Innovation Fellow

Marc Freedman Portrait

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SKY BERGMAN

Filmmaker & Activist, “Forever Voters”
Helping high school students and The League of Women Voters join forces to boost youth voter registration and civic engagement, making youth voices heard, one vote at a time

After a 30-year teaching career, Sky Bergman is working on her third act. She is a Professor Emeritus of Photography and Video and a former chair of the Art & Design Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her new passion: creating films and projects that inspire and foster intergenerational connections.

Sky is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. Her most recent film, “Forever Voters,” shadows the League of Women Voters as they unite older adults and high school students to boost youth voter registration. The companion website, ForeverVoters.com, allows students to register to vote online and provides tools for educators to bring this cogenerational program to their classrooms.

Sky’s feature documentary “Lives Well Lived” celebrates the wisdom of adults aged 75 to 100. Encompassing over 3,000 years of experience, 40 people share their secrets and insights to living a meaningful life. The film is currently airing on PBS, with over 880 air dates covering over 92% of the country. Because of the broadcast success, Sky was approached by PBS to create a special Lives Well Lived LearningMedia page including clips of the film and a special interactive lesson guide with activities to spark intergenerational connections and create deeper understanding. This free resource for K-12 educators and students reaches 20 million users a year.

With her colleague Sara Bartlett, Sky has been working with students and Senior Planet participants (part of AARP) across the country using the “Lives Well Lived” film as a catalyst to connect generations through shared stories. To date, these intergenerational projects have involved more than 500 students and older adults, combating stereotypes and ageism one story and one connection at a time.

Sky is publishing a book about her journey featuring interviews with the people in “Lives Well Lived” and stressing the importance of intergenerational connection.

Sky’s fine artwork is included in permanent collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Her commercial work has appeared on book covers for Random House and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc., and magazine spreads in Smithsonian, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Reader’s Digest, and Archaeology Odyssey.