mural -- Ambassador BridgeThe fall 2022 “Tough Chicks” class created this mural at the South West Detention Centre.

Course to create educational opportunities in correctional settings

Applications are now open for the Fall 2023 Walls to Bridges course “Tough Chicks: Representations of Women’s Strength and Anger in Popular Culture and Society.”

This will be the sixth Walls to Bridges course offered at the South West Detention Centre by Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Critical Studies. The classes are taught in jails, prisons, and community correctional settings, bringing students who have been incarcerated together with students enrolled in university programs.

An important principle of W2B courses is that students from outside the correctional system are not “mentoring” or “helping,” or “working with” criminalized students, says instructor Betty Jo Barrett: “All participants in the class are peers, learning the class content together through innovative, experiential, and dialogical processes.”

The current course will take place on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. and examines popular interest in “tough chicks.” Students investigate the social construction of women’s and girls’ anger and aggression in fiction, popular media, and real life. On completion, students earn credit in either arts or social science.

The course is open to UWindsor undergraduates in all majors with at least Semester 3 standing. Students must complete a written application and online interview process. The course can accept only female-identified students because instruction takes place in the women’s unit of the South West Detention Centre.

The deadline to apply is noon Friday, May 19; find more information and the course application form on the program website.

The program is supported by the Nancy Gobatto Walls to Bridges Fund, which underwrites education for incarcerated students by covering the costs of their tuition and books. It is named to honour the late Women’s and Gender Studies professor Nancy Gobatto, who died in August 2016. To make a contribution, visit the University’s donation page and indicate that your gift is directed to the Walls to Bridges Fund.