Cultural work is a powerful tool that can both liberate and oppress. I am interested in learning from cultural workers and developing new collaborative forms — visual, experiential, critical projects—to create the tools we need to support each other and see our communities thrive. In order to respond to contexts and people the shape of my work shifts from organizing, education or research to public projects
Acting as organizer, editor, curator and participating artist, I work in collaboration with other artists, people in prison, poets, sociologists, lawyers, historians, and educators to unpack dimensions of confinement, autonomy, and power. In my work with incarcerated people, we have explored state and federal policies and practices of everyday life that examine how free and confined worlds are hinged together. These creative projects are equal parts arts production, writing, research and community engagement. As an educator and organizer, I have worked to form a coalition of educators to make education accessible to both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people in Illinois. Our coalition is made up of formerly incarcerated people and educators who have started projects or programs for art and education in institutions where there are none. In this way, I am committed to building or participating in spaces where people learn together, where we blend formal research, policy and history, and where we are equally accountable to experience, observation and affect.
The collaborative work I engage in is a creative and political process. It is sometimes messy, contentious or slow, and often doesn’t fit neatly into professional categories. But the commitment to this process represents the creative and political attention needed to account for harm and build a world without cages. I am dedicated to making work that can move people to a more complicated way of seeing each other, one that doesn’t rely on segregation as a solution.