Inside the institutions we have done and will continue to run design studios and do evidence-based design research in Chester Prison and various jails around Philadelphia. We are developing and setting up a series of two-day workshops we hope to hold in San Quentin, Graterford prison where Barb has been working for a long time and two additional women’s prisons, one on each coast. In order to do these we have developed a toolkit that meets the strict security requirements of many institutions. We will create a website where stakeholders can access these tools but will also be creating a hard copy version, since incarcerated men and women do not have access to digital tools.
The format of the workshops include key readings across design and restorative justice that accompany handouts for seminar style discussions using a circle format. These tend to be quite intense discussions on everything from “does architecture punish” to how city planning and gentrification impact their communities. The second half of the classes or workshops involves teaching design tools that enable the students to engage in a final project where they redesign the spaces they live in. We had a final presentation the last time the supervisor and some staff attended. They also sat on the review panel with us.
Read the full interview.