Denise Ward-Brown, associate professor of sculpture, has been awarded a 2009-10 Faculty Creative Activity Research Grant by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
The grant comes with a development research fund of $5,000, which will support Ward-Brown’s current film project, Jim Crow to Barack Obama (JC2BO), as well as a virtual archive. For the documentary, she is interviewing African Americans who are at least 80 years old to gather their perspectives on the tremendous changes they’ve seen in politics, law, and social attitudes in the United States, from their first-hand accounts of segregation and racial inequities in America during the first half of the 20th century, to their personal recollections of the Martin Luther King Civil Rights era, and finally, to their excitement about the election of Obama as president.
“These octogenarians’ personal stories are aligned with the political and social story of America,” said Ward-Brown, who is traveling throughout Missouri, as well as to key cities of the Civil Rights Movement, to conduct interviews.
Ward-Brown was recently chosen to pitch the documentary to the senior program manager for the Independent Television Service (ITVS) during the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, held Feb. 12-21 in Missoula, Montana. ITVS sponsors independently produced documentaries and broadcasts to local, national, and international audiences.
In addition to the documentary, Ward-Brown is working on a JC2BO virtual archive, an interactive web database in which users can upload and share their own short video histories of octogenarians.
In her work as both a filmmaker and sculptor, Ward-Brown frequently explores African and African-American themes and history. She developed her love for film while spending a year in Ghana as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in 1997, and has produced several documentaries, including Edina Bakatue (2003), Farewell Old Lady (2004), View From the Other Side (2005), i am loved (2006), and Being Born Is Marvelous (2008).
ABOUT THE CREATIVE ACTIVITY RESEARCH GRANTS
Established in 2007, the Sam Fox School’s Creative Activity Research Grants encourage and support tenured and tenure-track faculty in their pursuit of a specific project or innovative directions in their creative work and research.