Five women: An Autoethnographic Reflection on Working in Prisons
The purpose of this paper is to share qualitative evidence of how art and narrative can be used to help women in prison reconfigure their personal identity. This data is gathered from my experience as an artist/educator/researcher in various prison settings over the past ten years. This paper will analyze specific case studies related to self-portraiture, autobiographical writing, and storytelling.The theoretical underpinning of this work stems from the fields of visual culture/literacy, public health, social activism, art education, women's studies, and feminist ethnography. The results of this work illuminate the complex ethical experience of teaching women and girls in oppressive settings, grappling with moral issues surrounding prison education/research, as well as the use of art, storytelling, literature, and creative writing as tools for reconstructing personal narratives and identity.
Keywords: Identity, Prisons, Women, Narrative, Portraiture
Dr. Rachel Marie-Crane Williams
Associate Professor, School of Art and Art History