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Building Publics 2022: Unguarded: Art and Restorative Justice

Public Humanities, Building Publics

dateApril 27, 2022 timeWednesday, 5:30pm–7:30pm EDT locationVirtual Event
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Dark-skinned man with serious expression and word Unguarded, with "guarded" portion highlighted

Building Publics showcases how our Public Humanities Graduate Fellows bridge humanistic thinking with civic engagement and social justice, scholarly research with public building and communication in order to unleash new, more critical modes of scholarly imaginations.


Adam Horn, Public Humanities Graduate Fellow and JD Candidate

Simonetta d’Italia-Wiener, Director of Unguarded: A revolutionary prison system

Denio Marx Menezes, Director of International Relations, APAC (Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicts)

Donovan Harris, Reentry Program Coordinator, South Street Ministries

Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Fellow, Columbia Justice Lab

Unguarded is a documentary film offering an intimate look at daily life inside an alternative, rehabilitative prison system based in Brazil. The film’s director, Simonetta d’Italia-Wiener, will present the documentary, currently showing on PBS, followed by a discussion of the questions it raises and possibilities it offers. Denio Marx Menezes, the Director of International Relations for the nonprofit organization responsible for the prison system, will provide further insight into the project and its goals. Prison re-entry program leader Donovan Harris will discuss his experiences in and with the American prison system in relation to the film, and his own developing memoir project which describes those experiences. Through exploring possibilities in prison reform and restorative justice, the panel will ask how the arts can challenge us to more vividly imagine the experience of incarceration, and to follow through on the implications of that imagining.

Please note that we are asking registrants who have not already seen the film to watch Unguarded on their own time before the event on April 27th. Once you register for the event, you will receive a link to stream the film with your event confirmation email. The documentary is approximately 44 minutes long. Please note that this link is limited use, so we ask that you watch it only once and within the same browsing session if at all possible. Please contact the organizer, [email protected], if you encounter any issues with registration.