The Archive of Documentary Arts is committed to diversifying its collection in order to better reflect the multitude of viewpoints and communities from which work is being made in the documentary arts today. We encourage submissions from documentarians delving deeply into their subjects, and now accept a wide range of media. The 2021-2022 Collection Awards are now open. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 5, 2022.

The Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is accepting submissions for our 2021-2022 Collection Awards. This year we are seeking to award four submissions.

Theme for this cycle: Environmental injustice/Environmental racism

We welcome creators to interpret the theme in a way that highlights the strengths of their media and the art of storytelling rooted in the documentary tradition. Projects may tackle the subject matter broadly or through specificity of place and person. Documentary artists working within their own communities are encouraged to apply, and we are particularly interested in submissions by those underrepresented in the archive. Both contemporary and historical works are permitted.

Why should I apply?

The Archive of Documentary Arts is interested in work that curiously engages with the world and that is, “derived from an in-depth understanding of place, history, and the current situation, in concert with a personal relationship to the proposed work. Ultimately, the commitment is to use documentary expression to motivate the thinking and reflection of others.”

Each award comes with an honorarium of $3,500. Selected work will be preserved in the collections at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University, and available for use by students, faculty, and independent researchers. The Archive of Documentary Arts also promotes collection material through exhibitions and a variety of public programs. It is our intention to create collections that can be used for research from a variety of entry points. To that end, we seek to move beyond finished materials and develop a collection in collaboration with creators that includes supporting research and other project documentation.

We encourage submissions from individuals or groups, whose work is not already in the collections of the Rubenstein Library. This year we also welcome international submissions from across the globe. Please limit to one entry per person or group. We are not accepting submissions from employees of Duke University, or those currently enrolled in a degree-granting program, such as undergraduate, Ph.D, or MFA programs, regardless of ABD or other status.

What types of media can I submit?

We are accepting documentary submissions in a variety media, including:

  • Photography - portfolio of prints from a completed project. Minimum of 10-15 prints.
  • Audio - experimental audio projects, or oral histories.
  • Film/Video - including analog media such as 16mm, 35mm, as well as digital video, or animation
  • Documentary poetry and theater manuscripts - published or unpublished manuscripts

While the final work accepted into the Archive can be digital files or physical objects, such as a printed portfolio, or 16mm film, all submissions will need to be in digital form and uploaded to a viewing platform. You may use hosting sites such as a personal website, Soundcloud, Vimeo, YouTube, or others.

What do I need to apply?

This form does not save your work in progress. We suggest you compose your responses in another program and copy and paste your answers in the fields below. You will need:

  • Your complete contact information
    • Name, Email, Phone
  • Statement of interest
    • Tell us how you're connected to the story, and the importance of long-term preservation and access through the archive.
  • Synopsis
    • We accept non-English works but ask that you include a brief synopsis in English.
  • Brief bio
    • This is a short narrative that tells us a little bit about you, your experience, and your work.
  • Link to view your work.
PLEASE NOTE: We will not be able to accept files via email or download. We suggest you use a hosting platform such as a personal website, or available free options. If you need assistance in finding a free platform, please reach out to the curator Caitlin Margaret Kelly at

Apply Here

Copyright and Access

The awardee is required to sign a purchase agreement, but is not required to transfer copyright. We work to ensure collections are available and accessible to a diverse group of individuals. We strive to expand and strengthen avenues of access that are equitable and open. We balance this with the appropriate privacy restrictions. While we try to honor these limits requested by creators or donors of collections, we also seek to foster accountability and will conduct a through review of restrictions prior to accepting materials. We support teaching and access by campus users as well as welcome those that come from beyond our campus community.

View a sample purchase agreement.

Read our statement on How We Work.


  • October 15-January 3, 2022: Submissions open
  • January 2022: Evaluation of submissions
  • Late January: Awardee announced
  • Early April: deadline for delivery of final project to the archive.


For questions or a consultation prior to submitting your materials you may contact Caitlin Margaret Kelly, curator, Archive of Documentary Arts at or 919-681-7963.