Yvonne Welbon

Founder/Producer, Sisters in Cinema

Senior Creative Consultant

-- Chicken & Egg Pictures
HWL Affiliation: Visiting Faculty Fellow
Year Visiting: 2013 to 2014

As a Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow at Duke during the 2013-2014 academic year, Professor Welbon will analyze, evaluate, record, catalog, document and find a safe and publicly accessible home for her Sisters in Cinema archive.  Collected over two decades, the archive is possibly one of the largest single collections of African American women’s media production in the United States.

The archive includes over one hundred hours of videotaped interviews and transcripts, hundreds of films, videotapes and DVDs directed by African American women and over 100 boxes of related artifacts that include posters, photos, drafts of screenplays, works in-progress cuts, director’s cuts, festival programs, box office reports, promotional postcards, journal and newspaper articles, buttons, t-shirts and other memorabilia.  Her goal is to have the archive in a permanent home with a clear plan for preservation by the end of the fellowship year.  While at Duke, she will also work on the manuscript for the book related to the Sisters in Cinema archive project.

In addition to processing the archive, Professor Welbon will identify Duke courses that could benefit from offering students access to the archive.  For instance, a student in an American history class may use the archive to create a project focused on the Civil Rights Movement.  An art history major may consider elements of realism in media.  A cultural anthropology student might consider using the archive for a diversity project.  A literature student may consider translation from script to screen for a comparative literature project.  And perhaps an English major will bring the students together across disciplines and create a social media project about the collective research of Duke humanities students working with the archive.

To reach beyond the classroom, Professor Welbon also proposes a 4-part series of process-based workshops sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies that will highlight the use of archives in research in general and the use of the Sisters in Cinema content in the archive in particular.

She will be based at the Center for Documentary Studies under the direction of Tom Rankin, who said that “I’ve witnessed her creativity, sharp intellect, and commitment to broadening our understanding of history and culture through her powerful work with film and video.  The workshops Yvonne proposes will be a model for demonstrating the power of technology to broaden our understanding of women media makers.” 

She will work on the archive project with advisement from Kirston Johnson at The Archive of Documentary Arts and Laura Micham and Kelly Wooten at The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.

Professor Welbon holds a BA in History from Vassar College, an MFA in Film and Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a doctorate in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University.  Among a long list of awards, in 2012, she received a Mellon - Future of Minority Studies Postdoctoral Mentoring Fellowship to work on an essay for her book project, Sisters in the Life: 25 Years of “Out” African American Lesbian Media-making (1986 – 2011), with Sandy Darity, Professor and Chair of African and African-American Studies at Duke.


Visiting Faculty Fellow


NAACP Image Awards Nomination
-- Feb 20 2014
Visiting Faculty Fellow Yvonne Welbon has been nominated for the 45th NAACP Image Awards for her role as producer of "The New Black," a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American... Read More
Former Visiting Faculty Fellow Yvonne Welbon Returns This Fall With Her Latest Project
-- Sep 4 2014
Yvonne Welbon, a Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow last year, will return to Duke in December to screen her latest project, The New Black. The film, directed by Yoruba Richen, explores... Read More
Visiting Faculty Fellow Returns to Consider The New Black
-- Dec 12 2014
The audience overflowed the Nasher Museum's auditorium at a recent screening of The New Black, a film produced by former Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow Yvonne Welbon. The film,... Read More


Finding My Sisters In Cinema: Yvonne Welbon's Archive of African American Women's Media Production
-- Apr 15 2014 - 12:00pm
Yvonne Welbon's Sisters in Cinema archive is one of the largest single collections of African American women's media production in the United States. At an event at CDS, Welbon, a 2013-14 Humanities... Read More