Teaching Statement
My relationship with moving images began at home, in the years just before smartphones and computers became common household items. It was my family’s Hi8 home movie camera that captured my attention, an artifact of parents obsessed with documenting their children and adding to family archives of their own. As soon as I was old enough to earn their trust, I took over camera operating duties on family outings and at significant events. I was lucky to have parents who encouraged my interests, enough to eventually present me with my own VHS camera rescued from a dumpster fate. To this day, my instincts as an artist-educator are grounded in documenting intergenerational memory and encouraging students to locate the personal and political in their own surroundings.

As an undergraduate and later a teaching assistant in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard, I found an outlet for my home movie practice in the first-person documentary. I also developed observational skills that form the foundation of my pedagogy. Drawing on Peter Hutton’s attention to light, rhythm, and composition, Fred Wiseman’s emphasis on social interactions and novelistic structure, and Chick Strand’s embrace of ethnographic subjectivity, I challenge students to first locate narrative in the everyday. In my personal work, which incorporates documentary and fictional elements, observation is usually a starting point for exploring marginal characters and the relationship between place and identity. Within a liberal arts environment, these skills provide a gateway to countless film genres and working methods, including those that reveal the limits of filmic representation.  

While teaching in Duke's Arts of the Moving Image Program, an emphasis on interdisciplinary and experimental artmaking has further shaped my philosophy. I believe the artist and the community depend on each other, and that students need to consider who their work is ultimately for. More and more, I have embraced experimentation as a step that can upend preconceptions and even spread agency around the creative process. Thanks to coursework in the Certificate in College Teaching Program, I am more attuned to classroom dynamics and biases stemming from my own background. I am excited to incorporate this knowledge and nuance into my teaching career.

In an introductory moving image class, I teach students how to recognize available light, how to sense beginnings and endings while shooting and editing, how to use camera movement for storytelling, and how to direct and collaborate with film subjects—useful in narrative and documentary frameworks alike. Thinking through the colonial history of photographic truth and the many critiques of “direct cinema,” I ask students to consider other possibilities. How, in Trinh T. Minh-ha’s words, can we “speak nearby, rather than speak about” someone so they can “come in and fill that space as they wish?” Why might we reappropriate, recontextualize, or reenact a found archive? When do medium and materiality affect meaning? Which audio and editorial decisions induce visceral, bodily responses? Answering these questions requires sustained and critical engagement with the history of cinema, which has often excluded populations on the basis of race, gender, and/or socioeconomic status. Recognizing that many students lack access to art literacy before college and feel discouraged from majoring in the arts, I am committed to supporting a more inclusive, affordable, and community-oriented cinema. 

My ideal classroom is one where students have the confidence to offer substantive critiques of both peer work and my own teaching methods. In designing a course I build time at the beginning for students to disclose confidential information so that I can meet them where they are, in addition to periodic reflections throughout the semester. I approach content with an eye to departmental and career expectations—is the program preparing students for the professional documentary/narrative industry? The art world? Are students able to apply filmmaking and film literacy to other disciplines within the university? In all cases, I create opportunities for students to invest personally in production assignments, learn through feedback and iteration, and, above all, take risks. Often, an end of semester screening provides the incentive for exceptional work and a chance for undergraduates to celebrate their accomplishments along with those of their collaborators. Ultimately, the classroom is a space for me to continue my own education by engaging with students as conversation partners and fellow makers.
Teaching Experience
2020 (Spring) - AMI Filmcraft Workshops with Steve Milligan
Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University

2019 (Fall) - AMI 301s Moving Image Practice with Colleen Pesci
Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University

2019 (Spring) - AMI 340s Experimental Filmmaking with Anna Kipervaser
Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University

2018 (Fall) - AMI 356s 16mm Filmmaking with Josh Gibson
Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University

2018 (Spring) - VES 50b Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Alfred Guzzetti
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2018 (Spring) - VES 52r Introduction to Non Fiction Videomaking with Ross McElwee
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2018 (Spring) - VES 99b Senior Thesis Tutorial with Joana Pimenta
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2017 (Fall) - VES 50a Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Alfred Guzzetti
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2017 (Fall) - VES 99a Senior Thesis Tutorial with Joana Pimenta
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2017 (Spring) - VES 50b Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Ross McElwee
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2017 (Spring) - VES 99b Senior Thesis Tutorial
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2016 (Fall) - VES 50a Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Ross McElwee
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2016 (Fall) - VES 99a Senior Thesis Tutorial
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2016 (Fall) - VES 151br Non Fiction Video Projects with Alfred Guzzetti
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2016 (Spring) - VES 50b Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Ross McElwee
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University

2015 (Fall) - VES 50a Introduction to Non Fiction Filmmaking with Ross McElwee
Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies, Harvard University