Visual & Media Arts Faculty

Claire Andrade-Watkins

Associate Professor (1982)

B.A. Simmons College
M.A. Boston University
Ph.D. Boston University

Claire Andrade-Watkins

Dr. Claire Andrade-Watkins is a historian, filmmaker and 2nd generation American of Cape Verdean descent. Her scholarship focuses on French and Portuguese-speaking African cinema.

Cape Verdean American filmmaker/historian Claire Andrade-Watkins, is an Associate Professor of Visual and Arts at Emerson College, and a 2013 Swearer Center Community Fellow, Brown University. She was a 1995-1996 Fulbright Scholar in Cape Verde, and a recipient of an American Philosophical Society grant in l997. She has published in Society for Visual Anthropology, Research in African Literature, The Independent Film and Video Monthly, American Historical Review, and CinémAction. Grants received for filmmaking include the LEF Foundation, Emerson College Faculty Advancement Grants, and multiple grants from both the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for her documentary work and other projects. She was a 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Film.

She is the founder and President of SPIA Media Productions, Inc., a production and distribution company specializing in media from the Africana Diaspora. Recent work includes Serenata de Amor, a  Cape Verdean love story told in song.  This music video/theatric musical  short  was launched in May 2013 as a global viral release.

Hi, Neighbor, her avant garde/experimental short about a little girl who lost her home to urban renewal, was released in 2011 and  awarded a Jury Selection(first prize), in the 2012 Black Maria Film Festival.

in 2012 Dr. Andrade-Watkins received a James Bradford Ames Fellowship to support her ongoing research and production for Nantucket Strolls: Forgotten Byways. This work-in-progress documentary focuses on the work of two Nantucket residents who have worked together to create permanent public recognition of people of color who have resided and continue to reside on Nantucket Island.

In 2006 Dr. Andrade-Watkins released "Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?" A Cape Verdean American Story" (SKFPR), the popular and critically acclaimed feature documentary about the Cape Verdean community in the Fox Point section of Providence, RI, and the first in a trilogy of documentaries about this unique and important community of the Africana Diaspora.

She is currently in post-production on  Atlantic Portals, the sequel to SKFPR, and Working the Boats:Masters of the Craft, the last film in the series, about Local 1329 of the ILA(International Longshoremen's Union), the first black and predominantly Cape Verdean union on the eastern seaboard. 


Office: Para 528

Phone: 8822


Visual & Media Arts Associate Professor Diane Lake has written screenplays for Columbia, Disney, Miramax, Paramount, and many independent producers.