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Courtney Reid-Eaton

Courtney Reid-Eaton has been the Exhibitions Director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University since 2001, overseeing the selection, scheduling, curating, design, and installation of exhibits in all of the Center’s galleries and organizing related public programs, http://documentarystudies.duke.edu/exhibits; she’s also a visual artist, wife, and mother. Her journey so far has taken her through theatre studies, work in magazine production, a non-profit community gallery, a documentary photography collective, a Montessori school, and a transformative concentration at the Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina.

In 2013, Courtney participated in her first anti-racist/anti-oppression workshop. In response, she committed to unapologetically centering the work of artists of color and women; to presenting projects that express ideas/address issues of significance to them; to foster authentic, liberatory community partnerships; and to make their invisible labor visible.

Courtney works most effectively interpersonally. She enthusiastically receives and shares stories and ideas. A native New Yorker, she is sometimes more direct than is culturally appropriate in other environs, and tries to make up for that brusqueness with grace and courtesy, care and respect. Her passion for documentary expression has sharpened her interest in empathy, equity, trust, and healing. In personal work, she has used text and images of family and friends to explore labels, identity, history, culture, and intimacy.

A visual artist whose work ranges from photography to artist’s books and assemblage, she has exhibited in New York, New Jersey, California and North Carolina. Her work is held in various private collections and in The Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books, Manuscripts and Special Collections Library at Duke University.

Her spouse and children give her something to fight for every day and something to be grateful for every moment. She loves to cook and built a labyrinth in her front yard with green glass bottles, which led her to a deep enjoyment of plants and birds.

[This piece was submitted by the honoree and has been edited.]