A collaboration of 20 university partners, States of Incarceration is an exhaustive investigation of the past, present, and future of incarceration. Over three years, the interactive exhibit will travel across the country where, at each site, it will highlight unique regional and global questions concerning incarceration and human rights. Together with the team at the New School’s Humanities Action Lab, Picture Projects developed the accompanying web and mobile platforms for States of Incarceration that will grow and progress with the exhibit as it travels across the country. Like the exhibit, it includes interactive portions and addresses each location’s designated topics. A major element of States of Incarceration was the public dialogue feature, for which the project was awarded a National Endowment of the Humanities grant to develop. The public dialogue is driven by the “Shape the Debate” mobile campaign, users’ ability to “Contribute a Story”, and podcasts. Further, the site provides resources, historical content, multimedia, and additional supplemental information.


“To a greater extent than most any other public history exhibit, and more pointedly than any policy brief now circulating on criminal justice reform, States of Incarceration captures the experiences of the people who have lived policing, punishment, and prisons in America most directly. Those who view States of Incarceration will find themselves disturbed, moved, and, above all, newly motivated to rethink the ways in which this nation deals with poverty, addiction, mental illness, disorder, violence, law breaking, and migration as well as immigration.”

— Heather Ann Thompson, HuffPost Blog, about States of Incarceration


April 3 – 21, 2016 | New York, NY, Aronson Gallery, Sheila Johnson Design Center

May 7 – August 6, 2016 | Riverside, CA, California Museum of Photography

August 29 – September 23, 2016 | Kingston, RI, Sheppard Building Gallery, University of Rhode Island

October 5 – 26, 2016 | Austin, TX, Mebane Gallery, UT Austin School of Architecture

November 8 – December 15, 2016 | Greensboro, NC, International Civil Rights Museum

February 1 – 28, 2017 | Coral Gables, FL, CAS Gallery

February 27 – March 31, 2017 | Holyoke, MA, Wistariahurst Museum; Northampton, MA, Forbes Library

April 6 – 10, 2017 | New Orleans, LA, Ogden Museum of Southern Art

April 11 – May 31, 2017 | Indianapolis, IN, Downtown Central Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library

June 1 – August 31, 2017 | Chicago, IL, DePaul University

September 2 – October 11, 2017 | Saratoga Springs, NY, Tang Teaching Museum

October 18 – December 15, 2017 | Newark, NJ, The Gateway Center Gallery

January 22 – March 9, 2018 | New Brunswick, NJ, Douglass Library

March 10 – 15, 2018 | Storrs, CT, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

March 16 – April 30, 2018 | Boston, MA, Doric Hall, Northeastern University

September 1 – 30, 2018 | Minneapolis, MN, Nash Gallery

October 16 – 30, 2018 | Phoenix, AZ, Phoenix Public Library



Liz Sevcenko | Director

Julia Thomas | Assistant Director

Marija Drobnjak | Evaluation Research Assistant

Sara Hassani | Project Assistant

Julia Bowling | Communications Assistant

Katie Edmonds | Community Collaboration Manager

Piper Anderson | Director of Engagement Strategies, Create Forward

Sandra Wheeler | Creative Director, States of Incarceration; Director, Matter [and] Practice


Alison Cornyn | Creative Director, States of Incarceration; President and Director, Picture Projects

Nupur Mathur | Art Director and Designer, Picture Projects

Joe Kirchoff | Programmer, Picture Projects

Peiqi Su | Media Developer

Ann Mieth | Designer, Picture Projects

Laura Saladin | Production Assistant, Picture Projects


Arizona State University | Tempe, AZ

Brown University | Providence, RI

DePaul University | Chicago, IL

Duke University | Durham, NC

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis | Indianapolis, IN

Northeastern University | Boston, MA

Parsons Paris | Paris, France

Rutgers University-Newark | Newark, NJ

Rutgers University-New Brunswick | New Brunswick, NJ

Skidmore College | Saratoga Springs, NY

The New School | New York, NY (Project Hub)

University of California, Riverside | Riverside, CA

University of Connecticut | Storrs, CT

University of Massachusetts Amherst | Amherst, MA

University of Miami | Coral Gables, FL

University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN

University of New Orleans | New Orleans, LA

University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Greensboro, NC

University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX

Vanderbilt University | Nashville, TN


Douglas Blackmon | Contributing Correspondent, Washington Post; Director of Public Programs and Chair of the Miller Center American Forum, University of Virginia

Soffiyah Elijah | Executive Director, Correctional Association of New York

Taja-Nia Y. Henderson | Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law, Newark

Elizabeth Hinton | Assistant Professor, Department History and Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

Sean Kelley | Senior Vice President and Director of Public Programs, Eastern State Penitentiary

Seth Kotch | Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jana K. Lipman | Associate Professor of History, Tulane University

Glenn Martin | Founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA)

Marc Mauer | Executive Director, Sentencing Project

Heather Ann Thompson | Professor of History, Department of Afro-American Studies, The Residential College, and The Department of History, University of Michigan

Carmen Perez | Executive Director, The Gathering for Justice

Tyrone Werts and Tricia Way | Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program


HuffPost Politics, Heather Ann Thompson: A Public Reckoning with Mass Incarceration. Apr. 12, 2016.

UCR Today, Bettye Miller: Coalition of Universities Nets $25,000 NEH Grant. Feb. 25, 2016.

Vanderbilt, Jim Patterson: Vanderbilt Students contribute to mass incarceration exhibit. Apr. 21, 2016.

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