Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies
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The Salt Fellowship

The Fellowship will focus on supporting students from underrepresented communities who have been accepted into the fifteen-week Salt Graduate Certificate Program in Documentary Studies at MECA.

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SALT IS STORY

Learn the Art of Documentary in Audio or Visual Storytelling

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Salt Story Archive

Culture, People, Landscapes

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Salt Institute for Documentary Studies

Since 1973, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies has taught students from all over the United States and around the world to become skilled documentarians and storytellers.

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at Maine College of Art is a 24/7 15-week experience. Motivated individuals from all walks of life come to Salt to focus on documentary storytelling, develop new skills, and build expertise. Our faculty members are working documentarians and teaching professionals who help provide a strong foundation for students to make their best work.

The Salt experience is intensive and focused. We are looking for students who arrive ready to work and who understand the importance of and possibilities inherent in the 15-week residency format of our program. We want students to bring their passion for documentary work to Salt to gain better storytelling skills, learn more about the field of documentary work, and be open to the new possibilities that the Salt program will present.

Students bring their passions, ideas, challenges, and projects to concentrate for 15-weeks on one track of study (Audio Storytelling or Visual Storytelling); leave with a portfolio of beautifully crafted stories.

Audio Storytelling

Visual Storytelling

Come expand your passion for one-semester in the fall or spring and earn 16 graduate credits. Start dates of the fall and spring semester can be found here.

Access to Urban Centers & the Natural World
Located on the southern coast of Maine, Portland is just the right size, easy to navigate on foot, filled with arts and culture and minutes from islands, beaches, lakes, forests, and farmland. Just a few hours from Boston and a few more hours to Manhattan, the city of Portland is a collection of unique neighborhoods with a strong commitment to community. Between the outdoor activities, the booming local food movement, and the vibrant visual and performing art scene, Portland offers a place to live and a way of life.

Examples of Where Salt Alumni Go on to Work and Freelance
  • Al Jazeera
  • American Public Media
  • Audible
  • BBC
  • California Sunday Magazine
  • Gimlet
  • The Magnum Foundation
  • Modern Love
  • New York Magazine
  • Pop Up Magazine
  • Radiolab
  • Snap Judgement
  • The Believer
  • The New Yorker
  • This American Life
  • Tin House
  • Vice Media
  • Virginia Quarterly Review
  • 99 Percent Invisible
Salt Story Archive

Browse this archive and you’ll find yourself jumping from portraits of fishermen, to a radio story exploring the lives of Somali-American teenagers, to a print piece about a group of people fighting for affordable housing. You’ll discover work documenting everything from the back-to-the-land movement, hunting, and migrant farmers to gender diversity, alleged alien abductions, and cold-case crimes.

View Salt Alumni Work

Since 1973, the students of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies have captured the spirit of the culture, people, and landscapes of the world around us. The collective body of work—stories and publications— is now available online at saltstoryarchive.com.

Please contact Colin Cheney (ccheney@meca.edu) with any Salt Story Archive inquiries.

Artist Credit and Resources
  • Slide 1 of Header: Bridget Ganske, The Keeping of Bees2009
  • Slide 2: Nicolas Tanner, Torch, 2011
  • Slide 3: Radio student Jessica Alpert, Salt ’08 gathers some ambient sound. Photo: Tommy Galloway, Salt ’08
  • Slide 4: Alan Hunter, Old Orchard Beach Off Season2011
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Spotlight

  • Alumni
  • Student
  • The Bravado of Storytelling by Alix Towler Salt ’17

    Wheels click in staccato rhythms and rubber stoppers shriek against the slick wooden floor of the track. . . .

    Wheels click in staccato rhythms and rubber stoppers shriek against the slick wooden floor of the track. Strapped head to toe in protective pads and helmets, 10 women on rollerskates jockey for position, huddling in groups, bracing and pushing. Two nimble skaters—jammers—race each other as they try to score points for their teams . . .Read More

  • Juliet Werner (Salt ’06)

    Juliet Werner (Salt ’06), a Senior Segment Producer at the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, took some time to . . .

    Juliet Werner (Salt ’06), a Senior Segment Producer at the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, took some time to discuss her new feature documentary film, The Laughter Life, and share some reflections on her life after Salt. Can you tell us a bit about this new project, The Laughter Life? This is my first time […]Read More

  • Morrigan McCarthy ’07

    I let my curiosity lead me.

    How did you learn about Salt? A photographer friend in Portland took me to the final show of the 2006 fall semester, when the photography was still black and white film! I had been shooting some weddings and portraits locally and thought that was going to be my career, but within 10 minutes of walking […]Read More

  • Tracy Mumford Salt ’13, Steven Jackson Salt ’13

    Tracy Mumford Salt ’13 and Steven Jackson Salt '13 won audio awards in the 2017 Third Coast/Richard H. . . .

    Tracy Mumford Salt ’13 and Steven Jackson Salt '13 won audio awards in the 2017 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Competition.Read More

  • Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01

    Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01 Receives Best Female Narrator Audie Award Tavia Gilbert, who attended the Salt . . .

    Tavia Gilbert Salt ’01 Receives Best Female Narrator Audie Award Tavia Gilbert, who attended the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies in 2001, received a 2017 Best Female Narrator Audie Award for her narration of Be Frank With Me, by Julia Claiborne Johnson. Other nominees included Robin Miles (Another Brooklyn: A Novel), Juliet . . .Read More

  • Alex Acquisto Salt ’11

    A news story recently written by Alex Acquisto Salt ’11 recounted the heroic actions of jogger Rachel Borch . . .

    A news story recently written by Alex Acquisto Salt ’11 recounted the heroic actions of jogger Rachel Borch during her terrifying encounter with a rabid raccoon, which she managed to drown in a puddle and made headlines: “Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up […]Read More

  • Heidi Sistare & Kelly Shetron Salt '12

    Stories are how we see and understand each other. Stories are how people connect.

    Writers, artists, and friends Heidi Sistare and Kelly Shetron value creative partnerships so highly they started their own project that explores how collaborative relationships impact creative work. “The creative process can be mysterious,” they observed. “What did it take to get to the finished product? How many revisions? How . . .Read More

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Program

24/7 15-week experience

Salt Core Tracks of Study: Audio Storytelling or      Visual Storytelling

Students choose one track to study (8 credits each)

And also enrolled in:

The Salt Workshop (4 credits)

Field Research (4 credits)                               _____________________________________________________

16 credits

  • My radio career? It just needed Salt.

    When I realized I wanted to pursue a career in radio, I really had no idea how or where to even start. Two years ago, when I had my first real radio job interview, I didn’t have enough experience to get me the job. So I decided I needed to figure out how other radio producers got said 'experience'. After reading many biographies of famous radio-makers one name kept coming up; Salt. My career needed Salt.

    As I freelanced for six months I was able to connect with many producers who trusted me because I went to Salt. One producer even complimented my audio saying “it is a testament to how I was trained.” And I couldn’t agree more.

    About two months ago, I interviewed for an Associate Producer position in Austin. The same exact job that I interviewed for, but didn’t get two years ago. This time, I got the job.

    Salt opened doors that I never understood how to open. The program and, more precisely, the people who run it made my dream attainable.

    Kristen Cabrera Salt '17    //  Associate Producer at Texas Standard  //  Austin, TX
  • Salt helped expand my family circle -- I now have 20 wonderfully vibrant and gifted documentary makers that span the country. We are a community of proud, cheering folks. We digitally ‘like’ every broadcasted piece, published work, fellowship acceptance. We are all still so close and we will always lend an ear to listen. We watch out for one another.

    I feel like I am only now breaking through to who I am and what I want to do. I have spent years behind a coffee shop counter exhausting customers (that’s right, I exhaust them) with questions about themselves. I’m never off-the-clock when it comes to probing for stories. I only now, once finishing Salt and started embarking on personal and outside radio gigs, do I confidentially feel that I can say that I am a storyteller. I. produce. radio. stories.

    Casey Georgi Salt '17  2017  //  Freelancer  //  Ithaca, NY
  • Fifteen weeks at Salt rearranged 80% of my brain. The person I was when I arrived at Salt was not the person I was when I left. I walked away with more skills, ideas, and confidence than I could’ve ever imagined.

    Paula Mauro 

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

55% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

63

Work as professional artists

23

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

16

Founded a business

23

Work as craft artists

38

Work as fine artists

29

Work as art teachers

17

Pursued an MFA after graduation

47

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

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