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Writing on the Wall

Dr. Dreisinger is the founder of the “Prison-to-College Pipeline” program at John Jay College, and the founder and executive director of the “Incarceration Nations Network”. Founded in 2018, the “Incarceration Nations Network” is a global network that fosters and elevates innovative justice work worldwide. Dr. Dreisinger is also the author of the book “Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World” and a 2018 Global Fulbright Scholar.

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist living and working in New York City. His work focuses on themes related to perspective identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. He often incorporates recognizable icons into his work, many from well-known advertising and branding campaigns.

The Writing on the Wall

Hank Willis Thomas & Dr. Baz Dreisinger with Openbox (designed by MASS Design Group)


Hallway, Japanese American National Museum


The Writing on the Wall, a collaboration between Hank Willis Thomas and Dr. Baz Dreisinger with Openbox and designed by MASS Design Group, is a traveling installation which premiered on the High Line New York in November 2019. It is composed of essays, poems, letters, stories, diagrams, and notes written by individuals in prison around the world. This iteration of The Writing on the Wall presents these largely unseen and unheard perspectives of incarcerated in a public sphere. The writings were accrued, with the authors’ permission, by Dr. Dreisinger during her years teaching in US and international prisons. As a presentation of the crisis of global criminal justice systems, these letters visually convey the narratives, thoughts, and emotions of the people behind bars. The project was conceived by professor Dr. Dreisinger and her students at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas as an effort to spread awareness and galvanize grassroots efforts toward prison reimagining and justice reform.

My Activation Artists/Performers Sessions

Thursday, February 27

2:00pm PST

Friday, February 28

8:00am PST

Saturday, February 29

8:00am PST


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