Producer/engineer, WTTW-TV PBS, Chicago
Project: Exploring history, news and storytelling through virtual reality.
Barbara Allen could sit for hours listening to relatives and neighbors recount their lives, discuss current events and even gossip. She was captivated by storytelling. Her first documentary, about how interracial children perceived themselves, won praise from her film teacher and classmates — and launched her into journalism. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications/film and TV at Columbia College in Chicago. She worked at TV stations in New York and Chicago before joining Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW-TV, as an engineer. Allen’s commitment to telling stories from multicultural perspectives led her to found Middle Passage Productions. Her 2010 documentary, DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis, won several awards, including two regional Emmys and a Best Documentary Award at the Nashville International Black Film Festival. Her 2012 documentary, “Colorblind: Rethinking Race,” examines how institutional racism hurts all of us as a nation.
Working with Stanford's world-class virtual reality lab, documentary filmmaker Barbara E. Allen developed a prototype that lets users experience the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina from a New Orleans roof top.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.