Street Focus 68: The Social Documentary Network with Glenn Ruga

Street Focus 68: The Social Documentary Network with Glenn Ruga

Today my guest is Glenn Ruga, the founder of The Social Documentary Network and ZEKE magazine.

Glenn Ruga is a graphic designer, photographer, and a life-long human rights activist.

About Glenn Ruga:

Ruga has created traveling and online documentary exhibits on the struggle for a multicultural future in Bosnia, the war and aftermath in Kosovo, and on an immigrant community in Holyoke, Mass. In February 2010, Ruga curated SDN’s first exhibition at powerHouse Arena in New York on the global recession. The photographers were winners of an SDN call for entries. The second SDN live exhibition “Ten Years after 9/11” was shown at powerHouse Arena in September 2011. Ruga has continued to curate exhibitions for SDN in New York and other locations.

From 2010-2013, Ruga was the Executive Director of the Photographic Resource Center (PRC) at Boston University. He curated numerous exhibitions while at the PRC including “Global Health in Focus” featuring work by Kristen Ashburn, Dominic Chavez, and David Rochkind. Ruga is also the former Publisher and Art Director of Loupe, the magazine of the PRC.

Ruga is also the owner and creative director of Visual Communications, a graphic design firm located in Concord, Mass. His client list includes Physicians for Human Rights, the International and US Campaigns to Ban Landmines, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the Civil Rights Program at Harvard Law School, the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation, and other non-profit, educational, and human rights organizations. His design work includes websites for many of the above organizations. To find out more about his graphic design firm, see:

From 1993 through 2009, Ruga was the founder and president of the Center for Balkan Development, a non-profit organization established to help stop the genocide in Bosnia and create a just and sustainable future in the former Yugoslavia.

Glenn has a B.A. in Social Theory from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and a MFA in Graphic and Advertising Design from Syracuse University. He also has a certificate in Interactive Communications from Massachusetts College of Art.

Links to The Social Documentary Network and ZEKE Magazine

Photographers mentioned on the show and more for inspiration:
Photographer: Aake Ericson
SDN exhibit title: Racism Against Roma People
Photo Caption: 10/25-2010. Apold., Romania.
There are almost 2.2 million Roma in Romania, making up about 10 percent of the total population. Yet discrimination, both by public officials and society at large, remains widespread and entrenched, resulting in as many as 75 per cent of Roma living in poverty, as opposed to 24 per cent of Romanians in general and 20 per cent of ethnic Hungarians, the largest minority in Romania. About 75 Roma people, including families with young children, have been living in metal cabins and shacks next to a sewage treatment plant at the end of Primaverii Street in Miercurea Ciuc, Central Romania since 2004. They were moved to the area, deemed unfit for human habitation, from a crumbling building in the centre of the town. They were told the move was for their own safety and would be temporary. After more than five years and various court cases, the continued violation of their right to adequate housing, among a host of other rights, is beginning to feel very permanent.

Photographer: Nadia Sablin

Photographer: Maryam Ashrafi
SDN exhibit title: Mourning Kobané
Photo Caption: At a cemetery in Kobane, Syria, on 14 April, 2015, few members of YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), mourn during the ceremony for Ageri, their fellow fighter who was killed during clashes with Islamic State in Eastern frontline of Kobane, Syria.

Photographer: Alex Tomazatos
SDN exhibit title: Homeland — Danube Delta
Photo Caption: Girl at parish fair, Letea, Romania


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