Jennifer Carpenter, a 2010-2011 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellow from the Center for Documentary Studies, spent 10 months working with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) in Boston, MA. For one of her documentary projects, Jennifer chose to focus on a community of retirees who met twice a week for an afternoon of ballroom dance.

Generation Dance  is a story about social dancing from a generation that witnessed a whirlwind of war, revolution and nation-building. By interweaving 20th century Chinese ballroom dance history with personal accounts from Chinatown’s residents, this story offers unique insight into the value of self-expression & community-building through dance.

Generation Dance will be exhibited at the Wong/Yee Memorial Gallery from June 15 – October 31.

To learn more about the exhibition and see photos from the opening, visit:


Alphabet Project Exhibit

Jennifer Carpenter, a 2010-2011 Lewis Hine Fellow from the Center for Documentary Studies, spent 10 months working with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC) in Boston, Massachusetts. Inspired by the Literacy Through Photography

program, Jennifer conducted six workshops with children at BCNC to produce community alphabets. Each class produced a 26-photograph series corresponding to the 26 letters of the English alphabet. The goal of the Alphabet Project was to guide students toward a new appreciation of the power of photography as a catalyst from which to better understand their community.













The Alphabet Project’s youngest students admire their photographs of life in Chinatown. Carpenter led more than eighty students in The Alphabet Project, with participants ranging from ages five to seventy. Photo by Kye Liang.


The Alphabet Project is on display at BCNC and can also be viewed online:



















The Alphabet Project
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
38 Ash Street, Boston, MA 02111
Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 12–10 p.m.

Jennifer Carpenter 2010-2011

Jennifer Carpenter completed the Certificate in Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies in 2009 while pursuing her B.A. in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, she produced more than thirty documentary pieces on subjects ranging from an Appalachian clog-off to the Golden Olympics. Her final certificate project at CDS, “The American Dragon,” is a video portrait of a small-town professional wrestler and is available on, where she worked as an undergraduate. Past story assignments have included the election of interim president Kgalema Motlanthe for ETV News in South Africa, as well as Vice President Joseph Biden’s Inaugural walk for the Washington Post.

While at UNC, Jennifer was recognized as one of the top 25 journalism students in the country. On a Fulbright scholarship in Tirana, Albania, she produced multimedia work on Albanian youth and politics, as well as worked on various multimedia pieces for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

About her motivation for working in documentary, Jennifer says, “I am drawn to unconventional stories of exceptional human struggle, passion, and eccentricity. Each person my camera encounters infuses new awareness into my life. I am a collection of their quotes, a reflection of their example, and an expression of their stories.”

For her fellowship, Jennifer worked with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC). She made hundreds of images, produced three audio interviews for StoryCorps (, and produced six videos for BCNC programs, some of which were shown on WGBH. At the end of her fellowship she produced two large projects: The Alphabet Project, working collaboratively with children and community, and Generation Dance, working with retired ballroom dancers. Jennifer’s Alphabet Project in on permanent display at BCNC and her Generation Dance exhibit is traveling to different locations..