Loading Programs

« All Programs

  • This Program has passed.

Freedom to Care: Dialogues on Incarceration & Motherhood

March 20 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

How does one cultivate a culture of care within the incarceration system?

Mothers are the fastest growing demographic in the US prison system, and kids of imprisoned parents make up the fourth largest “school district” in the country. In this conversation of care, panelists will share their personal experiences and consider the constraints, complexities and ingenuities they encountered with carceral motherhood.

This program is co-presented with the Anthropology of Motherhood project, which seeks to engage in the complex, varied aspects and experiences of motherhood, caregiving, parenting, nurturing, and maternal labor. Using a maternal lens as a starting point, the project seeks to expand upon the idea of a broader culture of care and its possibilities as it intersects with feminism, social justice issues, and activism in the invaluable work of our panelists.

The panel will feature Sarah Shotland, Sara Tang, and Flan Flaherty, and Dr. Amy Bowman-McElhone. ASL interpretation will be provided.

About the Moderators:

Fran Flaherty is the creator and co-curator of Anthropology of Motherhood, and is the Director of the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. As a first generation immigrant mother from the Philippines and a deaf artist, her work is centered on issues surrounding migrant family relations and assimilation, maternal feminism, disability aesthetics, and social work. Her work is inspired by the care paradigm—a premise that human beings cannot survive alone and the progress of human beings, as a species, flows from our identity as social animals. It is the prospect of this harmony that inspired her to create Anthropology of Motherhood, an ongoing project which elevates the act of care-giving through fine art by transforming mundane objects of caregiving into valuable art pieces such as paintings, sculpture, and mixed media pieces. She also transforms busy public spaces into immersive installations that serve as places of respite for young children and their caregivers and is a member of the #notwhite collective. Her work can be found at Smith College Art Museum, Dyers Art Center, Wyndhams Hotels and Resorts, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Archives. 

Sara Tang is a multidisciplinary and visual artist, the Digital Content Curator for Anthropology of Motherhood, and a member of the #notwhite Collective and the JADED PGH Asian American Pacific Islander collective. She has served on the City of Pittsburgh’s Equity Audit Committee, on the Community Advisory Board Council for the Pittsburgh HR/Equity Arts Cohort, and with the PGH Racial Justice Summit. 

Dr. Amy Bowman-McElhone currently serves as the Art Program Director, University Art Gallery Director, and is an Assistant Professor in Art History at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA where she curates transdisciplinary, justice-oriented exhibitions and aims to cultivate the gallery as a space for experimentation and dialogue. Previously she served as the Assistant Vice President of the University of West Florida Historic Trust Museums, and the Director and Chief Curator of the UWF Pensacola Museum of Art where she curated a number of exhibitions including “Stone’s Throw: On Borders, Boundaries and the Beyond” featuring the work of contemporary artists Candice Breitz and Carlos Rolon.

About the Panelists:

Sarah Shotland co-founded Words Without Walls, which brought creative writing programs to jails, prisons, and drug treatment facilities from 2009-2022. As program director, she facilitated writing groups with thousands of incarcerated artists and mentored over fifty teaching artists working with the program. She is the author of the novel Junkette (WG Press, 2014), and the participatory nonfiction publication Abolition is Everything (Antenna Press, 2021). Sarah’s work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has been published in Ploughshares, Creative Nonfiction, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of English at Carlow University, where she also serves as Program Director of Madwomen in the Attic.

Terri Minor-Spencer is the Founder and President of West End P.O.W.E.R., a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening communities through activism, advocacy, education, equity, and promoting unity. Terri is a tireless advocate for her community, working closely with returning citizens to reform the Criminal Justice System, participating in job readiness programs, serving as a G.E.D. Instructor, and being an advocate for entrepreneurs. As a respected servant of the community Terri and her service to others have been prominently featured in Public Source, 90.5 WESA, NOBLE Magazine—the National Magazine of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officers—and numerous other publications. In 2019 she was awarded the Pittsburgh Courier Women of Excellence Award and was a finalist for the Jefferson Awards, and in 2014 received a proclamation from the City of Pittsburgh declaring October 7th Terri Minor-Spencer Day for her Advocacy and Community Outreach Volunteerism. She is a graduate of the Emerge America Cohort and board member of the Abolitionist Law Center, among many other boards and committees that address gun violence, youth empowerment, and community advancement.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

Share this:


March 20
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
View Organizer Website


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
+ Google Map

Want to follow news about theExiled Writer and Artist Residency Program at City of Asylum? Sign up for our email list to receive news updates, information about our upcoming programs, and more!