ROCK HILL, S.C. - Selected as the inaugural Winthrop University Thompson Scholar, Phil Moody, professor of photography, will direct a digital photography project with rural South Carolina students during the 2006-2007 academic year.
Moody, who has taught photography classes at Winthrop for 21 years, proposes to create "The Rural Photography Studio." He will work with senior photography students to identify two public schools along the I-95 corridor. The area was highlighted in the recent documentary "Corridor of Shame" for its poverty and lack of state funding to provide basic education to its students.
"There is potential for using digital photography as a means for providing creative opportunities to students in serious at-risk schools," Moody wrote in his proposal. He would provide digital cameras and a computer to junior high students and coordinate a three-month correspondence course with the selected schools. The students would be asked to photograph their school and private lives as part of their social studies and creative writing course work.
Winthrop officials said Moody’s proposal is an ideal project for the first Thompson Scholar. "Professor Moody’s project engages students in connecting their academic work to the lives of people in South Carolina. I think this is exactly the type of project we had in mind when we created the Thompson Scholar," said Tom Moore, vice president for academic affairs.
Created by former Winthrop Board of Trustee Bob Thompson and his wife Norma of Rock Hill, the fund provides for reassigned time for two classes per year for a faculty member "to work on projects that strengthen the academic, intellectual, and co-curricular life of the university."
The Robert and Norma Thompson Endowment was established during the university’s first capital campaign.
Moody has worked with community groups from farm workers in Scotland to textile workers in the Carolinas to document daily life. A former high school art teacher, he recently collaborated with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra on a creative photography and music project with Randolph Road Middle School in Charlotte. Moody was the 1997 S.C. Professor of the Year and has received several teaching awards at Winthrop.