Elizabeth Barret (panelist) is a member of the founding generation of Appalshop in Kentucy, an organization committed to independent media making and multidisciplinary arts activity that amplifies the voices and reflects the concerns of people living in Appalachia and rural America. She has been the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Film/Video/ Multimedia Fellowship and the Kentucky Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship for her award-winning documentary Stranger With A Camera which was chosen as an official selection of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on the PBS series P.O.V., a showcase featuring the work of America’s best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Barret’s work has been supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, NEH, Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Open Society Institute, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Barret is currently pursuing a production inspired by Portraits and Dreams that will explore the photographer Wendy Ewald with the children she collaborated with thirty-five years earlier in Kentucky.
Corinne Dufka (panelist) is a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch and in charge of the organization’s work on West Africa. From 1999 – 2004, she was based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, both as a researcher for Human Rights Watch and, in 2002 during a year’s sabbatical, as a criminal investigator for the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. She is now based in Dakar, Senegal. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, Dufka worked as a photojournalist for the Reuters News Agency and from 1987-1999 covered conflicts in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Before becoming a photojournalist, Dufka worked as a psychiatric social worker in San Francisco. Dufka has received numerous awards for her work as a photojournalist including the Robert Capa Gold Medal from the Overseas Press Club and the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. In 2004 she was named a MacArthur Fellow for her work documenting war crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s brutal armed conflict.
Wendy Ewald (panelist) has for thirty-eight years collaborated in art projects with children, families, women, and teachers in Labrador, Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico, and the United States. Starting as documentary investigations of places and communities, Ewald’s projects probe questions of identity and cultural differences. In her work with children she encourages them to use cameras to record themselves, their families, and their communities, and to articulate their fantasies and dreams. Ewald creates opportunities to look at the meaning and use of photographic images in our lives with fresh perceptions.
Her many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission. She was also a senior fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School from 2000-2002. She has published ten books, her fifth, a retrospective documenting her projects entitled Secret Games, was published by Scalo in 2000. Two books on recent projects were published in 2005. A third, To The Promised Land was published in 2006 to accompany an outdoor installation in Margate, England commissioned by ArtAngel. She is currently teaching at Amherst College. And is artist in residence at the Duke University Center for International Studies and senior research associate at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.
Thomas Keenan (moderator) teaches media theory, literature, and human rights at Bard College in the US, where he is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of the Human Rights Project. He is author of Fables of Responsibility (Stanford University Press, 1997) and co-editor with Wendy Chun of New Media, Old Media (Routledge, 2005). He will be finishing a new book soon, about the news media and contemporary conflicts, titled Live Feed: Crisis, Intervention, Media.
Bonnie Jo Mount (Panelist) is picture editor and presentation team leader at The Washington Post. She has lived in a variety of places, working as an editor, educator and photojournalist. Previous positions include: assistant professor at Hampton University (VA); deputy managing editor for visuals and interactive media at The News & Observer (NC); director of photography at The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO); photography editor at The Jackson Hole Guide (WY); and photojournalist on the staffs of The Burlington Free Press (VT), The Knoxville News-Sentinel and The Tampa Tribune. Mount earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida and studied in the MFA program at the Visual Studies Workshop. In 2002 she spent an academic year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Fellow.
Gilles Peress, (panelist) having studied political science and philosophy in Paris, began working with photography in 1970. Since then he has documented events in Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Bosnia, Rwanda, 9-11, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In 1972, Gilles Peress began documenting immigration in Europe. This work continues in his current ongoing project, Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of documentary narratives that looks at intolerance and it’s consequences. His earlier projects/books include Haines; A Village Destroyed; The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar; The Silence: Rwanda; Farewell to Bosnia and Telex Iran.
His work has been exhibited and is collected by institutions including in the US and Europe.
His awards and fellowships include: The Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, Pollock-Krasner and New York State Council of the Arts fellowships, the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography and the International Center of Photography Infinity Award. Peress is Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College, NY and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley. Peress joined Magnum Photos in 1971 and served three times as vice-president and twice as president of the co-operative.