Curriculum Vitae

Heide Solbrig, M.F.A., Ph.D.

 Whatever Floats Your Boat Productions

Studio #306, 561 Windsor Street

Somerville, MA 02143



Ph.D., Communication, University of California, San Diego, California.

Dissertation: Film and Function: A History of Motivational Film

Co-advisors: Robert Horwitz & Lisa Cartwright.

Committee: Michael Schudson, Michael Cole, Leslie Stern.

M.F.A., Conceptual Design and Information Arts, San Francisco State University.

Advisors: George Legrady and Steven Wilson.

B.A., Fine Arts, Bard College.

Advisor: Jake Grossberg.


Research and Teaching Fields

Media history; political economy of non-theatrical film and “orphan” cinema; history and representation of labor relations; social-issue documentary; history of interactivity; graphic storytelling and social movements; history of media education and management theory; media labor.

Production Topics

Social-issue documentary; experimental documentary and animation; illustration and graphic storytelling; personal narrative; economic history and subjectivity; labor studies; sexuality education; low-income housing.

Academic Employment

Adjunct Professor, Emerson College, Visual Media Arts, Boston, MA, 2013-

Visiting Assistant Professor of Studio Art, Wheaton College, Norton MA, 2013-2014

Assistant Professor, Bentley University, Waltham, MA, 2005-2012

Visiting Faculty, Communication, University of California, San Diego, 2004-2005


Documentary Films and Transmedia Productions

Works in Progress

The Dandelion King: Love and Loss in the Gas Line (transmedia graphic novel combined with six short films and interactive app) examines personal and institutional changes of the reemergence of neoliberal policies and regimes in the 1970’s. (Currently in the final panel round at Creative Capital.)

The Thorazine Shuffle (and other short films associated with The Dandelion King, combining original animation linking archival footage from historic documentary with a graphic mind’s eye)


Completed Works

Water Tower Place (2014, short film) Portrait of a low-income housing community in St. Louis that examines how of a handful of leasing agents, maintenance workers, apartment managers, community activists and local church leaders struggle to provide livable structure to overburdened residents. Funded Alpha films and Paul Corrigan.

Sex Myths (2014, online short film series for Partners in Sex Education)

Sex Myth #1 My Blue Waffle, with Elizabeth Boskey. Playfully explodes the Internet’s mythical Blue Waffle Disease meme, promoted to sell hits, fear, and porn.

Sex Myth #2 What’s an Unprepared Oral Sex Aficionado To Do? Megara Bell and Brian Flaherty illustrate through witty dialogue, animation and science what does and doesn’t protect sexual partners from sexually transmitted infections.

Man and the Middle Class: The Work and Vision of Henry Strauss, (2013, 51 min). Experimental documentary focusing on industrial filmmaker Henry Strauss and his influential 1947-1971 oeuvre. Strauss narrates his experiences in the Great Depression and WWII and how they inspired the production of workplace films aimed at returning soldiers, newly promoted managers, and executives confronted by transforming authority relations and work identities. Through conversation, interview, voice-over and historical footage the film examines how Strauss represented and influenced labor-management debates critical to the production of a post-war middle-class in the United States. The film’s sound track is designed and performed by Roger Miller of the Alloy Orchestra.

Float (2003, 30 min.). Personal documentary of a young homeless man during the 1980s. (“An insightful portrait of the director’s late boyfriend, a talented but troubled young man, using much of his own words and images. Fond of memory yet always completely honest,” CineVegas 2003 program; “Eugene O’Neill or Cassavetes in Super 8”—Dee Dee Halleck.)



Peer-Reviewed Articles:

Selections from The Dandelion King: Love and Loss in the Gas Line, Women’s Studies Quarterly (WSQ), 2014 (forthcoming).

“Artists, Public Servants and Production Assistants: A Disciplinary History of Media Producers in the American Academy” (Cinema Journal, for submission).

“Orphans No More: Definitions, Disciplines, and Institutions,” Journal of Popular Film and Television 37 (3), Fall, 2009 (pp.98-105).

“Henry Strauss and the Human Relations Film: Social Science Media and Interactivity in the Workplace” The Moving Image: 
The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists 7 (1), Spring 2007 (pp.27-50).


Book Chapters:

“Dr. ERPI finds his Voice: Electrical Research Products, Inc. and the Educational Film Market, 1927-1937” in Learning with the Lights Off: A Reader in Educational Film (Dan Streible, Marsha Orgeron, Devon Orgeron, eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012 (pp.193-214).

“The Personnel is Political: Voice and Citizenship in Affirmative Action Videos in the Bell System, 1970 to 1984”, Films that Work: Studies in Visual Practices of the Industrial Film (Vinzenz Hediger and Patrick Vonderau, eds.) Amsterdam Press, 2009 (pp.259-282).


Other Publications

The Economic Education of a Neo-liberal, In Media Res: Economic Education Week, April 19th 2010.

“Digital Domestics: Race, Agency, Corporate Software,” Parallax, Issue 5, Sept. 1997 (pp.57-74).



Sex Myths #2: What’s An Unprepared Oral Sex Aficionado To Do? National Sex Education Conference, Key Note Presentation with Partners in Sex Education, Dec 3rd, 2014, Meadowlands, New Jersey.

The Dandelion King, PBS’ POV Hackathon, NYC. winner, Participants Choice Award. November 2014.

Float, Pawtucket Film Festival, Pawtuckett Rhode Island, September 2014.

Man and the Middle Class, Union for Democratic Communication/Project Censored Joint Conference, University of San Francisco, November 2013.

“Industrial Media and the Making of the Middle Class” (lecture) and screening of Man and the Middle Class, Faculty Lunch Talk Series, Office of the Provost, Wheaton College, April 2013.

Man and the Middle Class screening and lecture, Media Makers Series, Visual Arts, California State University, San Marcos, February 2011.

Man and the Middle Class screening, Labor Studies, University of Indiana, Bloomington, January 2011.

“I Want My Industrial Film,” lecture and screening sponsored by the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and Centre for American Studies, October 2010, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Man and the Middle Class, Pawtucket Film Festival, Pawtucket Rhode Island, September 2013.

Man and the Middle Class, Labor Studies Department, University of Indiana, Bloomington, Indiana, January 2012.

Float, CineVegas Film Festival Premiere (Documentary Shorts Program), June 2003.


Invited Talks

Presenter and Commentator for “Now, Forager”, Fall 2014, Boston, October, 2014.

“Introduction to Water Tower Place, a Community Portrait,” prescreening event held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, St. Louis, March, 2014.

“Producing Media at UCSD,” Power, Publics, New Media: 30 years of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, June 2013.

A Liberal Vision: Film and Middle Class Identity in Post-War Industrial Media”, The Center for the Study of the United States, October 2010, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

“Artists, Public Servants and Production Assistants: A Disciplinary History of Cultural Producers in the American Academy,” paper presented to “Valente Fellows Speaker Symposium”. Valente Paper Presentation, Spring 2009. Internal Respondent: Kristin Sorenson, External Respondent: Miranda Banks.

LGBTQ Brown Bag Lunch: “Ohio Tearoom Busts: Documenting Homosexuals, Documenting Homophobia, the transmogrification of a Police Training Film,” Bentley University, Diversity Series, April, 2009

The Time Is Now: The Henry Strauss Project, Bentley University English Department Colloquium Series, November, 2007.

Juried Conference Presentations

“‘Freedom on Film’: Neoliberal Economics and Media Narratives. 1950-1980,” The Society for Cinema and Media Studies, New Orleans, March, 2011.

“Electrical Research Products, Inc. and the Educational Film Market, 1927-1937,” Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities, Boston, April 2009.

“Artists, Public Servants and Production Assistants: A Disciplinary History of Cultural Producers in the American Academy,” University of Texas Media History Conference, October 2007, organized by Janet Staiger and Sabine Hake.

“Ohio Tearoom Busts: Documenting Homosexuals, Documenting Homophobia, the transmogrification of a Police Training Film,” International Communication Association, San Francisco, May, 2007.

“The Ohio Tearoom Busts: Documentary Prequels and Frederick Wiseman’s Mosaic Structure”, paper presented at: The Film and History: The Documentary Tradition, Dallas, November, 2006.

“Films for Factories and the Hollywood Factory System: Tales from Arthur Edwin Krows and Motion Pictures Not for Theatres,” Film and History Conference: The Documentary Tradition, Dallas, November, 2006.

“The Uses of Industrial Media and Social Science in the implementation of Affirmative Action at AT&T,” Media and Social Theory Conference, Center for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), Oxford, September 2006.

“A Selected Institutional History of the Media Arts within Departments of Communication in the U.S International Communication Association,” International Communication Association, New Orleans, May, 2004.

“Interactivity and Corporate Videos,” Console-ing Passions: An International Conference on Video, TV, and Feminism, New Orleans, May, 2004.

“The Applied (and Implied) Psychology of AT&T’s Affirmative Action Film/Video,” International Communication Association, San Diego, April, 2003.

“Rights Beliefs and Rights Knowledge for Unrepresented Workers in California: The Case for Employee Rights Centers,” Southwest Labor Studies Association Conference, Los Angeles, May 2002.


Grants, Fellowships, and Awards

Final Round, Creative Capital Grant, 2014.

Faculty Summer Research Grants to support production of Man and the Middle Class: The Work and Vision of Henry Straus 2005-2012 ($6000 yearly)

Bentley University Valente Center Faculty Research Fellowships, 2008-2009 ($5000)

Graduate Fellowship for research with San Diego Employee Rights Center, funded by the San Diego Civic Collaborative and the UCLA Labor Center 2001-2002 ($5000)


Courses Designed and Taught

Wheaton College

Introduction to Video Production (including cinematography, lighting design, audio production, non-linear editing, script writing, and story-boarding)

Emerson College

Introduction to Film and Media Theory

Bentley University

Introduction to Video Production

Introduction to Media and Culture

Principles of Media & Globalization

Media and Democracy

Social Issue Documentary (production course)

Introduction to Communication

Principles of Media and Culture

Independent Media Producers

University of California, San Diego

Television and the Rhetorics of Realism

Documentary Editing: Non-linear editing

San Francisco State University

Interactive Cinema


Faculty Committees

Bentley University

Hiring Committees, 2005-2012

University-wide Curriculum Committee, 2005-2012

Media and Culture Program Committee, 2005-2012

Literature Committee, 2008-2009

Facilities and Equipment Committee, 2005-2010

Student Advisor, Liberal Studies Major, 2005-2012

 Gallery Exhibitions

“Temporary Overtime,” (with Sarah Lewison) UC Irvine Gallery, January 1997

“Temporary Overtime,” (with Sarah Lewison) California Arts Council, Summer, 1996

“Temporary Overtime,” (with Sarah Lewison) Southern Exposure Gallery, Summer, 1996

“Mavis Beacon’s Typing Exercises for Women” MFA Exhibition: San Francisco State University Gallery, June, 1995

Writing Exercises for Girls, an Interactive Multi-Media Program and Installation

“Business Software and Hard Bodies” ACCESS, Southern Exposure Gallery, April, 1995

“A Cartoon Mapping(with key) of a Community Arts Exhibition” Community Artists Exhibition, Public Window Installation and Brochure, New Langton Arts, Summer, 1994


Other Projects / Experience

Organizer for New Economy Affinity Group, funded by the San Diego Civic Collaborative

Researcher/Media Educator for Photography Exhibition, New Langton Arts Gallery, Giles Peres’ Photojournalism of Bosnia, 1993

Schlesinger Library of Women’s Social History, 1991


Editorial / Curatorial

Co-Curator (with Avi Santo) for In Media Res: Economic Education Theme Week, April 19-23 1010.

Co-editor (with Elizabeth Hefflefinger) “Orphans No More: Ephemeral Films and American Culture,” a special issue of The Journal of Popular Film and Television, 37(3) Fall, 2009.

Assistant Editor of The Communication Review, University of California, San Diego,1997-1999

Assistant to Curator of Julia Child’s Cookbook Collection, 1996

Production Skills and Software:

Cameras and Cinematography: Canon S-100, DSLR’s for video, 16 mm & super 8

Lighting Design: Studio lighting, Location Lighting. Adobe Lightroom.

Audio Production: Pro-Tools (DAW)

Non-Linear Editing and Design: Final Cut, Adobe CC (Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, In-Design, Flash, etc.) Avid (Media Composer), DaVinci Resolve.


Academic References

John Caldwell, Professor of Theater, Film & Television

University of California, Los Angeles



Mary Gray, Senior Researcher, Microsoft Research

Associate Professor of Communication and Culture, Indiana University



Michael Schudson, Professor of Journalism

Columbia University



Anna Siomopoulos, Associate Professor of English and Media Studies

Co-Director Valente Center for the Liberal Arts

Bentley University



Cynthia Chris: Associate Professor of Media & Culture

City University of New York, Staten Island



Artists & Filmmakers

Available upon request.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s