My name is Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, I am an artist and teacher currently employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa. My home for many years was North Carolina (the Eastern Coastal Plain), I have lived in Iowa since 1998 and taught at The University of Iowa since 1999. As a researcher and creative scholar my focus is on women’s issues, community, art, and people who are incarcerated. I have a BFA in Painting and Drawing from East Carolina University, an MFA (Studio Art), and a Ph.D.(Art Education) from Florida State University. Teaching has always been an important part of my life. I have taught in a variety of settings including art centers, a community college, prisons and jails, youth centers, public schools, museums, and universities. Teaching is never boring and it is filled with opportunities to learn new things about the world, others, and myself.
American alternative/single creator comics and graphic novels have been at the heart of my creative scholarship for the past few years. My graphic scholarship has been published by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum (http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_programsevents/_upcomingevents/_2011/_zinereleaseparty/may12.html), the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, and the International Journal of Comic Art. Past and current projects include a graphic novel about the Detroit Race Riots of 1943, a mini comic about police brutality, and a graphic scholarly article about the race riots of 1898 in North Carolina.
My traditional scholarship has been focused on women in prison. I have worked with incarcerated women since 1994. The prisons in which I have worked include the Monroe County Jail in Key West, Florida, Jefferson Correctional Institution in Florida, Taycheedah Correctional Institution in Wisconsin, Deerlodge Correctional Institution in Montana, the State Training School in Eldora, Iowa, the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo, Iowa, the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, Iowa and HMP Holloway in London, England. I have visited and toured numerous other correctional institutions in the US. In 2010 I enrolled in the Inside-Out Prison Education Program through Temple University (http://www.insideoutcenter.org/). This experience helped me to develop a course for the UI GWSS department to bring Women’s Studies Practicum students to ICIW to participate in a think tank with women who were incarcerated (http://gwssinthefield.blogspot.com/). This year we will be responsible for a number of classes about identity, wellness and relationships.
My appointment at the university as an Associate Professor is split between the School of Art and Art History and the Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies Department. Luckily, I teach courses in both places, but my office is located on the 4th floor of the Jefferson Building. I have two beautiful children, and pets including a lovely Aussie mix named Charlie and a green cheeked conure named Frankie. My hobbies include playing Irish fiddle tunes badly, reading, drawing, gardening, cooking vegetarian food, volunteering for RVAP, and running my vermicomposting business into the ground (http://thebigredbarniniowa.com/).