Organized and Hosted by the Institute for Research on Women, Rutgers, New Brunswick
October 8-10 2014

Keynote speaker: Reginald Dwayne Betts, Poet and Author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison and Shahid Reads His Own Palm.

Press Packet              Registration                Directions to the Conference               Film Schedule

Participant Bios         Art Exhibition              Photographs from the Conference

IRW/NJ STEP Workshop at Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility

>>Marking Time Prison Arts and Activism Resource Guide<<


Location Code:










Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Session 1: 9: 30 - 10:45 am

PANEL: Creative Arts and Occupational Health (ZLD)

Susan Connor and Susanne Pitak Davis (Rutgers University Correctional Healthcare)
“Finding Meaning Thru Art”

Karen Anne Melendez (Rutgers University Correctional Healthcare)
“The Concert Performance with Adult Females in Correctional Health Care”

Moderator: Michael Rockland (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

WORKSHOP: Steps Taken: Footprints in the Cell (NBL)

Rachel Hoppenstein (Temple University)
Ann Marie Mantey (Temple University)

Session 2: 11:00 - 12:15 pm

PANEL: Law, News, and Art (ZLD)

Regina Austin (Penn Law School)

Ann Schwartzman (Pennsylvania Prison Society)

Tom Isler (Journalist/Filmaker)

Moderator: Tehama Lopez

WORKSHOP: Utilizing Dance as a Social Tool: Dance Making with Women in Prison (NBL)

Meredith-Lyn Avey (Avodah Dance)

Julie Gayer Kris (Avodah Dance)

LUNCH: 12:15 - 1:15 pm

Session 3: 1:15 - 2:30 pm

PANEL: Imagery and Prisons: Engaging and Persuading Audiences (ZLD)

Gregory Sale (Artist)

Lorenzo Steele, Jr. (Founder, Behind these Prison Walls)

Mark Strandquist (Artist)

Moderator: Pete Brook (Freelance Writer/Curator)

PRESENTATION: The Political and Educational Possibilities of Exhibitions (NBL)

David Adler (Independent Curator)

Sean Kelley (Eastern State Penitentiary)

Session 4 2:45 – 4:00 pm

PANEL: About Time (ZLD)

Damon Locks (Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project)

Erica R. Meiners (Northeastern Illinois University/Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project)

Sarah Ross (School of the Art Institute of Chicago/ Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project)

Fereshteh Toosi (Columbia College Chicago)

Moderator: Donna Gustafson (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: Best Practices: Arts, Prisons and Community Engagement (NBL)

Robyn Buseman (City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)

Shani Jamila (Artist, Cultural Worker, Human Rights Advocate)

Kyes Stevens (Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project)

Moderator: Sarah Tobias


4:00 – 5:00 pm Artist Talk: Jesse Krimes (ZLD)

5:00– 5:45 pm Welcome Reception (ZL)

7:30 – 9:00 pm Opening Keynote: Reginald Dwayne Betts (KC)
             Welcome Remarks: IRW Director Nicole Fleetwood
             Introduction of Keynote: Dean Shadd Maruna, School of Criminal Justice - Rutgers, Newark
             Keynote Presentation
             Q & A

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Session 1: 9: 30 - 10:45 am

PANEL: Theater in Prisons (ZLD)

Wende Ballew (Reforming Arts Incorporated, Georgia)
“Theatre of the Oppressed in Women’s Prisons: Highly Beneficial, Yet Hated”

Lisa Biggs (Michigan State University)
“Demeter’s Daughters: Reconsidering the Role of the Performing Arts in Incarcerated Women’s Rehabilitation”
Karen Davis (Texas A&M)
“Rituals that Rehabilitate: Learning Community from Shakespeare Behind Bars”

Bruce Levitt and Nicholas Fesette (Cornell University)
“Where the Walls Contain Everything: The Birth and Growth of a Prison Theatre Group”

Moderator: Elin Diamond (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: Prison Architecture, Space and Place (NBL)

Svetlana Djuric (Activist) and Nevena Dutina (Independent Scholar)
“Living Prison”

Maria Gaspar (Artist)
“The 96 Acres Project”

Vanessa Massaro, (Bucknell)
“It’s a revolving door”: Rethinking the Borders of Carceral Spaces”

Moderator: Matthew B. Ferguson (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

Session 2 11:00 – 12:15 pm

PRESENTATION: Sustaining Engagement through Art: The US and Mexico (ZLD)

Phyllis Kornfeld (Independent Art Teacher, Author, Activist, Curator)
“Thirty Years Teaching Art in Prison: Into the Unknown and Why We Need to Go There" 

Marisa Belausteguigoitia (UNAM)
"Mural Painting in Mexican Carceral Institutions"

WORKSHOP: The Arts: Essential Tools for Working with Women and Families impacted by Incarceration (NBL)

Kathy Borteck-Gersten (The Judy Dworin Performance Project)

Judy Dworin (The Judy Dworin Performance Project)

Joseph Lea (The Judy Dworin Performance Project)

Kathy Wyatt (The Judy Dworin Performance Project)

LUNCH:  12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session 3 1:15 – 2:30 pm

PRESENTATION: Visualizing Bodies/Space: A Performative Picture of Justice System-Involved Girls & Women in Miami, FL (ZLD)

Nereida Garcia Ferraz (Artist/Women on the Rise!)

Jillian Hernandez (University of California-San Diego/Women on the Rise!)

Anya Wallace (Penn State University/Women on the Rise!)

Moderator: Ferris Olin (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: 25 Years of the Creative Prison Arts Project: Connecting Incarcerated Artists with the University of Michigan Community (NBL)

Reuben Kenyatta (Independent Artist)

Ashley Lucas (University of Michigan)

Janie Paul (University of Michigan)

PRESENTATION: The Art of Surviving in Solitary Confinement (RAL)

Bonnie Kerness (American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch Program)

Ojore Lutalo (American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch Program)

Session 4 2:45 – 4:00 pm

PANEL: Restorative Arts and Aging in Prison (ZLD)

Aileen Hongo (Educator/Activist)

Anne Katz (University of Southern California)

Ron Levine (Artist)

WORKSHOP: The SwallowTale Project: Creative Writing for Incarcerated Women (NBL)

Angel Clark (Photographer/Filmmaker)

Bianca Spriggs (Artist/Poet)

Session 5 4:15 – 5:30 pm

PANEL: Resisting Guantanamo through Art and Law (ZLD)

Aliya Hana Hussain (Center for Constitutional Rights)

Matthew Daloisio (Witness against Torture)

Aaron Hughes (Independent Artist)  

Moderator: Joshua Colangelo-Bryan (Dorsey & Whitney LLP)

WORKSHOP: Bar None: The Possibilities and Limitations of Theater Arts in Prison (NBL)

Max Forman-Mullin (Bar None Theater Company)

Julia Taylor (Bar None Theater Company)


5:45 – 6:45 pm Reception and Networking (NBL)

7:00 – 9:00 pm:  Artist Talks: Russell Craig, Deborah Luster, Dean Gillispie, Jared Owen (AAG)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Session 1: 9: 30 - 10:45 am

PANEL: Prison Lit (ZLD)

Helen Lee (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
“Eldridge Cleaver's SOUL ON ICE: A Rhetoric of Confrontation in Prison Writing”

Suzanne Uzzilia (CUNY Graduate Center)
 “Lolita’s Legacy: The Mutual Imprisonment of Lolita Lebrón and Irene Vilar”

Carolina Villalba (University of Miami)
“Radical Motherhood: Redressing the Imprisoned Body in Assata Shakur's Assata: An Autobiography”

Moderator: Monica Ríos (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: Photographic Education Program at Penitentiary Centers in Venezuela: From the Lleca to the Cohue (ZMM)

Helena Acosta (Independent Curator)

Violette Bule (Photographer)

Moderator: Katie Mccollough (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: Narrating Injustice: Youth and Mass Incarceration (BSF)

Sean Saifa M. Wall (Independent Artist)
“Letters to an Unborn Son”

Richard Mora and Mary Christianakis (Occidental College)
“(Re)writing Identities: Past, Present, and Future Narratives of Young People in Juvenile Detention Facilities”

Beth Ohlsson (Independent Educator)
“Reaching through the Cracks: Connecting Incarcerated Parents with their Children through Story”

Moderator: Annie Fukushima (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

Session 2  11:00 – 12:15 pm

PANELGender, Sexuality, and Systemic Injustices (ZLD)

Michelle Handelman (Filmmaker, Fashion Institute of Technology)
“Beware the Lily Law: Tales of Transgender Inmates”

Tracy Huling (Prison Public Memory Project)
"'She was incorrigible...' Building Public Memory About A Girl's Prison"

Carol Jacobsen (University of Michigan)
“For Dear Life: Visual and Political Strategies for Freedom and Human Rights of Incarcerated Women”

Moderator: Simone A. James Alexander (Seton Hall University)

PANEL: Life Sentences: Memoir-Writing as Arts and Activism in a Maximum Security Women’s Prison (ZMM)

Courtney Polidori (Rowan University)

Michele Lise Tarter (The College of New Jersey)

Samantha Zimbler (Oxford University Press)

Moderator: Fakhri Haghani (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

PANEL: The Politics of Imprisonment (BSF)

Dana Greene (New Mexico State University)
“Carceral Frontier: The Borderlands of New Mexico’s Prisons”

Marge Parsons (Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund)
“Free the Spirit from Its Cell”

jackie sumell (Independent Artist)
 “The House That Herman Built”

Treacy Ziegler (Independent Artist)
“Light and Shadow in a Prison Cell”

Moderator: Angus Gillespie (Rutgers-New Brunswick)

LUNCH:  12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session 3 1:15 – 2:30 pm

PRESENTATION: Shakespeare in Prison (ZLD)

Tom Magill (Educational Shakespeare Company Ltd)

Curt Tofteland (Shakespeare Behind Bars)

PANEL: Building Effective Prison Arts Programs (ZMM)

Laurie Brooks (William James Association)
“California Prison Arts: A Quantitative Evaluation”
Jeff Greene (Prison Arts Program at Community Partners in Action)
“Beyond Stereotype: Building & Supporting Extraordinary Arts Programs in Prison”

Becky Mer (California Appellate Project/Prison Arts Coalition)
“National Prison Arts Networking in the US: Lessons from the Prison Arts Coalition”

Moderator: Lee Bernstein

PANEL: Genre and Aesthetics in Prisons (BSF)

T.J. Desch Obi (Baruch College, CUNY)
“Honor and the Aesthetics of Agon in Jailhouse Rock”

Anoop Mirpuri (Portland State University)
 “Genre and the Aesthetics of Prison Abolition”

Jon-Christian Suggs (John Jay College, CUNY)
 “Behind the Red Door: Real and Fictional Communism in Prison”

Ronak K. Kapadia (University of Illinois at Chicago)  
“US Military Imprisonment and the Sensorial Life of Empire”

Moderator: Jed Murr

Session 4 2:45 – 4:00 pm

PANEL: Twenty Years of Teaching Visual and Literary Arts in a Maximum-Security Prison (ZLD)

Rachel M. Simon (Marymount Manhattan College in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility)

Duston Spear (Marymount Manhattan College in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility)

WORKSHOP: Alternatives to Violence Workshops in Prison: Liminal Performances of Community and/as Activism (ZMM)

Chad Dell (Monmouth University)

Johanna Foster (Monmouth University)

Eleanor Novek (Monmouth University)

Deanna Shoemaker (Monmouth University)  

WORKSHOP: More Than a Rap Sheet: The Real Stories of Incarcerated Women (BSF)

Amanda Edgar (Family Crisis Services)  

Jen LaChance Sibley (Family Crisis Services)  
Jenny Stasio (Family Crisis Services)


4:00 - 4:30 pm


4:30 - 6:30 pm

A conversation with curators Pete Brook and Matthew Callinan to mark the official opening of the Prison Obscura exhibit


7:00 – 9:30 pm (SH)

Tales from the Cell, Mountainview Program  
The Peculiar Patriot, Liza Jessie Peterson
Women on Our Own, acapella group of formerly incarcerated musicians

Films to be shown all day on October 9 & 10 at the Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building, 162 Ryders Lane (Douglass Campus), schedule to be determined.

Exhibition locations: Alfa Art Gallery, Art Library, Rutgers—New Brunswick, Eagleton Institute Lawn, Heldrich Hotel, New Brunswick Public Library, and Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers.

This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

This program has also been made possible by generous support from the Puffin Foundation Ltd.

Prison Obscura is a traveling exhibition curated by Pete Brook and made possible with the support of the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, Haverford, PA.

Co-Sponsors: Alfa Art Gallery; American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Program; Art Library-Rutgers New Brunswick; Associate Campus Dean of Douglass Residential College; Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities; Department of American Studies, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Department of History, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Heldrich Hotel; Institute for Women and Art, Mountainview Program; New Brunswick Public Library; Office of the Chancellor of Rutgers-New Brunswick; Office of the Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick; Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan; PUEG Center at UNAM (National University of Mexico); Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts; School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers-Newark; Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Conveners: Nicole R. Fleetwood and Sarah Tobias

Planning Committee: David Adler, Chris Agans, Bob Belvin, Kayo Denda, Maco Faniel, Donna Gustafson, Jean Holtz, Nicole Ianuzelli, Chris Kourtev, Mark Ray Lockwood, Megan Lotts, Colleen Martin, Donald Roden, Connie Tell

** Please check this site regularly for schedule updates **

Please let us know.