Skip to main content

About The Institute

The Institute of Southern Storytelling at MC is a space for preserving and creating stories that are part of a positive conversation.

Good Stories Should Spread Like Kudzu.

The Institute for Southern Storytelling at Mississippi College is a flagship program of the Samuel Gore Arts Complex at MC. The goal of the Institute is to help others reflect on the South’s unique place, and larger role in the world, by preserving the stories of the past and producing new tales through inspiring and instructive films, art, music, and writing. This interdisciplinary approach to storytelling provides a multitude of avenues for stories to spread and take root — bringing with them joy, empathy, and new opportunities for conversation.

Through the Institute’s leadership team, we have the experience, success, and support to join together in creating and telling these incredible stories. With leaders like William Ferris — the “Ken Burns of the South” and former head of The Center for the Study of Southern Culture and later of the National Endowment of the Humanities —serving on the board and requesting to collaborate on future projects employing his vast archives of new documentary raw footage, the leadership of this Institute is strong. Ferris is the gold standard in documenting southern life and culture, and his participation will contribute towards making this Institute one of national importance.

Through the collaboration of our distribution partners, our efforts will reach a broad audience. The founding filmmakers have an excellent working association with Mississippi Public Broadcasting which presents the possibility of our programs being broadcast statewide through television and radio. The national distribution strategy involves relationships through American Public Television and other major media affiliates. Our ongoing development of these relationships can provide the national distribution of numerous projects through the Institute, giving participants real-life credits and recognition to build their resumes for future success.


Student Opportunities

The Institute gives MC students a unique opportunity to become apprentice filmmakers and storytellers with professional, award winning collaborators. These are professional projects where students gain valuable real-world experience while building impressive resumes. Our connection with Mississippi Public Broadcasting opens the possibilities of student work finding a showcase and distribution statewide, and our developing national partnerships make even larger distribution possible.

Community Partners And Volunteers

The Institute will host ongoing workshops, conferences, film festivals, and community events. Students, faculty, community leaders, and outside filmmakers have the opportunity to be involved. Additionally, a publishing arm of the Institute partners with authors to distribute their works.

The Southern Storytelling Archives house important writings, papers, artwork, and media resources related to prominent southern themes, people, and stories; donors are encouraged to contribute important items to our ongoing archival collection.

William Dunlap
To be an artist, you need to put yourself in the company of other artists. The best place to do that was in school. Mississippi College served me well.”
— William Dunlap

National Impact

Mississippi’s troubled past has positioned the state at the bottom of numerous lists for many years. And yet our artists, writers, actors, filmmakers, and musicians have become some of the highest regarded in all fields. Our struggles have produced excellent storytellers, and our institute can build upon this heritage. We will share these life-changing and valuable stories to point a needy world to the encouraging answers only a place like Mississippi can provide. We have a treasure trove of material, much of it unmined and waiting for an organization like ours to share. Not only will this organization continue to improve the perception of our state, but it will also gain momentum to find new collaborators wishing to participate in the Institute and its growth in reputation and reach.

quote icon
To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”
— William Faulkner

Sharing these conversations with the nation will open the possibilities and benefits of joining forces with like-minded individuals. Many southerners have left the region, but its influence still rests on their work. We can not only share our work with a national and international audience, but we can continually develop a place where others across the nation will want to connect. Through our expanded distribution reach and strategic collaborative partnerships, we will leave a powerful legacy that becomes a positive force in an increasingly negative world.

400 East College Street Clinton, MS 39056