Stories and Songs of Incarceration, Equity, Justice, and Community: Impact of an Interdisciplinary, Arts-Based Project on Formerly Incarcerated Persons, Pre-Service Students, and Community Members

Funding detail: 
NEA Research Grant
James Madison University
Principal Investigator: 
David Stringham
Project summary: 

To support a mixed-methods study examining potential impacts of an arts program that uses songwriting to explore issues of incarceration, equity, justice, and community. The project will involve three study populations: a) residents at a transition home for nonviolent, nonsexual ex-offenders who have been released or diverted from incarceration; b) pre-service professionals in music education and social work enrolled as students at James Madison University; and c) community members in Harrisonburg, Virginia. As part of the arts program being studied, project staff will facilitate weekly sessions in which transitional home residents engage in self-reflection, share their stories, and are coached in generating music and/or other artworks inspired by their stories. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected from the populations of interest. Resulting artworks will be shared with the community through live, public performance.