For 30 years Heather Dew Oaksen has worked to give "voice" to sub-groups within American culture creating stories that give visibility to their identity and concerns and formally function within communities in unexpected ways. Increasingly Oaksen questions the content of a piece, and how the form of the media experience affects the perception of the subject, and, ultimately, the delivery of the information between the sender (director) and receiver (audience).
Her work alternates between advocacy for others and personal reflection as she finds that each feeds the other with unanticipated outcomes. In the last ten years, Oaksen's projects have ranged from experimental documentaries to three-dimensional, multi-screen video projections in public spaces. Using film and video to explore the interstices of fact and fiction, Heather Dew Oaksen creates an "encounter" that challenges the viewer to see issues in new ways.
Oaksen has received numerous awards including support from The Flintridge Foundation, Artist Trust, Art Matters, The Phelan Foundation, the Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the American Film Institute, and the Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship. Heather's videos and media installations are exhibited throughout the U.S. and Canada. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.U.P. in Urban Planning from the University of Oregon.
Oaksen retired in 2013 as Professor at Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle, where she taught video art and filmmaking since 1989.