About us

Gabriel Cumming, PhD
Gabriel co-developed the Community Voice Method (CVM) with Carla Norwood. Gabriel first began experimenting with using documentary media for public engagement in 2001, when he was working as Community Outreach/Program Assistant at Catawba Lands Conservancy in Charlotte, NC. There he launched Perspectives on Land, a project that used interviewing and documentary film to engage rural residents in conversations about land use, conservation, and community. He continued Perspectives on Land at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he completed a doctorate in Ecology (2002-2007). While at UNC, he and Norwood launched Little Tennessee Perspectives, the first fully-realized CVM project (2004-05). All told, Gabriel has designed or co-designed public engagement projects that have directly involved more than 1000 rural North Carolinians since 2001. From 2008-11, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. While at Duke, he partnered with the Marine Conservation Society to conduct a CVM project on sea turtle management in the Turks and Caicos Islands (2010).  In 2010, he and Carla organized a CVM project on agricultural economic development in Warren County, and he subsequently served as the county’s Economic Development Director.  He is co-founder and Associate Director of Working Landscapes, a Warren-based non-profit organization dedicated to rural development, sustainable resource management, and civic capacity-building.

Carla Norwood, PhD
While serving as Executive Director of the Little Tennessee Watershed Association in Macon County, NC (2002-03), Carla identified a pressing need for more effective public engagement around land use and planning issues in the face of rapid, amenity-driven development. She entered the PhD program in Ecology at UNC-Chapel Hill (2003-09) with the goal of developing better engagement methods. She and Gabriel Cumming teamed up to design the first CVM project, Little Tennessee Perspectives, which took place in Macon County in 2004-05. In addition to joining Gabriel in conducting interviews and producing documentary films, she developed CVM’s participatory approach to the analysis and presentation of geospatial and other quantitative data. She has since worked on CVM projects across North Carolina—most recently in her home community of Warren County (2010-11). From 2009-11, Carla was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She is the founding Executive Director of Working Landscapes.