Freeing the West: A Conversation about participatory social art and the practice of law, 2012

In an event that merged the forms of a conference session, a performance lecture and an interactive social dialogue, activist attorney Jeff Blackburn, Sale and a gathered group of local participants considered how entrenched cultural beliefs can give way to transformative social change. These beliefs are often communicated through images as representations captured by the legal system and the media. As images, they intersect with the arts and impact social understanding. During a staged discussion, a series of meaningful exchanges unfolded between a father who is a constable in a rural community, a mother (his spouse) who is a victims’ advocate in Lubbock, TX, and their daughter, who joined the event on leave from a drug rehabilitation program. As founder of and chief counsel to the Innocence Project of Texas, Jeff Blackburn is both an active participant and an astute observer of Texas’ justice system.

The program included artist/activist/victim rights supporter Jane Lindsey as a primary collaborator, Eric Cravey, Jayte Cravey, and others. The project was curated by Peter Briggs (Curator of Art, Museum of Texas Tech University) for the group exhibition, Just Not Yet: Dodging the Vacuum of Meaning at Museum of Texas Tech University and Landmark Arts, and as part of the Western Literature Association Annual Conference, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. This project was supported in part by a grant from Office of the Vice President, Texas Tech University.