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IPMA is an independent educational nonprofit focusing on public service through media arts--photography, video, radio, and the World Wide Web/ Internet. IPMA utilizes media arts as an educational tool for reflection, learning and empowerment. IPMA focuses on the first-person point of view of people traditionally under-represented in main-stream media. To this end, IPMA helps people engage community issues and create media that represents their point of view.

Access & Artistry

"Our reporters do not cover stories from their point of view. They are presenting them from nobody's point of view." -Richard S. Salant, President of CBS News, in TV Guide

With the introduction of the 1996 Telecommunication Act, media conglomerates are buying up more television and radio stations, taking over smaller media organizations and controlling more of the information we receive through print, television, radio and now the Internet. As a result, people are losing ground, losing influence and losing out. Certainly these recent events highlight the need for broader access to media tools, which is one of IPMA's primary goals. However, IPMA also believes that there is a need to develop the art of using media tools.

As Ellen Schneider, Executive Producer of the PBS series "P.O.V." and IPMA project advisory board member, put it, "You can't just give someone a typewriter and expect them to write a novel." IPMA can't only provide access to media tools without also building the skills and artistry of the people using those tools to communicate about community issues they find important. When IPMA works with teens through Youth Voice Radio, they aren't just learning how to use the equipment, but also how to create radio that will eventually be viable for NPR. Similarly, visually impaired students at Governor Morehead School for the Blind aren't just learning how to use a camera for the first time. They are learning how to take pictures that can be presented publicly. In fact, a Governor Morehead School student's photograph was included in a national student art exhibit at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC during the summer of 1996.

Civic Engagement

From TV satellite links, to instantly transmitted photos of world events, to the Internet, media tools have enormous power to bring our world together. Often, though, these same tools are used in a way that alienates people from each other by perpetuating stereotypes and creating atrophied arm-chair critics. IPMA sees communication as engagement. IPMA reclaims the use of media tools to build community; to advance education and the articulation of under-heard voices; and to increase critical thinking and community problem-solving skills. When IPMA worked with students at 19 colleges and universities across the country as a part of the -ISM (N.) project, students didn't just learn how to make videos about campus diversity issues, they learned to work together across lines of difference to create a common group video about diversity issues. In the creation process, students engaged issues of diversity in a new way and learned important civic skills that will prepare them for an increasingly diverse work force.


-ISM (N.)-College Students: Diversity & Community

During the Spring 1996 semester and the entire 1997-1998 school year, -ISM (N.) worked with over 450 students and 60 faculty at 19 colleges and universities around the country to use video as an educational tool in the classroom to explore diversity issues. During a humanities course, each student produced an individual video diary. Later in the course, students formed diverse groups to collaborate in creating a common video documentary about diversity issues on their campus. This process of making a video together was an experiential exercise in dealing with diversity, through which students learned civic skills to negotiate their differences and work together in crafting a message toward an agreed upon outcome (the video). -ISM (N.)'s goals were to change students' attitudes, strengthen teaching, create constructive public dialogue and build better community relations in this time of heightened tension around diversity and affirmative action.

During the 1996-97 school year, -ISM (N.) worked with eight students to make in-depth documentaries of their own experiences with diversity. These stories will be packaged for a national television broadcast during early 2000. In partnership with the University of North Carolina Center for Public Television and Project Change, an anti-racism initiative of the Levi Strauss Foundation, -ISM (N.) produced a live satellite videoconference about diversity issues on November 13th. The videoconference, moderated by CNN political analyst Farai Chideya with guests Dr. Ronald Takaki and Dr. Michael Dyson, involved over 10,000 students from 86 colleges nationally.

Sound Shadows

Sound Shadows is a literacy-through-photography program started by IPMA in 1992 at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. In a predominantly visually centered world, Sound Shadows is a bridge between visually impaired students and a visual world which has traditionally alienated them. Since it began, Sound Shadows has worked in-depth, one-on-one with over 50 high-school students. The program has seen measurable success through improved grades in language arts and spelling, increased self-esteem among participants and introduction of a new way to render their ideas, beliefs and lives in a visual world.

Youth Voice Radio

Youth Voice Radio is a not-for-profit production house based out of WDCG (G-105) & WDNC's former radio broadcasting studios in downtown Durham. Youth Voice Radio gives young people a chance to learn radio production skills, create their own talk and music programming about issues they feel are important and develop critical thinking skills about community issues. The production studio will work with teens in the Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham area. Last year, Youth Voice Radio acquired a state-of-the-art digital audio editing studio with a grant from the Triangle Community Foundation. Currently, Youth Voice Radio has a weekly radio show on WXDU and during the summer completed a week-long Youth Voice Radio workshop with 20 triangle-area teens. During the school year, teens from the summer workshop will become trainers for their peers. The Youth Voice Radio website is at http://www.mindspring.com/~ipma/

From The Hip Photo Exhibition & Documentary Book

In 1993, From The Hip-a visual diary of community service-paired 280 young photographers and writers from across the country to discover and record what young people are doing in their communities and how they define service. With funding from the Corporation for National Service, the From The Hip photo exhibit opened at the Boston Center for the Arts in April 1994 and has toured the country to the Council on Foundations Annual Meeting in New York City, Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University, Washington, D.C., Durham, NC and other places.

© 1998 Institute for Public Media Arts
115 Market Street
Durham, NC 27701