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Digging In: A Documentary Retreat
July 24-29, 2011

This week-long, creative retreat is designed to bring together audio producers, writers, photographers and other media creators in a lightly structured environment to work on individual projects. What you want to work on is up to you a story you’re trying to finish, a proposal you’re trying to develop, or maybe you just need some space and community to think about your creative trajectory. Big Shed and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke are partnering to bring you this working getaway, to help you make significant progress on your own work. And oh yes, there will be homemade ice cream on the porch.
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Bring 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).

Time To Focus –
The idea of this retreat is to help you make progress on your own work. Each day, most of your time will be spent working independently on your project. How you spend that time will be up to you -- editing, reading, researching, writing, strolling about, etc. We will help you think about how you're spending that time, but ultimately it will be up to you.

Supporting Your Work – In order to help you stay focused and meet your goals for the week, we'll be helping you, and you'll be helping each other.
  • Daily check-ins each day to see how you're doing, think about next steps, and set goals
  • One-on-one coaching, if needed
  • Formal and informal opportunities to get input from other participants
  • Of course, that means you'll have the opportunity to help other folks with 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:
  • Sharing a healthful, home-cooked lunch each day
  • A variety of work environments to choose from
  • Creative workshops and field trips (optional)
  • And fresh, hand-cranked, ice-cream on the porch

Bring What You Need (Or Ask For It) – You should bring any software or hardware you might need for your work. We can make a mac workstation available to you, if you'd like. Just let us know ahead of time if that's something you're interested in. CDS has a pretty robust library of media production software on their workstations, but And if there's specific software you need, let us know ahead of time. We can find out if they have it. It's better to figure that out ahead of time.

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Arrival/Departure Times – The retreat will begin at 5pm on Sunday (July 24) with dinner and an evening session. The retreat will end midday on Friday (July 29) with a noon lunch.

General Schedule –
Each day will run from roughly from 9pm to 8:30pm. There will be some group sessions, some optional activities, check-ins, lunch and lots of time and space to focus on your work and connect with other folks.

Closing Session – On our final day together, you'll have an opportunity to present what you've been working on. This may be a final piece or a presentation about whatever you've been working on and figuring out during the week. Whether you use this as a deadline to finish something you want to get done, or to make progress on something you'll keep exploring after you leave, this will be the brief but important time to share your work. Then we'll have lunch and say our farewells.

Housing: There are a wide variety of housing options at your disposal while attending summer sessions at the Center for Documentary Studies. CDS has created a list of local supporters who welcome participants from CDS summer institutes as guests at very reasonable rates (I think around $30 a night). Upon registration, CDS will make that list available to you. Also, there are a number of hotels accessible to CDS.

A home-cooked lunch will be provided each day.  Light snacks will be available throughout the day.  Except for a first-night supper, breakfast and dinner is on your own. Perhaps budget $20-40 a day for food and whatnot.  CDS is within walking distance of several inexpensive and expensive dining options, and a grocery store.

Other Expenses: There will be informal opportunities to socialize with other participants on some 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. It's at your discretion, but think about bringing $100-200 if you're interested.

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 - (The bus route doesn't run on Sunday, unfortunately.)

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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Shea Shackelford is an audio documentary producer and media educator. In 2009, he created The Place + Memory Project in partnership with NPR Weekend Edition — a public media project mapping a landscape of remembered places. In 2010, he won a Bronze for Best Documentary from the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Shea is a regular producer-in-residence at CDS. When he isn’t producing his own stories, Shea is assisting educators, organizations, artists and other producers in using sound and storytelling to spread their own ideas.

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Jennifer Deer is a writer, performer, and audio producer living in North Carolina. Her work for radio has been aired on such nationally syndicated public radio programs as All Things Considered, Day to Day, Weekend Edition, and Weekend America. She co-founded Big Shed, an audio and multimedia production shop, where she co-curates their audio documentary podcast. Jennifer also teaches workshops in radio production at CDS.

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Jesse Dukes has been working as a journalist since 2005, producing audio and multimedia stories for radio and the web. He also writes magazine articles. His radio work has aired on Studio 360, Weekend Edition and Day to Day and other national and regional radio programs. Print and award-winning multimedia work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and Global Post. When he isn’t working from his home in Charlottesville, VA, Jesse’s frequently reporting from places as far and wide as central Alaska, Downeast Maine, or Tanzania.

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