Skidmore Student and Non- Skidmore Student Application

MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute: Co-Creation and Its Discontents 

Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs NY 

Institute Dates: May 31st- July 3rd 2020 

Applications Deadline: Skidmore students October 24th, Non-Skidmore students December 15th 

Accepted Skidmore students notified by November 5th 

Accepted Non-Skidmore students notified by early February 

Begin Application

The annual Storytellers’ Institute sponsored by the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative (MDOCS) is a five-week residency during the month of June at Skidmore College. The institute brings together four- five highly skilled, professional documentary practitioners (Visiting Fellows) and eight-ten Skidmore College students to work on personal projects, receive and give critiques, and engage with the year’s theme. This year, we hope to open this experience up to non- Skidmore Students as well! The Storytellers’ Institute is a hybrid artistic-academic experience that combines the freedom and space to work on independent projects with the guidance of practitioners and select faculty members and staff. Time is divided between independent work and Institute activities (such as critique sessions, opportunities to share work with the public, networking events, skill building, and group outings organized around the theme). 

This year our theme is Co-Creation and its Discontents–– This is a call to all collaborators, collectives and co-creators of knowledge! To those coming from activism, community organizing, and collective power building. To those willing to transgress artistic boundaries and academic disciplines in the urgent name of shared agency and more inclusive institutions! Read more about the theme here.

“My time at Storytellers’ taught me how to be in my area of study and still learn something new.” Haja Isatu Bah, Student Fellow  2019

Hear the Institute Director talk about what the Storytellers’ Institute means to her.
Check out the incredibly talented 2019 Visiting Fellows
Check out the incredibly talented 2019 Student Fellows.


The Institute runs from May 26- June 26, 2020 on  Skidmore campus.  Students do not need to have a project proposal ready for the application, but rather are encouraged to have some ideas in mind that they are open to workshopping and discussing further with the instructor, Institute Director Sarah Friedland, and their fellow classmates in the Storytellers’ Institute Prep class if admitted to the Institute. 


  • Applicants must have an interest in documentary and have taken at least one MDOCS class prior to the time of applying or must be committed to taking an MDOCS class in the Spring semester, in addition to the required Storytellers’ Prep Class.  
  • Applicants must have an interest in the theme and be open to developing a project in collaboration with (an)other students, faculty member, or community member.  
  • Admitted Skidmore students are required to take the 2-credit Storytellers’ Institute Prep course that runs during the Spring 2020 semester. During this course, students are given the opportunity to develop a project idea and work on skills to help them achieve their goals. (This is not a requirement for non-Skidmore students) 

The 2020 Storytellers’ Institute will hold two priority spots for Skidmore Opportunity Program students and two priority spots for Skidmore International students. 

Skidmore Student Fellowship includes:  

  • a $1250 stipend  
  • room and board for the duration of the Institute May 26- June 26, 2020 
  • workspace 
  • access to Skidmore facilities 

Non-Skidmore Fellowship includes: workspace, and access to Skidmore facilities 

**We are very excited to support non-Skidmore students at the Institute, but do not have the resources to fund their stay at Skidmore at this time. We require that non- Skidmore Students live on campus with the other fellows and receive a Skidmore meal plan for the duration of the Institute. This is an integral part of the community building of the Institute.  If you are a non-Skidmore student, please be aware that you must provide your own funding for the Storytellers’ Institute. The total to cover room and board at Skidmore for the duration of the Storytellers’ Institute is $2000 without a stipend. 

Applications Deadline:  

Skidmore Students- October 24th 

Non- Skidmore Students- December 15th 


Accepted Skidmore students notified by November 5th 

Accepted Non-Skidmore students notified by early February 

Remember to have one letter of recommendation, from a professor or an educator who you have worked closely with, sent to before the deadline or your application will not be considered.


“Working with the Visiting Fellows was intimidating at first, then we became not only fellow creators, but very good friends.” Sarah Maacha, Student Fellow 2019

Sanjna and Sarah
2019 Student Fellows, Sarah Marlin and Sanjna Selvarajan, at the Final Exhibition
Visiting Fellow Jeremy Denis and Student Fellow Emily Egan talk over community lunch.
2019 Student Fellow, Sam Garcia, performs at the Final Exhibition.
Student Fellows enjoying the beautiful Capital Region.
Student Fellows at 2019 orientation.
2019 Student Fellow Sarah Maacha in an animation workshop.