Ann Marie Stock, a professor of Hispanic studies and film and media studies at William & Mary, has been selected to receive funding totaling $14,000 to create a course that will bring student researchers to Cuba over spring break in 2016.
Support for the project came from the Sharon Philpott and Marta Perez (SPMP) Faculty-Student Research Endowment and the Charles Center fund for spring courses with significant off-campus components.
Established in 2010, the SPMP endowment funds yearly awards that provide Hispanic studies majors with innovative learning and research opportunities, with support from faculty mentors.
The money will allow for Stock and co-instructor Troy Davis to offer a “Community Media Workshop” course that will combine on-campus learning with international immersion experiences. Students will have the opportunity to curate an exhibit of film posters, to be displayed in Swem Library’s Botetourt Gallery, as one of their projects. Six students will get to travel to eastern Cuba and work with the Television Serrana (TVS) community media organization over spring break 2016. There, they will be doing research on community media practices and explore the numerous possibilities for collaboration between W&M and TVS.
“Students will work side by side with [Cuban] documentary film directors, editors, sound specialists, photographers and others,” said Stock.
With diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba improving, Stock believes the grant could not have come at a better time.
“It's an exciting time for my Cuba-related research and teaching, given the recent move to begin normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Stock. “I've established lots of partnerships with individuals and organizations on the island and will now have the possibility for making more formal institutional connections.”
Stock has long been an advocate of the preservation of Cuban film culture.
“When I started filming interviews and gathering materials for my research and teaching in Cuba back in 1989, as a graduate student,” said Stock. “I had no idea I was amassing what would become one of the – if not the – most comprehensive archives of Cuban film material in the U.S. I'm so grateful for the private funds shared through Hispanic studies, the Charles Center and Swem Library that permit me to offer students this innovative hands-on learning experience."