Oakhill Prison Humanities Project
From May 2011 to August 2016 I taught classes at Oakhill Correctional Institution, a minimum-security men's prison located in Oregon, WI. I began my volunteer work there as a recipient of a Public Humanities Exchange (formerly Humanities Exposed) grant through the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for the Humanities. In those five years I taught and co-taught courses on numerous topics: Russian fiction, (auto)biography and memoir, the fantastic and absurd, creative writing, and drama and theater. I also served as Coordinator of the Oakhill Prison Humanities Project from July 2014 through August 2015. I plan to continue my outreach through different venues.
One of my proudest achievements during my time with the OPHP was organizing Artists in Absentia, a multimedia exhibition that featured the art, music, writing, and dramatic work of inmates from Oakhill. It opened at the Madison Public Library as part of the Bubbler's artist-in-residence program and then traveled to four other libraries.
To learn more about these efforts, please visit the following links...
- On Artists in Absentia, listen to an audio interview with me on Wisconsin Public Radio (3/1/2016), or read about the exhibition at the Wisconsin State Journal (2/29/2016) or Isthmus (2/18/2016).
- See Dostoevsky Behind Bars (2014), a documentary featuring interviews with instructors, class participants, and prison administration.
- Listen to a short audio story by Wisconsin Public Radio on the Oakhill classes and Dostoevsky Behind Bars (4/1/2014).
- Read an article about my first classes at Oakhill by Madison's Cap Times (4/11/2012).
A small sample of the work produced by the men of Artists in Absentia can be found below.