Artists Overcoming Systemic Obstacles

Artists Overcoming Systemic Obstacles



Mark Neil Roble


Presentation: 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom

This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Course: VAR 250



I aim to illustrate the injustice of the criminal justice system and how these individuals have still overcome these to succeed in the performing and visual arts. Specifically, how when prison inmates finish their sentences and are released back into society, how hard it is for them to be successful and gain their footing. The documentary When they See Us opened my eyes to this fact as most people think once inmates are released that “they can just get back to their normal lives.” The reality is that there are countless roadblocks put in their way and I will highlight the successes and triumphs these individuals have made regardless of the many hardships they face. I will show those who became artists despite obstacles and others who just found success in other ways in spite of the corrupt and unjust “justice system.” Sources will include Shakespeare behind bars, the School to Prison Pipeline work by Anna Deavere Smith, and When They See Us.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

R. Darden Bradshaw, Michelle Hayford

Primary Advisor's Department

Art and Design


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; Reduced Inequalities

Artists Overcoming Systemic Obstacles