Quarantine alla Romana: Video Documentary Series by Professor Jenn Lindsay

As a social scientist and filmmaker, Professor Jenn Lindsay was captivated by how Romans coped with the coronavirus quarantine through moments of creative solidarity and rebellion. Recognizing this unique moment in history, she busied herself during the quarantine by making the documentary series “Quarantine all Romana.” It is a videographic testimony to compelling human solidarity in the face of absurdity and grief.

Says Professor Lindsay, “I hope these video stories will inspire viewers to appreciate the resourcefulness and vitality of the human mind, and the Roman genius to engage humor and beauty to endure a difficult circumstance. To me, the scenes illustrate the documented scientific link between boredom and creativity, and between crisis and coping. And that goes for me as well–trapped inside the house for 2.5 months, having a challenging creative project to pursue became a key survival mechanism!!”

Professor Jenn Lindsay, John Cabot University

Prof. Jenn Lindsay at the refugees’ “life jacket graveyard” in Lesvos, Greece, where she was filming a feature for Religion News Service

Professor Lindsay’s work explores social diversity, intercultural relations, community building, personal transformation, and social change movements. She earned her Ph.D. from Boston University in the social science of religion, conducting ethnographic analysis of interreligious dialogue in Rome and in the Middle East, analyzing the nature and networks of interfaith dialogue across sociopolitical and geographic contexts. Her previous ethnographic fieldwork spans religious communities in North America, Indonesia, and Peru. She also earned a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Interfaith Relations at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, studied Playwriting at Stanford University and Theatre Management at Yale University School of Drama.

For ten years prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Lindsay, who is also a musician, worked in the film and music industries in New York City, producing ten studio albums and serving as a story editor for MTV and the Sundance Channel. She has screened her films throughout the world, the topics ranging from an African Buddhist monk’s life and teachings, computer scientists simulating the spread of religious terrorism, the Indonesian Muslim headscarf, atheist Jews from Boston, and Italian hippies building artistic nativity displays. She served for six years as the video documentarian for the Center for Mind and Culture in Boston and continues to publish her videojournalism on various news services.

In Fall 2020, Professor Lindsay will be teaching COM 230, Foundations of Digital Video Production. “In this course, I always encourage my students to keep an eye out for the beautiful, exasperating, fascinating moments that make up human nature, and to find a way to convey them by layering together visuals, audio, animations, and narrative,” she says.

According to Professor Lindsay, many students enter the class not knowing anything about the craft of making videos and films and are somewhat intimidated by the technical nature of digital visual artistry. But she loves teaching the course and finds that students always finish it with a broad set of tools, feeling much more empowered to master the fundamentals of solid visual storytelling.

“Many of my students find their voice in this course, and learn to turn their imagined visions into concrete form through the digital tools available to them at JCU. The students produce two major video projects on their own, and most students find videomaking to be sublimely challenging and ultimately quite satisfying. Being able to fashion professional-grade video content is a key communications skill, perhaps even more after COVID-19 has driven so many of us inside and in front of screens, and for many semesters the students of COM 230 have moved me to belly laughter and even tears with their courageous, inventive work,”  added Professor Lindsay.

Watch the series documentary series “Quarantine all Romana”