Unearthing Silenced Histories: Documentary

The Big Idea:

How do artists reveal their culture's (and their own) hidden or unheard voices? How does an awareness of these voices change our views about ourselves?

Activity overview

Many artists have told stories for others through their art. Some of the stories are ones that had previously gone unnoticed; others had been deliberately silenced for many reasons. This exercise will show how there can be multiple points of view about a single event. You will explore the character and implications of silenced histories by creating a film treatment that describes how you would tell a silenced history.

Look closely

Click on each artist button at right to view detailed screens about the artist and his or her works. Be sure to click on all images, view all videos, read all documents, and use the zoom tool to look closely at the works of art.

In this activity you will:

  1. define a silenced history
  2. look at artworks that tell stories that have been silenced
  3. choose an important 'silenced' event from history and research it
  4. produce a film treatment of the silenced history
  5. present your film treatment to the class

You will be graded on:

  1. class participation and notes on silenced histories
  2. research on your selected topic
  3. film treatment
  4. written reflection

New terms:

documentary