Monday, November 16th | Prison Cells and Psychiatric Units: On Deviance and Social Control

DR. NNEKA JONES TAPIA, a clinical psychologist, is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois -the second largest jail in the country. In her new role, Dr. Tapia makes history as the first mental health professional to head a major United States jail. She and her work have been profiled by many newspapers across the country including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Atlantic. 

New York Times piece: A Psychologist as Warden? Jail and Mental Illness Intersect in Chicago

Atlantic piece: America's Largest Mental Hospital is a Jail


DR. PAULA J. CAPLAN is a clinical and research psychologist, activist, advocate, playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, actor, and director. She received her A.B. with honors from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Duke University.  She is currently Associate at the DuBois Institute, following two years as a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School, both at Harvard University. She has been a Lecturer at Harvard, teaching Myths of Motherhood; Girls’ and Women’s Psychological Development over the Lifespan; and Psychology of Sex and Gender. She is former Full Professor of Applied Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where she also headed the School Psychology and Community Psychology programs, and former Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is the author of 11 books, co-editor of one book, and author of dozens of book chapters and articles in scholarly journals, as well as of numerous articles and essays in popular publications. She has given hundreds of invited addresses and invited workshops and done more than 1,000 media interviews.

DR. DAVID RAMEY is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the Pennsylvania State University and an affiliate member of the Population Research Institute. He lives in Happy Valley with his wife, Jaymie, and their 2-year old daughter, Matilda.  David completed his PhD at The Ohio State University in 2014, where his dissertation focused on racial inequalities in both educationally based punishment and the medical diagnosis and treatment of behavioral problems in children and adolescents.  David’s broader research agenda examines racial/ethnic disparities in crime and behavioral health, neighborhood conditions and crime, and the sources and consequences of formal and informal social control.  His work is published in Sociology of Education, Social Forces, Social Science and Medicine, and Criminology and Public Policy.  Before graduate school, David served as a Legislative Assistant for California’s 51st Congressional District in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, November 17th | At the Intersection of Education & Empowerment: On Youth Activism

CLINT SMITH is a teacher, poet, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society (CIS). He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship with research interests that include critical pedagogy, mass incarceration, race, and inequality. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He has spoken at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, the U.S. Department of Education, the IB Conference of the Americas, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and has been featured on TED.com, Upworthy, and TVOne's Verses and Flow. Additionally, he has been profiled in The Washington Post, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Root, NBC News and the book, "American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom" (Welcome Books, 2013). His TED Talk, The Danger of Silence, has been viewed more the 2 million times and was named one of the top 20 TED Talks of 2014. His new TED Talk, How to Raise a Black Son in America, was released in April 2015.

As a poet, he is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, a Callaloo Fellow, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Kinfolks, American Literary Review, Still: The Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, Lime Hawk, Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere.

Clint earned a BA in English from Davidson College and is an alumnus of the New Orleans Public School System.

Website: www.clintsmithiii.com


THE URBANO PROJECT seeks to foster a philosophy of artistic expansiveness, supporting works that blur boundaries between art and lived experience. Through artistic collaboration, participating teens and adults are challenged to create works that take place both within institutional spaces and in the community beyond the walls of the studio. Urbano’s studio and gallery house a creative community which privileges artistic discovery and experimentation while at the same time supporting the creation of diverse, conceptually sophisticated works of art, performance, media, and design.

Urbano instructors and resident artists promote the model of the artist as citizen, actively engaged in conversation with their audience through the lens of art and performance. Each year Urbano invites professional artists to propose large-scale, collaborative projects undertaken in our studio in partnership with a diverse group of Boston-area public high school students. These Artists’ Projects result in collaborative installations, performances, and public art projects in Urbano’s gallery space and partnering venues around the city.

It is our hypothesis that “contemporary art” is distinguished by an eclectic use of media (including performance, the visual arts, and digital media), collaboration among artists with diverse skill sets, studio practice based in research and response to popular culture, and an ongoing dialogue between artist and audience. Urbano’s programming emphasizes artistic and conceptual quality, while supporting and challenging our students to find their own voices to address sources of conflict or injustice in their lives and communities.

Website: http://urbanoproject.org/

DAVE JENKINS is a community organizer and consultant based in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He recently completed a seven-year stint as director of the Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP), the youth organizing program of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). During that time, REEP youth led and won campaigns for affordable public transit fares, to reduce diesel pollution and asthma, and to reclaim vacant land for use as neighborhood gardens. Dave hails from the North Woods of Maine and earned a B.A. in Literature from Harvard College. 

Wednesday, November 18th | On Empathy and the Lived Experiences of Differently Abled Populations

DR. DAVID M. PERRY is a freelance journalist and historian, focusing on disability issues. His work appears at CNN, Al Jazeera America, the Chronicle of Higher EducationThe New York TimesThe AtlanticThe GuardianThe Washington PostThe Nation, Vice.com, Salon.com and many other places. He blogs regularly at thismess.net. He is writing a book about disability and state violence for Beacon Press.

Dana Ellis headshot.jpg

DANA ELLIS is a Research Associate at the MIT AgeLab, a multidisciplinary research program that seeks to understand the implications of global demographic change and develops new ideas to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. Her field research and statistical analyses focus on decision-making and related behaviors that influence caregiving, financial planning, and well-being. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Bates College. 

Thursday, November 19th | Black Lives Matter: Mass Media and Reality

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 6.42.38 PM.png

DR. MICHAEL JEFFRIES is Associate Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College, where he teaches courses on American popular culture and the politics of race, class, and gender. He is the author of two books, mostly recently, Paint The White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America, published in 2013 by Stanford University Press. His first book, Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop was published in 2011 by University of Chicago Press. He is also a contributor at The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, and The Guardian.

Thursday, November 19th | The Discrimination Monologues

CASEY ROCHETEAU was born on Cape Cod, and raised as a sea witch. She was the recipient of the inaugural Write A House permanent residency in Detroit in September, 2014. She has attended Callaloo Writer’s Workshop, Cave Canem, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Sicily.   She is an Artist in Residence at InsideOut Literary Arts in Detroit, and an editor at The Offing.