Claire Andrade-Watkins

Professor - On Leave

Cape Verdean American filmmaker/historian Claire Andrade-Watkins, in addition to teaching at Emerson, is a 2018 Visiting Scholar, Africana Studies; 2015- 2017 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, and a Fall 2017 Distinguished Community Practitioner & Senior Fellow, Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University.

Her scholarship focuses on French and Portuguese-speaking African cinema. 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.

Awards for filmmaking include: 2017 RISCA (Rhode Island State Council for the Arts) Fellowship in Film & Video; 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Film; 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.

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

In June 2016 the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA presented Our Rhode: 30 years of Cinema by and about Cape Verdean Rhode Islanders, a retrospective of her work highlighted by the North American premiere of Working the Boats: Masters of the Craft,  a six part documentary webisode about Local 1329 of the I.L.A. (The International Longshoremen's Association), founded in Providence Rhode Island in l933, and the first predomiantly Cape Verdean labor union in New England.

Other work include Serenata de Amor, a Cape Verdean love story told in song, and "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. Documentary projects currently in post-production include: Atlantic Portals: Full Circle the final documentary in the trilogy, and Nantucket Strolls: Forgotten Byways, about 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.

She is the Director of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project, a community based research initiative founded in 2007, and President of SPIA Media Productions, Inc., a production and distribution company founded in l998 specializing in media from the Africana Diaspora.


  • Institute For Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies
    Since 1982


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

Creative Works

Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican? A Cape Verdean American Story (film)


Awards & Honors

Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Film


Black Maria Film Festival Jury Selection (first prize) for short film Hi, Neighbor


Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Fellowship in Film & Video