This page documents the on-going work being done by Prison Renaissance. Each of these projects is intended to be a model for how incarcerated and free artists can collaborate to create art and lead movements. To learn more about the models we promote, please visit our About page.
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Free and incarcerated artists publish incarcerated and free artists’ work online and in print-on-demand magazines. The journal focuses on work that confronts readers and viewers with the human condition. The journal diversifies literary communities and with this diversity, increases empathy by recreating human experience through varied lenses. We publish the work of our contributors in quarterly, curated journals and in rolling online content.
In Fall 2018, Prison Renaissance at UCLA will be debuting an collaborative new curriculum between ESL 9th graders at Spring Woods High School in Texas and incarcerated writers at San Quentin. The students and incarcerated authors will co-write personal essays that will be published by Prison Renaissance and be entered in contests to win prizes. This in an opportunity to reach students who are disengaged from traditional language arts curricula and deepen their respect for creative writing. The particular nature of these partnerships will encourage students to examine incarceration as a personal and social issue. We hope this project will provide a way for students who have loved ones behind bars to work through some of the stigma attached to incarceration, which can leave loved ones on the outside feeling isolated and ashamed.
“Poltergeist” Sound Installations
In collaboration with local art group Southern Exposure, Prison Renaissance is organizing a sound installation in San Francisco. Listeners will move through an artistic space where recordings of incarcerated people will narrate stories that center the humanity of incarcerated people. The installation will culminate with live phone calls between incarcerated people and audience members. Please check back for dates and locations.
Our university chapters are organizing several live events where incarcerated artists and poets will give talks about social justice and perform their poetry. These events will serve as models for how to include incarcerated artists and activists in discussions about incarceration. Please check back for dates and locations.
Democracy in Voting
In collaboration with Initiate Justice, the Stanford chapter of Prison Renaissance is gathering signatures and campaigning for the Voting Restoration and Democracy Act of 2018 to be included on the California ballot in November 2018. This act would restore voting rights to Californians who are incarcerated or on parole.
PR@Stanford Zine and Documentary
The Stanford chapter of Prison Renaissance is busy documenting the foundation and early work of Prison Renaissance in the form of a zine and documentary. Undergraduates in collaboration with incarcerated artists will produce these materials to publicize the models that Prison Renaissance is developing. The final projects will be published in our journal, posted online, and shared at our live events.
Care Not Cages
In collaboration with Decarcerate Alameda County, Prison Renaissance is developing a zine project to explore what healing, self care, and resilience look like for incarcerated people and their families. The project will show the ways in which people impacted by incarceration successfully improve their own mental health in ways that are often more effective than the methods institutions impose on incarcerated people in need of healing.