CCAM Wednesday Wisdom: Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
7:00PM to 9:00PM

This virtual event will feature a talk by Thomas Allen Harris and an online exhibition of work created by his Yale class, Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling. The course looks at films that redefine ideas around family in relation to larger social movements, with a focus on personal films by documentarians, artists, activists, and agents of change who are united in their use of the nonfiction format to speak truth to power. In short media projects, students employ their own family archives as well as those of the Beinecke and Sterling Library’s archives at Yale and beyond to explore issues and themes around migration, citizenship class, history, familial relations, loss and love.

These bold and deeply personal works shine new light on family and identity while traversing diasporic journeys that connect old and new worlds. As the family album seeks to unite people across time, space, and difference, the films and texts explored in his course are also journeys that culminate in linkages, helping us understand nuances of identity while illuminating personal relationships with larger cultural, social, and historical movements.

The course draws from Thomas Allen Harris’ practice of making personal essay films over the last 25 years. Produced in South and North America, Europe, and Africa, these film projects explore and expand definitions of family, community, diaspora, and home. These projects led Harris to create Family Pictures USA, a national television series and socially engaged art project that invites audiences to co-create a nuanced and diverse American family album with a new frame of reference for what defines our nation. Thomas will be showing clips from both Family Pictures USA and from his award-winning films Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela: A Son’s Tribute to Unsung Heroes (2005) and Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014).

The event will also feature the introduction of FilmNet, a new online platform for filmmaking at Yale.
Please RSVP via the following link:

Admission Information

RSVP for Zoom invitation.

  • Open to: 
    • Undergraduate
    • Faculty
    • Alumni
    • All Ages
    • General Public
    • Graduate And Professional
    • Staff

CCAM Wednesday Wisdom: Archive Aesthetics and Community Storytelling

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