the jury award for Best Documentary Feature.
Sarah Nixon is a multimedia artist born in Fort Meade, Maryland and raised in Benson, North Carolina. She began her early collegiate studies in art and visual communications at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Art Institute of Atlanta. After raising a family, she returned to school nearly 20 years later to earn her B.A. in Art/Visual Communications at North Carolina Central University in 2014. Her body of work includes illustration, photography, painting, and video. Her previous work experience has centered around marketing and communications. She has served as an associate director on an award winning video for a public speaking competition and more recently as a production research intern for a documentary film addressing the design and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Born in 1981, Theresa Scott, a native of Michigan, Joined the Marine Corps upon graduating Lapeer West High School. She was stationed at Cherry Point in North Carolina where she was an aircraft electrician working on the AV-8B Harrier jet. After serving for five years she left the Marine Corps and worked as a police officer with the Raleigh Police Department for six years. Upon leaving the police department, she attended Johnston Community College where she received her associates of fine art. She then attended Barton College where she graduated with her bachelors of fine art with a concentrations in graphic design and photography. Her photographic work explores the complex issues that service members face when attempting to reintegrate into their communities, along with the mental health issues that have been found in increased numbers in the military community.
Laurids Sonne was born in Hjembæk, Denmark in 1980. Laurids received his BA in Social Anthropology from Lund University, Sweden. As a member of the Danish American art group Parfyme since 2005, Laurids has focused on participatory and socially engaged art, developing new platforms for community, interaction and exploration. He is interested in intermingling artistic and anthropological approaches of knowledge production in the expanded field between these as a personal method for art research, and as a possibility for interdisciplinary and interpersonal collaboration. Laurids’ projects have been exhibited in the U.S. as well as internationally.
Born in the suburbs north of New York City, Nadia Stevens was raised by a large Italian-American family. She is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received a BFA in Photography, as well as the New York Arts Practicum, a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary summer arts institute. Her work has roots in formal documentary-style photography, but has grown to encompass additional image-making techniques, audio, and video. She seeks to explore the nuance of intimacy, relationships and sense of self.