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Previous Winners


  • Crystal Z. Campbell, A Meditation on Nature in the Absence of an Eclipse
  • Stacy Kranitz, Fulcrum of Malice
  • Emilio Nasser, La Cornuda de Tlacotalpan
  • Lawrence Sumulong, "No Longer Can I Stay; Its True." The Marshallese in Springdale, Arkansas


  • Tonika Lewis Johnson, The Folded Map Project
  • Naima Lowe, Birthmarks
  • Shawn M. Pridgen, collective works on the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Haruka Sakaguchi, I Will Not Stand Silent


  • Akea Brown, Black Picket Fences
  • Leah Dyjak, New Beach
  • Priya Kambli, Color Falls Down
  • Veronica Melendez, Le pido a Dios que no me olviden
  • Zora J. Murff, Corrections
  • John Tully, Shifting Sands


  • Jasmine Clark, After Eisenhower
  • Jess T. Dugan, To Survive on this Shore
  • McNair Evans, In Search of Great Men
  • Lauren Henkin, What's Lost is Found
  • Joshua Rashaad McFadden, Come to Selfhood


  • Debi Cornwall, collective works on Guantánamo Bay
  • Jeanine Michna-Bales, From Darkness to Light: Seeking Freedom on the Underground Railroad
  • Paccarik Orue, El Muqui
  • Adam Reynolds, Architecture of Existential Threat
  • Jay Turner Frey Seawell, National Trusts & The Mall


  • Ben Alper, Index of Walking
  • Sarah Christianson, When the Landscape is Quiet Again: North Dakota's Oil Boom
  • Eliot Dudik, Road Ends in Water
  • Rebecca Sittler, All the Presidents' Men
  • Wendel White, Manifest

The Archive of Documentary Arts is pleased to announce our selection for the 2023 Collection Awards. Listed alphabetically:

  • Resita Cox, Freedom Hill (film)
  • David Fisher, The Round Number (film).
    • Watch David Fisher talk about his film and process on the DUL YouTube Channel here.
  • Holly Lynton, Meeting Tonight (photography)
  • Gabriella Mykal, Rape Play (film)

Thank you to everyone that submitted. We had over 80 submissions, and the final choice was difficult. All submissions were reviewed in full by staff in the Archive, who created a short list. We then enlisted faculty and staff across Duke to narrow it down to the final four.

Read more about the awardees here.

Deadline for submissions has passed. We expect to open the awards again in early fall 2024. 

The Archive of Documentary Arts seeks to preserve and acquire collections of intentionally created narratives and bodies of work that document a broad range of human experience. We are committed to diversifying our collection to better reflect the multitude of viewpoints and communities from which work is being made in the documentary arts today.

The Collection Awards have recognized excellence in documentary since 2015 and we are pleased to open submissions again in 2023. This year’s award will consist of an honorarium of $3,500 plus additional production support, if needed. We will award 1-3 completed projects, such as a collection of photographs, or a finished film. The Archive is also interested in representing the labor of documentarians, and a well-rounded collection can also contain supplemental materials such as notebooks, raw interviews, and other research materials gathered along the way.

The Awards have grown to accept multiple media types, including photography, film/video, and audio. Each of these media have their unique submission needs. To alleviate barriers, and to account for the time and labor in preparing materials, we have adjusted our submission process for 2023. 


The submission process will be divided into rounds:

Round 1:

This stage is open to any creator not affiliated with Duke University or currently enrolled in a degree-granting program. We are particularly interested in reaching a diverse group of creators.

Please send a brief email of interest by October 15th, with the following info:

  • a project summary, including any information on how many images in the project, or run time if film/audio, and any technical specs you’d like to add.
  • a short statement on why your project is a good fit for the Archive of Documentary Arts
  • Send this email to:
  • DO NOT SEND MATERIALS. No portfolio is required for this round.

Emails will be reviewed by the Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts, and selected projects will be invited to move forward. While we recognize there are many projects that deserve to be preserved, we will only be able select ones that speak to our collection goals (see FAQ) and abilities to responsibly steward.


Round 2: Passed

The creators of selected projects will be invited to submit a digital portfolio or links for consideration. The curatorial staff will work closely with each creator in this stage to enable the best presentation method for their project.



  1. Can I send you jpegs or mov files?  Please do not send us materials in Round 1. All we need is an email with a project statement and a brief explanation on why your project is a good fit for the Archive of Documentary Arts.
  2. How do I know if my project is a good fit?  We are looking for work that compliment and grow our key areas of collecting. These are:
    • Activism and Justice - The Archive collects documentary materials related to activism and justice, with a special interest in civil rights and incarceration.
    • Faith Communities - The Archive houses several collections dedicated to exploring faith communities. Collections focus on underrepresented communities.
    • Human Environmental Impacts - The Archive collections work related to the environment, with a specific interest in the human impact and environmental justice and racism.
    • Labor and Work - Building on strong labor collections in the Rubenstein, the Archive of Documentary Arts seeks to add a visual history to the labor movement in the United States, with a particular focus on work in and around unions.
    • Lives of Marginalized Communities - The Archive works with creators from across different communities to collect and preserve stories from within. Special attention is given to areas of race, gender identity, and citizenship.
    • War on Camera - With a focus on U.S. military presence at home and abroad, the Archive collects representations of war and conflict, as well as the preparations and impact. Special attention is given to the role of the camera in making visible, and participating in, the creation of nationalism, anti-nationalism, and memory.
  3. How many photographs or how long does my film/audio piece need to be?  We do not have strict minimums or limits; however, a well-rounded body of work would tell a story across multiple photographs, or a film/audio piece that is long enough for the needs of the story. This might mean 10 or more images (with most portfolios coming in around 10-15 images), and films/audio pieces ranging from shorts at 15minutes to feature length around 90minutes.
  4. Do you accept works in progress?  No. We are seeking finished bodies of work.
  5. My project was done years/decades ago, is it too old to submit?  No. We collect both historical and contemporary work.
  6. Do I have to give you my copyright for you to collect my project? No. You may maintain your intellectual rights. When the library collects materials, we are collecting the objects, either physical or digital, but not the IP rights. Those rights may stay with the creator. We do ask that you provide the library with permissions that enable us to use your materials for educational purposes such as teaching classes here at Duke and providing access to researchers both in the reading room and remotely. A copy of our agreement can be viewed upon request.
  7. What media do you accept? We accept film/video, photography, and audio. We also accept a combination of these formats. We recognize that creators might use multiple media to tell their stories and if you are invited to Round 2, we will work with you on the best presentation of these different media for the jury.
  8. What if my materials are digital?  We accept digital collections, such as photographs in digital form, video, and audio.
  9. Digital is great and all, but I work in 16mm, cassettes, tin types, etc. Do you take analog media? Super! We love analog, too. To submit to the call, however, you will need to be able to present remote or digital access for the jury to review the work.
  10. Can I submit my book for consideration? We are not accepting books for the Collection Awards. If you’d like us to consider a book, please fill out this form and we will evaluate adding it to our book list. Book purchases are made throughout the year as they apply to both our thematic areas of interest and according to our budget.
  11. I have questions not answered here. Who can I contact?  Please email the Curator for the Archive of Documentary Arts, Caitlin M. Kelly at She may also be reached by phone at 919-681-7963 and snail mail at 411 Chapel Drive, Campus Box 90185, Durham, NC 27708. Please do not send physical materials as these will not be returned.