Professor receives fellowship for Liberty Square documentary

Moses Shumow

Digital media professor Moses Shumow has been named a Restorative Narrative Fellow for his documentary film work in Liberty City.


In 2014, digital media professor Moses Shumow received FIU’s Excellence in Engagement Award for his work with high school students in Liberty City.

Now, Shumow’s efforts to document the realities of that community through film have earned him national recognition as well.

Shumow, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been named one of four Restorative Narrative fellows by Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting media as agents of world benefit.

The group defines restorative narratives as a genre of stories that show how people and communities are learning to rebuild and recover in the aftermath, or midst of, difficult times. More than 100 journalists from around the country applied for the fellowship.

“We selected Moses for this competitive fellowship because we were impressed by the caliber of his work, along with his understanding of and appreciation for restorative narrative,’’ said Mallary Tenore, executive director of ivoh. The non-profit recently co-hosted a day-long community forum with FIU on the power of media to serve as agents of change.

“We believe Moses’ project holds a lot of promise and that it will deepen our collective understanding of how restorative narrative can play out in local communities and in documentary film,’’ Tenore added.

Each ivoh fellow receives a $2,500 stipend to spend six months on a project of their choosing.

Shumow will continue his work on “Liberty Square Rising: Hope, Resistance and Resilience in Miami’s Urban Core,” a 30-minute documentary that will tell the story of the past, present and future of Liberty Square — Miami-Dade County’s largest public housing development, built during the Great Depression and now slated for redevelopment by the county.

Told through the voices of current and former residents, activists, journalists and historians, the film will shed light on the important history of this community and its connections to discussions of race, segregation and empowerment currently taking place across the United States.

The fellowship begins this month and continues through June. Fellows will receive coaching from Pulitzer Prize winner and University of Missouri professor Jacqui Banaszynski.

“This is a great opportunity for me to extend the work I’ve been doing in Liberty City, as well as return to the genre of storytelling where I began my professional life — documentary filmmaking,’’ said Shumow.

“I’m really looking forward to working with ivoh to help develop and extend their innovative work around restorative narratives, and I think applying that model to reporting in Liberty Square and the people who live there holds great promise to share untold stories in unique and impactful ways.”

For more on ivoh’s Restorative Narrative Fellowship, visit the ivoh website. To view the work Shumow and his students have done in Liberty City, visit Liberty Square Rising.