Public Programs And Events

Humanities Action Lab Launch: Part 1

Humanities Action Lab Launch: Part 1

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall
General Public 

Global Dialogues: Mass Incarceration and Public Memory

The United States incarcerates more of its people than any country in the world – and more than at any point in its history.  The numbers have exploded in the last four decades, but the crisis is rooted in much longer practices that reinforce social inequality. 

How might public memory of mass incarceration foster public engagement in its future?  How can the humanities join with design to activate participation in the incarceration crisis? As part of a two-day launch of its Humanities Action Lab (HAL), The New School initiates the HAL: Global Dialogues project with an evening of conversation on what to remember about incarceration, how, and why. 

Join a moderated conversation between three historical witnesses to the mass incarceration crisis now working to shape its future: 

Glenn E. Martin is the Founder and Chief Risk Taker of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA). Glenn is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in New York State prisons. Prior to founding JLUSA, Glenn served for seven years as Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at The Fortune Society and six years as Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center.  Glenn is Co-Founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a 2014 Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow, and a 2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow.  Glenn regularly contributes his expertise to national news outlets such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera and CSPAN on topics such as policing, decarceration, alternatives to incarceration, and reentry issues.

Marc Mauer is Executive Director of the Sentencing Project and author of Race to Incarcerate, a groundbreaking book on how sentencing policies led to the explosive expansion of the U.S. prison population.  Mauer began his work in criminal justice with the American Friends Service Committee in 1975. His 1995 report on racial disparity and the criminal justice system led the New York Times to editorialize that the report “should set off alarm bells from the White House to city halls – and help reverse the notion that we can incarcerate our way out of fundamental social problems.” 

Tyrone Werts was released from Pennsylvania’s maximum security Graterford Correctional Institution in 2011 after his life-without-parole sentence was commuted by former Governor Ed Rendell. He was incarcerated for 36 years. Werts, who holds a BA from Villanova University, served as president of the Graterford “lifers” organization for over two decades, a tenure that saw the expansion of the organization’s mission to include community service activities and advocacy on issues related to the rights of the incarcerated. Werts is a founding member of the Inside/Out Prison Exchange Program Think Tank, founder and president of The Lifers Public Safety Initiative, and a fellow at the Open Society Foundations.

Meet scholars, activists, and designers from across the country who have come together to develop HAL: Global Dialogues’ incarceration project, a traveling exhibit, web platform, and series of participatory events created by students and communities in at least 14 cities around the country and internationally, led by The New School. 

Shape the national debate by sharing memories and visions for the future in our participatory design process.

Come back on January 6 to discuss the HAL: Global Dialogues’ incarceration project from a Digital Humanities perspective as part of Humanities Action Lab Launch: Part 2. THATCamp, an un-conference organized in collaboration with the American Historical Association.

The Humanities Action Lab (HAL) at The New School is an international hub for innovation in shared public scholarship connecting the humanities and design to foster engagement on urgent social issues. HAL’s Global Dialogues is a consortium of universities, community organizations, and public spaces that create internationally traveling public projects on the past, present, and future of pressing social issues.  Its first project explores histories and memories of incarceration to foster dialogue and action on justice policies.

The event is sponsored by:

Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students
Global Studies Program at The New School for Public Engagement
Executive Dean's Office, New School for Public Engagement
History Program at Eugene Lang College

Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research
The Institute for Museum and Library Services
MFA Program in Design and Technology, Parsons
Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
Open Society Foundations
School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons
School of Constructed Environments, Parsons
School of Media Studies
Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility


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