Title: Associate Professor
Department: Communication Arts
Degrees: B.A., Kenyon College; M.A., M.F.A., University of Iowa
Phone: 814- 332-3203
Office Location: VCCA 309
Others by Appointment
River Branch, Associate Professor in Communication Arts, has an M.F.A. in Film and Video Production and an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College.
Branch’s creative work employs multiple modes of address, actively negotiating the relationship between form and content. Her work shifts from feature-length documentaries that seamlessly incorporate the poetic and experimental to traditional forms of fiction and nonfiction production, to multimedia installations using performance, still photography, and interactive technologies—screening in sites from traditional cinematic venues to community forums, galleries, and public spaces. A creative and critical inquiry into the role of storytelling stands at the heart of her production work, while commitments to social justice operate as catalyst and core content.
Branch spent several years filming in Oaxaca, Mexico in the wake of the 2006 political and social unrest. During this time, she worked intimately with community-based media organizations, such as Mal de Ojo, and stencil art collectives such as ASARO. Global considerations of social justice walk hand in hand with her current work addressing areas from the damaging discourse of the single mother to the impact of the polarization in our national rhetoric.
The notion of a critical dialogue among the arts, academy and community permeates her creative work as well as that of her teaching. Her courses range from introductory, intermediate and advanced production to “Video Activism: History, Theory, Politics and Passion,” and “Community-Based Media: Creative Citizenry Through Visual Media.”
Scholarship ranges from publication in Jump Cut to being a founding member of EDIT Media, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Teaching Media, at editmedia.org. Core to her work is a deep commitment to critical and creative collaborations with students.