Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Transforming Students through Documentary Film, Video and Photography Projects

Dr. Jim Seguin, Dr Tony Buba, Ray Henderson, Dr Rachel Bobrow, Andrew Seguin.

Following the events of September 11, 2001 in the U.S., 25 Robert Morris University media production students produced an award-winning documentary that captured the American public’s reaction to the attacks. The project challenged these students to achieve beyond what is normally expected of 20 year olds who are just learning documentary art and craft. The real world approach met most educational goals in a superior manner, from conducting research, understanding technology and the art of story telling, to practical activities like meeting deadlines and interacting professionally with a wide variety of people. At the time documentary studies were not part of the curriculum of this university, but the positive experience led to the formation of The Center for Documentary Production and Study. Now, several other substantial nonfiction film and photography projects have been completed. A minor in documentary studies has been approved to begin in the fall semester 2004. The Center is forming international relationships with universities in Germany and Turkey so that cross-cultural projects can be undertaken. Presenters will describe how the Center and these projects assist in uniting real world and classroom learning, expand students’ horizons and excitement about learning. Presenters will explain how visual projects are selected and managed, what teaching techniques are used, and show examples of student work. Presenters will also expand on other documentary work completed outside the classroom such as the highly regarded documentary, "Struggles in Steel--A Story of African American Steelworkers," and how high school and university students were able to use this experience as pathways to their current careers.


Dr. Jim Seguin  (United States)
Center for Documentary Production and Study Department of Communications
Robert Morris University

James Seguin received his Ph.D. in Communications from Ohio State University in 1974. He is an Emmy-award winning television producer, Professor of Communications, Director of the Center for Documentary Production and Study and Director of the Academic Media Center at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA., USA. Dr. Seguin has recently produced three major documentaries with his students: The award-winning America Talks, which was highlighted nationally on CBS television; Beyond Our Shadow, which provided an international perspective on the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and The Baluh Boys, a World War II story. The fourth edition of his book, Media Career Guide: Preparing for Jobs in the 21st Century (4th ed.) was published by Bedford/St. Martin’s Press in 2003.

Dr Tony Buba  (United States)
Assistant Professor

Robert Morris University

Tony Buba, M.F.A. and D.A. has worked as an independent film and video maker since receiving his M.F.A. degree from Ohio University in 1976. His films have received over fifty awards from various film festivals. His first feature film “Lightning Over Braddock, A Rustbowl Fantasy” completed in 1988 was shown at the Toronto, Berlin, Sundance, San Francisco and other major film festivals including the Birmingham Film Festival in England where it was awarded best of the festival. In 1985, Professor Buba was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was named Pennsylvania’s Media Artist of the Year. In 1989, he received a Rockefeller Fellowship for his work on the “Braddock Chronicles.” Professor Buba has had one person shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney, and The Carnegie. In 1996, he completed “Struggles in Steel--A Story of African American Steelworkers” with Raymond Henderson. “Struggles” was screened at Sundance Film Festival, Pan-African Film Festival in Burkina Faso and played on PBS and the Starz Channel. Dr. Buba is an Assistant Professor at Robert Morris University

Ray Henderson  (United States)

Braddock Field Historical Society

Raymond Henderson – Co-Producer, Co-Director of “Struggles in Steel”, Lead Trainer for Public Housing Communities – Urban League of Pittsburgh. Mr. Henderson has been a community activist since 1965; he was a steelworker from 1966 to 1984 when he lost his job due to the closing of the Duquesne Steel Mill. While at Duquesne Mr. Henderson was grievance man for twelve years and participated in local and national union politics. He is past president of the East Boroughs NAACP, child advocate, a cross-cultural trainer and President of the Board of the Braddock’s Field Historical Society which operates the Braddock Carnegie Library. As President of the Board, Mr. Henderson is constantly working with the community to advance literacy programs at the library from pre-school to adult education. Mr. Henderson is also researching and recording oral history of African-American steelworkers.

Dr Rachel Bobrow  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Communications
Robert Morris University

Rachel Bobrow is a documentary filmmaker whose work investigates family issues including personal histories and religious practices and other social issues including violence with guns. She has two projects currently underway, one about personal religious practice and one about women covering their heads for religious reasons. She is an Assistant Professor at Robert Morris University in the Department of Communications. Professor Bobrow has been teaching video and documentary

Andrew Seguin  (United States)

Columbia University

Andrew Seguin is a photographer and poet. He received his B.A. from Connecticut College in English with a concentration in poetry and emphasis in photography in 2003. He recently completed Collected on Penn, a body of photographs about his relationship with Penn Avenue, an historic and the longest street in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. The photographs will be exhibited there in July, 2004. Mr. Seguin teaches photography to 8-12 year old children who are victims of domestic violence for Community Partners in New York City. Mr. Seguin is currently at work on his first book of poems, and attending Columbia University’s graduate writing program.

  • Documentary
  • Non-fiction film and video
  • Photography
  • Digital technology
  • Visual and verbal literacies
  • Apprenticeship model
  • International and cross-cultural
  • Student transformation
  • Learning pathways
  • Uniting real world and classroom

(90 min. Colloquium, English)