Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance

Organization Name:
Beyondmedia Education
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
Based on our award-winning video series documenting the lives and stories of America’s incarcerated women, Beyondmedia created a companion website and art installation entitled Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance. The website offers a direct perspective into the lives of incarcerated women across the country. By helping make the issues of women prisoners more visible, the Women and Prison website challenges the criminal justice system and work to end the cycle of crisis it creates for women and their families. The website serves as a dedicated space for prisoners, those previously incarcerated, activists, students, academics, and everyone who strives for social justice. Through the use of this website, we promote strategies and actions that challenge the system and the ways that it reproduces all forms of discrimination, violence, and social injustice in the treatment of women and their families.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
The invisibility of women's perspectives in discussions of the growing prison industrial complex constitute a serious gap, given that the numbers of women in this system are rising at an alarming rate. Moreover, by making women more visible, we expand the analysis, vision, and strategies being developed to seriously challenge the prison system. The incarceration of women is linked to a multitude of interconnected issues facing poor women, drug-addicted women, women of color, lesbians, and women in prostitution, including interpersonal and state violence, poverty, racism, reproductive rights, homophobia, harassment, lack of quality healthcare, homelessness, and more. Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance aims to make connections among these issues. By drawing attention to the interconnectedness of issues and strategies, we hope to further develop the grounds for coalition and alliance across organizations and movements.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
A big challenge for disseminating the experiences of the women sharing on the website has always been access. We looked to leverage the Internet to publish these stories to the largest audience possible. Our website has been used in college classrooms across the country and visited by thousands of new visitors each month. We routinely get incredibly positive feedback through from people who have been both inspired and touched by what they've read. While the exhibit and site successfully engaged viewers outside prisons, we wanted to reconnect with the women inside by giving them a voice through the tangible media of a print. Last year we created a print zine that could be distributed to and within prisons so these stories can reach the inside which we now sell on the website too.
Creative Submission - URL