Inspired Minds: An Exploration of a Creative Writing Classroom at Saskatoon Correctional Centre
It is widely known that Aboriginal men and women are overrepresented in the Canadian prison system. A long history of colonial violence and its contemporary manifestations has placed a disproportionate number of Canadian Aboriginal peoples at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale. In many ways, Canadian prisons have become the means through which society has chosen to respond to this history. Examining Indigenous men’s experiences and creative writing in a provincial correctional institution provides an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how these men consider and respond to the very real impact colonialism has on their lives. Through participant interviews I analyze the Inspired Minds: All Nations Creative Writing program at Saskatoon Correctional Centre and the way in which it has informed, challenged and changed participant experiences and relationships. Indigenous masculinity and transformative learning theory are utilized to better understand and interpret the experiences of program participants. Indigenous masculinity presents a lens which highlights how their lives have been impacted and shaped through community experiences with ongoing colonialism. Further it allows for a nuanced understanding of how heteropatriarchal masculinity is reinforced and perpetuated within the prison and how the classroom works to challenge these representations. Transformative learning theory allows for a deep understanding of the way in which the prison classroom can challenge the above norms by providing a contested learning environment. Inspired Minds: All Nations Creative Writing provides evidence that arts and education based programs can challenge the toxic, hegemonically masculine institution of the prison by creating a classroom space wherein participants are able to become active learners through the utilization of transformative learning principles.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorInnes, Robert A.
Copyright DateMay 2015
Inspired Minds, Incarcerated, Creative Writing, Prison, Masculinity, Indigenous