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No Labels No Walls – Justice and Art

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No Labels No Walls - Justice and Art

Hope for Justice: equity

The idea of the Justice and Art session was to create a collage of poetry, art and other ways people want to express their hopes and dreams in relation to justice. The main message was that there is always something to do and something you can do. We can always find a way to be engaged with social justice for example by doing small actions.

A documentary film named Further Shores by TheatreWorkers Project was shown at the beginning of the session. The creators Susie Tanner and Marlene McCurtis talked about their methods of doing documentary theater. Susie and Marlene create the framework for action and the participants create the content. In films and movies, people are creating hope through art and relate their sense making to justice-related issues. Justice covers a wide variety of social issues ranging from criminal justice, environmental justice, racial justice and many other themes and areas in societies.

An impressive quote of Further Shores film tells about hope “You can change the world if you choose life. Find the key from inside you”.

Kukunori presented the Kulttuurikongi project where peer-led groups design and create art and culture activities in and out of incarceration in Finland. The aim of Kulttuurikongi action is to support and strengthen the resources and wellbeing of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals through peer-led activities. Kulttuurikongi provides support and training to guide activities that are meaningful to the participants and is based on their own strengths. The Kultuurikongi action model is based on Guided Functional Peer support (GFP) model further developed in Kukunori in many ways and forms. Via GFP and Kulttuurikongi we can reduce negative attitudes, stigma and inequality towards incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals through action, communication and culture.

Kukunori invites everyone to join in developing together to create a community of arts and culture. How to find the strengths we all human beings have? Creating, joining and facilitating various digital platforms and channels allows people to connect and collaborate. Joining the Global Culture House and Creative Groups map and joining the Culture House Network on Discord.

Another project was also presented at the No Labels No Walls – Hope for Justice session by Story-Teller Michael D. McCarty from California USA. Since 2014, he’s been working in California prisons as part of the Arts In Corrections project. In the session, Michael led participants to a journey to create an original poem on the spot. All the collected material was transformed and gathered into one shared artwork at the session. Then Michael facilitated the creation of the title for the “Hope For Justice” poem.

Watch the video from ”Hope For Justice” event that took place during the festival that features poetry and art. The poem featured in the video was an international group effort led by Marlene McCurtis and Susie Tanner from the TheatreWorkers Project.  Here are the texts of the two poems about ”Hope For Justice” that were created. Video edited by Eric Ragan.


First poem:

Meet me in the warmth of seeing change

A world of possibility

Where we see each other for who we are,

No added labels


For a sea change, we need to be change,

To put down our devices and see what is important

Humanity and Understanding

Recognizing each one of us as worthy

Taking a chance on justice and peace

Expanding love and kindness


The deepest sea is inside of us

This hope for humanity

We do what we do out of love

Our arms stretched long

As the ocean, deep as the sky

We have only just begun.

Seeing all that needs to be

In the warmth of

A world of possibility


Second Poem:

It’s all about the fears

There is a diamond in every ounce of lost dreams 

All the things I couldn’t handle, burn like candles

I stand on these two feet and the ground is heavy under them,

And in the end, as the flame drowns, I am free


I see further shores as a reflection from clouds 

I thought were darker than inside of my mind

I thought it was the end

But it was tomorrow shining through 

I see you now, not like a memory or a shadow, but as a feeling, as hope


Thinking about all of us, not just me,

I want to raise these hands to greet, not to make you fear

Making new connection

Celebrating Life 

Joining others to create change

Peace is active. 


Contributors to the poem were: Aimee Levesque, (USA) Christopher Simpson (USA), Daisy (Hong Vietnam), Denny (USA), Dominique Beltran USA, Donny Glenn (USA), Duncan Martinez (USA), Elizabeth Beltran (USA), Hilppa Lampi (Finland), John Ma (USA), Jonny (Scotland), Keith Etherington (Scotland), Kevin O’Brien (USA), Leila Ayoub (UK), Nyslie Guerrier (USA), Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara (USA), Tue Huynh (USA), Markus Vähälä (Finland), Meri Pakarinen (USA), Michael Bierman (USA), Aimee Levesque, (USA), Michael McCarty (USA)

 Artists from the Prison Arts Collective (USA) whose art was featured in the video are: J Perea (Fluidity), J Tran ”I Know Why The Tucan Sings”, J Gavney ”Keep Watch Over Yourselves And The Whole Flock”, M Rodriguez ”Marylin”, M Nyguen ”My Choice of Weapon”, J Quintero ”Problem Solver”, D Stuart ”Spectre of Hope”, A Groneman ”The Experience Of Incarceration”, J May ”Tools of Freedom”, J Tecero ”Waning Hope”.