The Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) is housed within the Residential College; however, not all RC students know what PCAP is or what kind of work it does. This project is an informative resource that students in the RC can use to learn more about PCAP and its impact on people who’ve been incarcerated, as well as what impact the people inside have had on U of M students.
In addition, students outside the RC can access this and choose to get involved with PCAP, including its RC-based classes. It’s important to us that students who don’t know much about the US carceral system gain a deeper understanding of those who it impacts and how groups like PCAP are making positive changes and building community.
Many people also have assumptions about those who are incarcerated, and this project challenges many of those assumptions and give the community a chance to learn more about participants and their stories.
Tore is an artist, poet, proud and devoted father, professional
chef, loved family member and friend, inspiring mentor, and he has
recently been recognized as a Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness
& Inside Out Prison Exchange Fellow!
In this interview, we reflect on the power of a PCAP workshop, and how it offers incarcerated people and U of M student volunteers a chance to recognize their shared humanity and their ability to create incredible art, and PCAP gives them the tools to engage in life-changing work.
Hearing the oral history of Tore will allow for this meaningful learning.
An awesome piece to understand about the importance of PCAP is really [that PCAP] changing the systems in place that cause the causation of violence and crime, right? And what is that? To me, it’s humanity. Humanity does that….and you guys bring that in.
I couldn’t wait to sign my name up [for a PCAP workshop] because I knew that would break up the monotony—that it would give me something to do.
One thing we can do in common is learn. We all can have an opportunity to learn if it’s brought to us.
People are taking a PCAP workshop for so many different reasons but they want something. For me, and what I like to believe… is to find a space where they can grow and either hone their skill, create a skill, but more than anything, escape the oppression.
I have never, ever, ever written a poem before. The fact that I was just writing and writing and erasing and scribbling and writing—I wanted to do it. It just gave me agency to be able to be creative and to grow—that was my favorite part—putting me into a situation to be creative and grow.
My son was smiling big time. Then afterward I asked him about it and he said 'Dad, that was a good poem.'... that shows that it gives children, parents, siblings just another piece in saying 'My loved one matters. My loved one may be incarcerated, but they have agency, they do stuff, and they're important.'