Walls to Bridges is fortunate to have many leaders who dedicate their time, passion and skills to make the program what it is. However we also have a very dedicated staff team who work hard to connect, develop, and strengthen the Walls to Bridges program.
Dr. Simone Weil Davis
Walls to Bridges
1987 B.A. English, New York University
1992 M.A. English, emphasis in Creative Writing, University of California, Berkeley.
1996 Ph.D. English, University of California, Berkeley.
I am an interdisciplinary teacher and writer, working in gender studies, cultural studies, ethics and American literature. I currently help to coordinate the Walls to Bridges program and teach Ethics at the University of Toronto's Trinity College.
While teaching in the English department at Mount Holyoke College, I was introduced to the U.S.-based Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Trained in 2005, I went on to offer Inside-Out courses in a Massachusetts women’s jail with Lysette Navarro. I also became an Inside-Out instructor-trainer and a founding member of the Program’s steering committee. Barbara Roswell and I recently co-edited Turning Teaching Inside Out: A Pedagogy of Transformation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). In 2009, I returned to Ontario, and connected with interested faculty and engaged community members on both sides of the wall around the country - happily including Shoshana Pollack. Thanks to the generous support of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Social Work, the Walls to Bridges program has a good home. Thanks to the Walls to Bridges Collective, it has a powerful heart.
Dr. Shoshana Pollack
Walls to Bridges
1989 B.A. English Literature, University of Toronto
1993 MSW, Carlton University, Ottawa ON
2000 PhD Social Work, University of Toronto
I have been working with and beside incarcerated women since 1991 when I began my MSW practicum at the former Kingston for Prison for Women. Over the last 22 years I have continued my practice, research, scholarship and advocacy in the area of the criminalization and imprisonment of women. It was with great enthusiasm that I joined with Dr. Simone Davis to develop Inside-Out programming in Canada. In 2011, I initiated a partnership between the Faculty of Social Work and Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener to develop courses through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. I teach Social Work courses called Diversity, Marginalization and Oppression and Gender, Race and Crime as Walls to Bridges classes. I am currently working with the Walls to Bridges Collective at Grand Valley Institution for Women on a study exploring the experiences of inside and outside students who have taken courses through the Faculty of Social Work.
Walls to Bridges
2005 International Baccalaureate, Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific
2009 B.A (Hons) Sociology and Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
2013 MSW, Wilfrid Laurier University
As an abiding seeker of a more socially just world, I have long been engaged in community organizing work, in particular; anti-violence against women, anti-war, anti-poverty and peace building movements. I feel honoured to always be amidst and inspired by many passionate and caring stewards of this world.
My involvement with Walls to Bridges has continued this rich trend. While embarking on my master’s degree, I had the opportunity to participate in the first Inside-Out class in Canada. My experience was one of critically engaging dialogue that changed and transformed my world view. It also connected me to a diverse group of learners with a collective desire for social change.
Since that first class, I have remained involved with Walls to Bridges as one of the founding members of the Walls the Bridges Collective, as a support facilitator of a Walls to Bridges course and now as a staff member. I am continually energized by the creative and transformative nature of the program and I look forward to our work ahead as we continue to grow and develop.