Arts and Social Justice Fellowship

The Happy Land Linimentby Saleem Hue Penny, 2022 Fellow
about the fellowship
One of Us
by Elena House-Hay,
2022 Fellow

This fellowship supports incarcerated artists to build a disability justice and solidarity economy lens into their art process and practice, so they can create art as a tool for cultural change.

Incarcerated people are integral to social justice movements. Our movements are working under and against the system of carceral capitalism, and they understand that system from lived experience.

This fellowship is about developing incarcerated artists into movement artists by providing them support and structured study. It's also about developing people on the outside into better cultural workers, by providing them an opportunity to learn how to build community with incarcerated folks and include them in cultural work. We have to cross the boundaries of prison walls to build together toward our collective liberation.

Each fellow meets virtually with their four-person training team. Trainers are skilled in our online training methodology, disability justice, and solidarity economy, and support the artist to study and apply learnings. In the last month they plan a public artist talkback online, to platform the artist and facilitate connection and future collaboration with folks on the outside.  

goals of this program

- Developing people to effectively communicate across prison walls.
- Supporting artists in moving their art practice into a cultural organizing context.
- Building connections between our community and incarcerated artists.
- Deepening all our study of the Disability Justice and Solidarity Economy frameworks. Open access syllabus to come!

History of the fellowship

PeoplesHub is an online hub for movement workers to learn, connect, collaborate, and strategize - in and across disability justice and solidarity economy movements. In 2021, Dustin Gibson, Joe Tolbert Jr., and Nico Amador began to create the Arts and Social Justice fellowship. They wanted to offer support, resources and political education to cultural workers without the expectation of production.

After the first couple of cohorts, which included artists both on the inside and outside, we decided to redesign the fellowship exclusively for incarcerated artists. We did this after witnessing the deepest levels of engagement and mutual benefit from working with the incarcerated artists. We also witnessed how valuable the fellowship was to build community among cultural workers across prison walls, as prison protocols and policies continue to become increasingly restrictive and isolating.

Creativity and adaptability have been required on every level just to run a program like this across prison walls, while navigating ever-tightening restrictions. This work has shown us the potential to stretch the realm of possibility for how prisoners can contribute to movements using virtual space.

Read about our fellows and their work below.

Fellowship Alumni