Much is happening behind the curtain at Conspire these days. We’ll be posting more details as they come up, until then, enjoy this teaser! Raising hell and raising funds Kat and Michelle managed to wrangle together a terrific group of volunteers to act as Conspire’s very own Fundraising Committee! The team is working hard coordinating this summer’s big event – a fundraising extravaganza! (Well, a super fun night where everybody wins.) Dust off your fancy pants and your thinking cap and tell your friends you’ll be attending the gala of the century. We’ll meet you there to kick some trivia butt, have a beer and hand out some sweet prizes! For now, mark your calendars: the evening of May 20th, you will be doing some good! Write on!! We’re honored and humbled to have received creative writing submissions from our own board members, as well as permission to publish from some of our class participants. Every woman … Continue reading
Our work. Our mission. Our voices.
Lauren Johnson, a Conspire board member, testified earlier this week in the House Human Services Committee on the three SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) bills up for review. Based on prior felony drug convictions, her children are only eligible for food stamps while her and her husband would be denied. Lauren has been very proactive and vocal to push for positive changes in Texas law to make it easier for individuals to re-enter society, be more than just a person with a record and simply maintain a healthy lifestyle. Thank you Lauren for speaking on SNAP requirements!
We need Team Captains for our Pub Quiz fundraiser May 20th, 2012 Monday, May 20th, 2012 at Bangers Sausage House from 7 – 9 pm Conspire Theatre, Geeks Who Drink, and Bangers are all teaming up to bring you a terrific fundraising event to support Conspire’s arts-based programming for women in jail, and for women post-incarceration. What it is: A pub quiz put together by trivia experts Geeks Who Drink on Bangers’ awesome outside patio. Bangers features a wide selection of both meat and vegetarian options, a wide variety of beers, and nonalcoholic beverages. If you don’t drink, don’t worry – there will be plenty of alternatives for you. What’s a pub quiz? It’s a trivia event, where teams compete against each other to see who can get the most correct answers. There will be different rounds with subjects like: Pop Culture, Music, Women in Movies, etc A quiz master … Continue reading
Tuesday, February 12th from 7pm – 9pm in Studio 6, KLRU is hosting the event Inspiring Women Leaders, featuring profiles of women doing great work in the Austin community. One of them is about Katherine Craft, Conspire’s founder! KLRU was able to gain access to the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville to film a workshop with women in prison there. This is the first in-prison footage ever taken of a Conspire workshop. You’ll finally be able to see what we do! If you’re in Austin, please come – it’s free! Here’s what KLRU has to say about the event: Please note, you must RSVP on KLRU’s website to attend this event … http://www.klrusupport.org/InspiringWomenLeaders KLRU, the University of Texas Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders invite you to a discussion about cultivating leadership. The evening will also feature short video features on local … Continue reading
Our fundraising campaign continues – if we raise $5,000 by Monday, August 27th, a generous donor will contribute the final $1,000 to get us to our goal! Visit www.indiegogo.com/rehearsingpossibilities to contribute. Conspire’s newest facilitator discusses how she used movement to explore emotions and identity. Thursday has become my favorite day of the week. I get to sleep in a little, play games for a few of hours, and then get a kick out of watching people’s reactions after I tell them I spent the day in jail. After I’ve appreciated the incredulous double-take, confused eyebrow-furrowing, and/or hesitant “I’m-not-sure-I-get-the-joke” laugh, I say, “no, seriously!” Then I get to talk about Conspire Theatre. This week, I facilitated the workshops by myself for the first time. I decided to use a lesson plan exploring body language, body image, and how the two are interrelated. After warming up, we started playing with different ways … Continue reading
A guest post from our board secretary, Jeni Brazeal. Our fundraising campaign is still going on – visit www.indiegogo.com/rehearsingpossibilities to contribute. As I entered college, a starry-eyed and hopeful psychology major, I knew I wanted to help other people. But my first psychology class did not live up to my expectations. I couldn’t make myself pay attention to the professor lecturing to a room of 500 or study the gargantuan textbook without falling asleep. I earned a ‘D’ in that class, my first ever, and it devastated me. I felt as though I wasn’t good enough to be a psychologist or counselor. After all, I would hurt people at the rate I was going, not help them. This led me to change my major to theatre. Theatre was my home—a place where people go to feel included, to feel worth something. My first semester as a theatre major, I was … Continue reading
Alumni Advocate Lauren Johnson explains what our program name means to her. Help Conspire continue its classes at the Travis County Correctional Complex by donating here. Doing the work that she does with Conspire, Kat often talks about rehearsing possibilities. Initially it felt a little silly and dorky however, Kat manages to show people the real life applications. During the Inside Out workshops that Conspire held there would be a theme each month. Just before the holidays, we explored our perceptions of what the upcoming events would bring in each of our lives. Using the bodies of people in our group, we would arrange people in a pose throughout the room to illustrate what a scene from our holiday typically looked like. We let everyone else in the room observe and comment on what they saw and then we explained our scene. After both groups did that, we then did … Continue reading
We have done so much this year! We’ve collected data from last October to now, so look below to see what we’ve accomplished in the last ten months. Programming: 155 women served at Austin Recovery Center 100 free copies of the book, The Open Minds of a Closed Cell, given out at TCCC 98 women served at TCCC (through 7.12.12) 30 unique lesson plans created 29 weeks of classes in both maximum and minimum security at TCCC (Oct – June) 26 weeks of classes for women in recovery at Austin Recovery Center (Jan – June) 8 Inside Out Community workshops held 5 facilitators paid for their work 1 new class created for women in maximum security at TCCC. 1 successful class sustained for women in minimum security at TCCC. 1 performance at TCCC Comments from women in our classes: “Conspire reaches down inside us and pulls out talent we never … Continue reading
We had so much fun in our PEACE class in maximum security today! Michelle Dahlenburg is teaching summer school at Texas State this month, so Olivia Jiminez (our lovely assistant facilitator) and I were on our own to come up with a new lesson plan. We decided to focus on movement as a way to create new characters. It started simply enough – I have a pair of women move across the room in different ways while everyone else watched. “Move across the room like you’re a balloon filled with air.” “- like you’re underwater…” “- lead with your head, then your chest, then your hips.” “Move like there’s a giant rubber band trying to pull you back towards the wall.” We started taking suggestions from the class and it got a little wild. “Move like the floor is covered in marbles!” I was participating at this point, and one … Continue reading
In previous posts titled “Visions” and “The New Jim Crow”, I spoke a little about some of the things that inspired me into action. I thought that it was time to follow that up with an update! For those of you just tuning in let me bring you up to speed. In 1996, welfare reform was a great political platform. A bill passed through the Senate permanently banning anyone with a felony drug conviction from ever receiving benefits from the food stamp program. While it is easy to see the good intentions behind this law, it is an extremely flawed policy. In fact, 39 out of 50 states have opted out of it but Texas has not. Texas has the 2nd highest rate of incarceration in the world and a large percentage of those who have records are in some way drug related. People have the capacity for change. Why … Continue reading