Digital Stories for Social Justice Workshop: The School-to-Prison Pipeline Archive

This two-day workshop is an opportunity to participate in a wisdom collective of individuals touched by the policies and practices known as the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’, ‘school-to-confinement pathway’, ‘school-to-court pipeline’, etc. We will sharpen our advocacy skills through story work and contribute to a new oral history archive documenting this social justice issue.


  • Friday, October 26: 9 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday, October 27: 9 am to 3:30 pm
  • At Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa

What is the pipeline?

A set of policies and practices that lead to the over-representation of students of color, LGBTQ+ youth, and students with disabilities in prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities.

What is the archive?

A collection of digital recordings of first-person experience with elements of the pipeline. It will be available to the public through two online library archives: Digital Grinnell and the Iowa Women’s Archive at the University of Iowa. The archive serves as a resource for activists, advocates, and scholars to raise awareness and affect positive change.

What are the interview topics?

Issues include, but are not limited to:

  • Ableism, classism, racism, sexism, and homo/transphobia
  • Community Violence
  • High stakes testing
  • Lack of resources
  • Poverty
  • Seclusion and restraint
  • Security / police in schools
  • Special Education
  • Standardization
  • Surveillance
  • Suspension, expulsion, and punitive discipline
  • Zero tolerance school policies

What makes the archive unique?

  • The interviewee determines how they are introduced & the topics they discuss. They are able to maintain their privacy.
  • The interviewer shares salient lived experience with the interviewee. Interviews are conducted within communities among community members. This allows listeners to hear the real story, rather than one constructed by ‘an outsider’.
  • The interview process is set up to be first and foremost a healing experience for the interviewee.

The workshop:

The workshop brings together leaders and aspiring leaders in advocacy and activism, all who have lived experience of their own and provides them the training to be interviewers in their own communities. The workshop will also provide an opportunity to network with allies, share a healing atmosphere with people who ‘get it’, and learn from each other’s wisdom. Our time together will include sessions on the power of story work to heal individuals and communities, technical aspects of recording (equipment will be provided), how to use the archive to bring about positive social change, and self-care when engaging in this emotional social justice work. During the workshop, each participant will contribute to the archive by being interviewed and interviewing another participant.

Who will be there?

Individuals whose personal lives have been directly affected by pipeline issues. This may include former students, formerly incarcerated individuals, parents and caregivers of students, and family members with incarcerated loved ones.

Commitments of participants:

Each participant must commit to attending the full workshop and to interviewing at least two people within nine months of the workshop.

This workshop is supported by a Grinnell College Innovation Grant and co-facilitated by Mothers on the Frontline (a non-profit organization dedicated to storytelling for healing and advocacy.) Meals will be provided, but we do not have a budget to help with transportation, lodging or childcare.

If you are interested in participating or learning more, please contact Tammy Nyden at We are keeping this workshop small (between 10-20 participants) so spaces will go fast. Please reserve your space as soon as possible and before September 20, 2018