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…I’ll be delivering a lecture How We See Prisons on Wednesday, November 8th, in the Kresge Auditorium, Bowdoin College at 7:15pm.

It’s free and open to the public.

College Guild has organised the event.

College Guild is a non-profit org that provides education to prisoners across America through non-traditional correspondence courses. It pairs volunteers on the outside with prisoners on the inside in a one-to-one mail correspondence that provides feedback to prisoners on their work on established coursework units. It’s all-volunteer while maintaining consistent standards. It by the people, for the people.

College Guild is currently partnered with Bates College and Bowdoin College and has more than 50 volunteer-readers on campus. The pedagogy is such that its limit is primarily only the number of man hours available from folks on the outside. The pedagogy is such that people inside and out educate one another. Why am I talking about this though, when the teaser video below describes the benefits of the program in the prisoners’ own words?







Click for a larger version


“Our situation is peculiar in that the students here are adults and prisoners […] Students have no defined parent. […] Unlike in the mainstream, we provide our students with everything [as a parent would]. We appeal to the government to take over this parental role.”

– – Mr Anatoli Biryomumaisho, head teacher of the Luzira Prison School, quoted in the Daily Monitor, Uganda, March 1st 2012.

From the tone of this article and the situation described by Biryomumaisho it seems Ugandan prison reformers have similar difficulties as their American counterparts in convincing wider society to invest in education for prisoners.

The activity described at the Luzira School is small, unhyped and vital; just one small victory among billions that play out every hour of every day. Quite different in scale to the crusade of Invisible Children.

Andrea Stultiens

Dutch photographer and critic, Andrea Stultiens sent the above article to me yesterday.

Stultiens has spent a lot of time in Uganda. If you want to be exposed to truly novel (and vernacular) photography from Uganda, you should explore her archival project History In Progress Uganda (Facebook group) and pick up a copy of her book The Kaddu Wasswa Archive.


Elsewhere, Uganda – or a version of Uganda – has been all over the internet. I’ve not much to add to the debate about the viral and controversial KONY2012/Invisible Children campaign, except to advise you to read these five pieces:

Invisible Children founders posing with guns: an interview with the photographer (Washington Post)

In Uganda, Few Can See Kony Video (NYT)

More Perspective on KONY2012 (Rosebell Kagumire’s blog)

Guest post: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda (and other complicated things) (Foreign Policy)

Why Invisible Children Can’t Explain Away This Photo (Scarlett Lion/Glenna Gordon)

And also, follow Glenna Gordon, John Edwin Mason and Rosebell Kagumire on Twitter. They’ve got reasonable things to say often.


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