April 11

Four Webex Sessions
10:00 am -5:40 pm



Welcome & Land Acknowledgement

10 am-10:10 am

The Healing Stage: Black Women, Incarceration, and the Art of Transformation

10:10 am-11:40 am

A book talk and reading with author Lisa Biggs, Ph.D. (she/her), in conversation with LCC History Prof. Anne Heutsche

Over the last five decades, Black women have been one of the fastest-growing segments of the global prison population. In her 2022 book “The Healing Stage,” Lisa Biggs reveals how four ensembles of currently and formerly incarcerated women use theater and performance to challenge harmful policies and popular discourses that justify locking up “bad” women. This work illustrates how Black feminist cultural traditions—theater, dance, storytelling, poetry, humor, and protest—encourage individual and collective healing, a process of repair that exceeds state definitions of rehabilitation. These case studies offer powerful examples of how the labor of incarcerated Black women artists radically extends our knowledge of what is required to resolve human conflicts and protect women’s lives. 

Lisa Biggs is a performance scholar, actor, playwright, and author. She currently serves as the John Atwater and Diana Nelson Assistant Professor of the Arts and Africana Studies at Brown University.  Prior to Brown, Lisa was an assistant professor at Michigan State University. During that time, LCC had the privilege to host her twice as a guest artist for workshops and performances, and we welcome her back.

photo of Lisa Biggs

The Corrections Community:  Artists and Activists

12:10 pm-1:40 pm 

Moderated by Brad Hicks, LCC Humanities Professor 

In this session, we welcome representatives from the student-led University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project, Nation Outside, Citizens for Prison Reform  and Mott Community College to discuss their programs that serve those who are incarcerated and their families.  From artists to activists, we will hear of opportunities to foster a more just “justice system.”

logos for University of Michigan PCAP, Nation Outside and Mott Community College

Flash Talks

2:10 pm-3:40 pm 

Four short talks by LCC faculty and staff will be followed by a facilitated discussion. Topics include transition houses, reforming bail and fines, Michigan incarceration numbers and mindsets, and Second Look legislation. 

View Detailed Flash Talk Descriptions

The Sentence

4:10 pm-5:40 pm

A film screening and conversation with director Rudy Valdez 

The Sentence explores the devastating consequences of mass incarceration and mandatory minimum drug sentencing through the story of Cindy Shank, a mother of three young children, serving a 15-year federal prison sentence for her tangential involvement in a drug ring years before. A lyrical, intimate story documented over 10 years by Cindy’s younger brother, filmmaker Rudy Valdez, the documentary follows Cindy’s struggles to be present in her children’s lives from behind bars, her daughters’ experiences growing up without their mother at home, all while her family fights for her release before the last months of the Obama administration’s Clemency Project.  

LCC welcomes back Rudy Valdez, an Emmy-winning Michigan-raised filmmaker and alum of LCC’s Theatre program, for a second showing of The Sentence at Take A Stand. Rudy is committed to creating social, cultural, and political stories through a cinematic and meaningful lens. He got his start in film as a Camera Operator on the Peabody Award-winning, Sundance series Brick City and went on to direct a true passion project, The Sentence  (HBO), winner of a 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and was a 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Best New Director nominee. 

picture of Rudy Valdez.