Heather Ann Thompson

Historian and Author

Grantee Cohort Spring 2018, Spring 2020

Dr. Heather Ann Thompson is a historian at the University of Michigan and is the Pulitzer Prize- and Bancroft Prize-winning author of “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy” (Pantheon Books, 2016). Previously, Heather served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the U.S.

Heather received support from Art for Justice to conduct initial research for a book about the 1978 Move Riots in Philadelphia. She chose the Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan as a co-grantee partner for her Art for Justice fellowship, which led to “Documenting Criminalization and Confinement” –a record of how the post-1970 turn to mass incarceration is experienced from the perspective of those who endured it most directly.

With the new Art for Justice grant, the Prison Creative Arts Project will hire formerly incarcerated people for “Documenting Criminalization and Confinement” to conduct research, record oral histories and create artistic pieces that coalesce the many stories of those with lived experiences who submitted to the project. The final documentation will be delivered to policymakers to further criminal legal system reform.