Creating a new documentary series on compassion in six dimensions (Prof. Stephanie Sandberg)

3 students are sought for a project on “Creating a new documentary series on compassion in six dimensions” with Prof. Stephanie Sandberg that will begin on 6/3/2024 and last for 8 weeks

Project Description:

At the heart of every thriving society lies an often-underestimated quality: compassion. The Compassion Project endeavors to shift the fundamentals of our societal paradigm, advocating for embedding compassion-based training at pivotal moments in human life. Recognizing the profound impact of early socialization, this initiative emphasizes the need to introduce compassion training at the inception of a child’s educational journey. This childhood foundation is bolstered in adolescence, as middle and high school curriculums are enriched with teachings of empathy and understanding. As individuals continue their path, being a compassionate bystander becomes essential, serving as a bulwark against violence and hate. For those who have faced the brunt of violence, retraining through compassion-driven practices offers a beacon of hope. Moreover, reimagining economics through a lens of compassion ensures our interactions in trade and commerce are grounded in ethics. Finally, as we approach our final years, the Compassion Project stresses the significance of end-of-life practices that recognize and treat individuals as holistic beings, ensuring dignity and respect in the most vulnerable times. The foundational belief of the Compassion Project is the time-honored principle of the golden rule. This universal tenet, which encourages treating others as one would wish to be treated, echoes in the scriptures and teachings of world religions. From the Torah of Judaism to the Analects of Confucianism, from the Bible in Christianity to the Qur’an in Islam, and from the sutras of Buddhism to countless other spiritual texts, the golden rule emerges as a consistent guide. Such a universally accepted belief forms a robust cornerstone for the Compassion Project, emphasizing that compassion is not merely an altruistic ideal but an inherent human value that transcends geographical, cultural, and religious boundaries. To communicate the power and hope of compassion, the Compassion Project seeks to produce a series of six evocative short documentary films. Each film is set to explore a different facet of compassion-driven practices across various spheres of our culture. The films will capture tangible examples of the transformative power of compassion in many spheres of public and private life. These films will serve as both a testament and a toolkit by showcasing real-world scenarios where compassion-based approaches have changed lives. The hope is that viewers will be inspired to incorporate these practices into their lives as they engage with these narratives. In doing so, we can collectively weave a fabric of empathy and understanding, constructing a society that values the well-being and dignity of every individual, from cradle to grave. We will work as a team to create this film series with several Virginia Filmmakers, summer research students at W&L, and AIM students. This first summer will be the research and proof of concept development phase


No prerequisites, although if the students have any film skills, that would be an added benefit, but I am happy to teach you what you need.

Special Comments

Because I am primarily a playwright and filmmaker in terms of my creative work and scholarship, this project directly fulfills that vocational calling. Bringing students into that work is always a goal, and in this case, students will have the opportunity to be on the ground floor of the film’s development. I am very interested in our student’s ideas in relation to compassion and how to solve our world’s problems through compassion-based training

Project Information

Estimated Start Date: 6/3/2024

Estimated End Date: 7/26/2024

Maximum number of students sought: 4

Contact Information: Prof. Stephanie Sandberg (