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What’s Your Story?

My name is Liisa Ogburn and I’m a story-gatherer. With my microphone, a camera, or a pen, I dive into those stories that allow us to reconnect with our hearts.

Over the last decade I’ve gathered stories about points where we are in an uncomfortable transition, between one life and another. I’ve gathered stories about home, about dreams, about legacy and what makes a life meaningful and rich.

We live in an increasingly distracted and disconnected world. Stories are my antidote to that. To view some of my projects, click the slider above.

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Documenting Medicine

In 2010, Pediatrician and Photographer John Moses and I launched a documentary mentorship for Duke physician residents nearing the end of their training. Residents are given the skills, equipment, mentoring and time to explore a medical issue, question or story using documentary methods. We offer mentoring in audio, photography, web and writing. At the conclusion of the mentorship, residents share their work with colleagues and medical students.

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How Motherhood Changes Us

In 2000, I had a successful career as a director in an internet design firm in a wonderful city; I had just about finished putting my husband through medical school and residency; and I had my first child, a healthy boy. By all appearances, I had a charmed life.

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Building a Neighborhood: The Oakwood Project

Oakwood is one of Raleigh, North Carolina’s oldest neighborhoods and was the first neighborhood in the state of North Carolina to receive “historic” designation. Over its 140 year history, Oakwood has undergone tremendous change. (more…)

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Teaching

In my classes, we use documentary as a means to more completely understand the full complexity of a current social and policy issue. For two years, we focused our lenses and audio recorders on individuals affected by homelessness (working in partnership with Housing for New Hope). Last year, we focused on children with health issues related to obesity (working with youth enrolled in Duke’s Healthy Lifestyles program).

It is one thing to read statistics about the causes of a complex issue such as pediatric obesity; it is entirely another to gain the trust of and connect with a person who has lived those statistics.

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  • "It’s not about statistics. It’s about using individual stories to create that connection, that empathy. Then, rational arguments, like numbers, can play a supporting role."
    - Nicholas Kristof

    "When you’re lost in a good story, it’s not arbitrary, it’s not pleasure for pleasure’s sake. It’s biological, it’s chemical, it’s a survival mechanism."
    - Author Lisa Chron

    "Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry — and that’s what it means to be a social creature."
    - Neuroscientist Paul Zak

    "Listening is an act of love."
    - David Isay, StoryCorps

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