The Red Magpie

“There is always the temptation in life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for years on end. It is all so self conscience, so apparently moral...But I won't have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous...more extravagant and bright." Dillard

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, is an artist and teacher currently employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa. She has a joint appointment between the School of Art and Art History (Intermedia) and Gender Women's and Sexuality Studies. She is originally from North Carolina (the Eastern Coastal Plain), but she has lived in Iowa since 1998, and taught at The University of Iowa since 1999. Her work as a researcher and creative scholar has always been focused on women's issues, community, art, and people who are incarcerated. She earned a BFA in Painting and Drawing from East Carolina University and an MFA (Studio Art) and a Ph.D.(Art Education) from Florida State University.

American alternative/single creator comics and graphic novels have been at the heart of her creative scholarship for the past few years. Her graphic scholarship has been published by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and the International Journal of Comic Art. Her current projects include a graphic novel about the Detroit Race Riots of 1943, a mini comic about police brutality,and The Prison Chronicles, a series of stories about working in prisons.

(Short interview for Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies Dept.)

Women on the Inside 2002-2004

Women on the Inside was a creative writing/storytelling/literature project funded by Humanities Iowa in 2002. I spent 2 years going to the prison every week to work with an amazing group of 10 women. The first part of the time we spent reading and discussing the autobiographies of various women from around the world. We read roughly 14. Prairie Lights Bookstore and Paul Ingram were instrumental in helping us choose what to read and making sure we had enough copies. Paul even came to the prison a few times to join our circle. We had visiting artists come to talk about writing like Barbara Robinette Moss and Mary Swander. Finally, we spent most of the last year writing and sharing our own stories. We wrote fiction and non-fiction and creative non-fiction and poetry. The final product was a small booklet printed and bound with the help of Matthew Hopson-Walker. The book included a CD where the voices of the women were mixed with music and engineered by Kristian D. Ball and me. We distributed copies to libraries throughout Iowa, our families and friends and also to other people who work with incarcerated people all over the US.

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