i. I work as an instructor of Anthropology & Sociology at Columbia College, where I am head of the department. Apart from academic activities, I am active in independent theatre production as a producer, and in documentary film as a filmmaker, primarily working on location in South Africa.
ii. I do this creative work because:
It is fulfilling, and allows me to express my wonder at the world, and exercise my critical faculties and imagination.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Being an astute observer of society, and a good listener, which encourages people to share their “stories” with me.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
Accepting that my personal artistic vision and priorities are not necessarily shared by everyone.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Writing poetry and prose; making scale models of cars, ships & planes; dabbling in drawing and painting.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Theatre people, both onstage and backstage, and other documentary filmmakers working outside their own cultural environment and “comfort zone” – and my daughter, Jessica Stuart, a singer/songwriter and composer who has created unique and original music for our films
vii. Training that has helped me succeed in this career:
Working in the social sciences and interacting with people from widely divergent backgrounds; doing “Applied Anthropology” in fostering dialog and discussion among different cultural groups.
viii. The biggest myth about this type of work is:
That it is more inspiration than “perspiration.” It’s definitely inspiration up-front, but hard work thereafter.
ix. Some proud career moments:
Standing ovations at shows we’ve produced; kudos for films we’ve screened; our first South African documentary being shown to audiences throughout South Africa, Namibia, Botswana & Zambia; the gratitude of the people we’ve featured in our films and the viewers.~~
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Look around you, and listen to people’s stories. Some of the most interesting might occur in the most familiar but unexpected places.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
Continuing to refine my interviewing and editing skills, and working again on direction of live theatre.
xii. If you want to see my work, go to:
Header Photo: Ron + Wendy Stuart