A network of microphilanthropy that supports Middlebury students.

Portraits [in]Justice is a narrative journalism project dedicated to working with youth in community-based restorative justice programs. We are aiming to create multimedia portraits of these youth through audio narratives, photo, video, and illustration. Ultimately, these portraits will become the central focus of a web-based interactive map. This map will layer geography, statistics, and these multimedia stories, bridging the gap between quantitative data and the individuals behind the numbers.

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Dollars Raised: 283%

Funding Details

Deadline: Jun 30, 2013
Total needed: $2,000


Portraits (in)Justice
Josh Swartz '14.5 Film and Sociology Boston, MA
Maddie Dai '14 Studio Art and Religion Wellington, New Zealand
Alexandria Jackman '14 Geography and Political Science New York, NY
Julia Welsh '14.5 Political Science Chicago, IL


portraits injustice thumb edit

Addison Court Diversion

Community Justice

The objective of Portraits [in]Justice is to produce a GIS-based map layering geography, statistics, and multimedia stories, bridging the gap between quantitative data about the structures of punishment and the individuals behind the numbers. This summer, we will spend three weeks each in Chicago, New Orleans, and Middlebury working with local restorative justice groups to collect personal stories through audio, video, photo, and hand-drawn illustration. We chose each location because of its commitment to restorative justice, our relationships with each place, and the existing, compelling statistical data about each criminal justice system. We already have working relationships with restorative justice groups in each location. Our partnerships with the community organizations are absolutely essential–through these organizations we will build relationships with individuals in order to document their stories. In the last month of the summer, we will come back to Middlebury to compile these narratives into the multimedia map. The map will serve as a supplement to academic inquiry into the structures of punishment as an educational resource that will allow students to access personal, humanized accounts of this complex social issue. MiddSTART funding will help us achieve our goal by feeding us and our cars from Middlebury to Chicago to New Orleans and back. We need your help to get this project off the ground. However, this project will be more than a one-time endeavor. We plan to add more stories to our map in the future, representing other organizations and locations. With increased geographical diversity, our map will become an ever more compelling tool for comparison and inspiration.

The traditional method of studying the structures of punishment in the United States is based on abstract theory and quantitative data which, while essential to understanding the topic, fails to provide a human narrative. We hope to solve this problem through the power of story. Storytelling transcends typical structures of power by directly connecting people from communities that are geographically, socially, and politically isolated. By supplementing existing quantitative data with qualitative narratives we can begin to understand people not as statistics but as people telling their own stories of passion, problems, opportunities, struggles, and relationships.

We expect the project to cost $6,375. This money will be used primarily for gas and food on the road between Middlebury, Chicago, and New Orleans. Other costs include getting our website up and running and getting the necessary audio editing software. All other technical equipment will be borrowed from Middlebury College without cost. Even without full funding, we will be able to follow through with this project on a smaller scale (one or two locations as opposed to three), so any contributions are immensely helpful.

5 Responses to “Portraits [in]Justice”

  1. Josh says:

    Thanks so much to everyone who has donated so far! It has been an amazing few weeks. Just a point of clarification: though it says our project is “funded,” we are still trying to reach our budget goal of $6,375. Doing so will allow us to hit each of our locations (New Orleans, Chicago, and Middlebury) and help us fully realize the scope of the important comparative element to this project. So, keep spreading the word and please contribute if you are able!

    In other news, we attended the Addison County Court Diversion staff meeting yesterday! They expressed their utmost support for this project and it made us that much more excited to collaborate with them this summer.

    More updates to come soon!

  2. Julia says:

    wow! thanks everyone for the generous donations!

  3. Maddie says:

    Today’s NYTimes has a great article on Restorative Justice programs in Oakland, for those interested in learning more about some of the projects:

  4. Josh says:

    Hi everyone! We are very excited to get this fundraising campaign up and running and are so so grateful for any contribution you are able to make. Even if you are unable to donate money, you can still support us by helping to spread the word. Thank you and keep checking back for updates!

  5. Middkidd1 says:

    Woah! A worth-while project. Excited to see what comes of it!


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