Mar 3rd 2021

Voices Across Time: Sharing Women’s Experiences of Re-entry

@ Block Museum of Art


Opening Wednesday, March 3rd, at 6 PM

On view through Sunday, March 7th


“Voices Across Time” features a live screening and conversation about women’s experiences of re-entry in Chicago with members of Grace House and Beyondmedia Education, moderated by Professor Sally Nuamah from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern. In addition to the live screening & conversation, two supplemental films from the Beyondmedia collection will be available to watch on the Block’s Vimeo from March 3 through March 7. Fully captioned.


“Voices Across Time: Sharing Women’s Experiences of Re-entry” brings together organizers from Beyondmedia with current and former members of Grace House, a residential program for women exiting the Illinois prison system. This screening and discussion center women’s experiences of re-entry, exploring the possibilities of art and storytelling in reclaiming citizenship.

In the early 2000s, activist media organizations Beyondmedia and Visible Voices offered critical, collaborative media-making workshops to formerly incarcerated women at Grace House as part of the re-entry process. These pedagogical encounters, spearheaded by artist Salome Chasnoff and activist Joanne Archibald, created space for women to challenge mainstream media’s representations while learning to use the tools of video production. In videos like What We Leave Behind (2001, 21 min), the women of Grace House told their own stories on both sides of the camera; this screening and conversation asks what these initiatives mean today.


Since its opening in 1994, the Grace House residential program has provided interim housing, emotional and spiritual support, and professional counseling to women who are exiting the Illinois prison system. Services are provided in a warm setting located on the Near West Side of Chicago. Residents are encouraged to set goals for the future and are taught how to make informed choices that will empower them to lead lives with dignity in their communities and their families. Program participants come to Grace House voluntarily, seeking to take steps that will lead them to a new beginning.

The Grace House program works: in Illinois, 35% of women released from prison recidivate (return) to prison within three years. For women completing the Grace House program, only 5% return to prison.

Beyondmedia Education’s mission is to collaborate with under-served and under-represented women, youth and communities to tell their stories, connect their stories to the world around us, and organize for social justice through the creation and distribution of media arts.

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