John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative
John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative

What is documentary?

Evidence-based stories that matter -- clearly, creatively and compellingly told.

MDOCS is an interdisciplinary program presenting the stories of the human experience in documentary media and technologies: old and new; visual, oral and written; analog and digital. Providing resources for and fostering collaborations between Skidmore's academic programs and documentary practitioners, MDOCS invites students, faculty and staff to learn and use the documentary arts for critical inquiry, discovery, civic engagement, and exposition.


-- Spring 2017 events now up on the site! Check out screenings, talks, listening, and more!

-- MDOCS' December 2016 Newsletter released! Get the insider's scoop on doc events, projects, courses, and more

MDOCS, on its own and in partnership with individuals and programs, offers classes in the principles of documentary and instruction in documentary filmmaking, audio storytelling, and exhibition, among other documentary forms.

In addition, the Skidmore-Saratoga Memory Project, Storytellers' Institute and internships support Skidmore students, faculty and staff as they develop documentary projects in partnership with the community.



Documenting in the present tense has never been easier. MDOCS connects today's student documentarians to storytelling traditions, practices and skills that will help shape the future.

Students can imagine taking a documentary writing course to shape a capstone paper into a compelling story, then workshopping over the summer with a documentarian to prepare that story for a public audience. Faculty may tease out the story at the heart of an academic book or article. Will the story work best as a short film? Broadcast as a radio interview? Exhibited at city hall? Published as a photo essay online? Whatever discipline, whatever method, whatever story needs telling—personal, local, national, global—MDOCS  can provide resources and tools to translate idea to a documentary project, and to integrate classroom and fieldwork.

In its approach to documentary storytelling, MDOCS

  • integrates liberal arts questions and analysis with documentary fieldwork and production
  • fosters partnerships connecting individual academic and artistic learning and expression with attention to community goals
  • offers instruction in documentary skills in audio, film/video, photography, and narrative writing
  • explores the history and contemporary expression of documentary traditions, practices, and values
  • encourages students to experiment with different documentary media
  • builds on traditional tools of oral, written and visual presentation
  • supports documentary programming across campus

Storytellers' Institute -- Fellows Speak

Highlights of the work and experience of student, faculty, and documentarian participants in 2015 and 2016 Storytellers' Institute.  Click here for full screen.

MDOCS Music Storytelling

Student, faculty and staff performers at the March 26, 2015, Carr Residency event, From Storage to Stage, Reviving, Restoring and Reimagining the Music Archive, led by Jocelyn Arem, Steve Rosenthal & Jessica Thompson. Sketches by Pamela Kwong. 

See the event program here.