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Writer-In-Residence’s New Collaborative Video Series Combines Photography, Writing, and Music

"Snapshots," a project with the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild, captures local perspectives in an interdisciplinary format

Caitlin Boyle, photos by Luong Huynh |

The City of Eau Claire’s new writer-in-residence, Ken Szymanski, is the brain behind “Snapshots,” a new video series by the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild that combines local writing, photography, and music. Szymanski came up with the series from readings he had done with musicians and noted how much music can elevate a story – much like a great soundtrack can do wonders for a movie.

“I’ve been so impressed by local photography on the Facebook page Eau Claire Area Photography,” said Szymanski, an eighth-grade English teacher at DeLong Middle School. “I don’t know how much photography has inspired my middle school students to write over the years. Doing this online allows us to combine all three.”

The combination, Szymanski says, has been an easy way to amplify new voices.

The combination, Szymanski says, has been an easy way to amplify new voices. The videos will feature more familiar voices while allowing different artists who have never met to collaborate, he said. While the original plan was to do “Snapshots” in person, Szymanski said posting it online has ended up being better – not to mention more people can be reached through the medium.

Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, a history professor at UW-Eau Claire and the president of Uniting Bridges, was featured in the first episode of
Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, a history professor at UW-Eau Claire and the president of Uniting Bridges, was featured in the first episode of "Snapshots."

The first video posted was with words from local activist Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton speaking at a Black Lives Matter rally earlier this month, which Szymanski said wasn’t planned; it was simply an incredible moment they were able to capture. The Chippewa Valley Writers Guild will post one video each Sunday at cvwritersguild.org. Szymanski will also post archives on his website, www.kenszymanski.com.